Demystifying Andropause (Male Menopause): Part One

Demystifying Andropause (Male Menopause): Part One

"What do you mean you're not "in the mood?" If this question is something that regularly comes up, it may mean that you’re suffering from a problem commonly called “male menopause.”

Male menopause is very real, and it has a name: Andropause...

What Do I Need to Know About Andropause?

The most potent force underlying mental and physical energy in men, the testosterone drive, starts to decline in a man's mid-forties. Unlike the 'roller coaster' effect in menopausal women, male symptoms come on more gradually -- and most men aren't sure what's hit them! The gradual decline of testosterone and DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is the key to changes in male health and vitality.

While many medical experts acknowledge andropause as an age-related condition, the general public and too many physicians still do not recognize the term or see it as a natural challenge of aging. In a man's prime, 95% of male testosterone is made by the testicles in response to signals from the brain. Over the years, the signal gets weaker, and aging testes are less likely to respond.

The normal downturn in testosterone levels typically begins in the late 30s/early 40s, and by his 70s, a man's testosterone levels may have dropped by one-third to one-half.

If levels of the hormone estrogen are too high relative to lowering testosterone levels, more serious health concerns can sometimes emerge, such as increased risk for prostate problems and/or cancer, cardiovascular disease, loss of bone density, a rise in cholesterol and urinary dysfunction. Male bodies need estrogen in smaller amounts, to regular brain and sexual function in particular. During andropause, "estrogen dominance" can overtake waning testosterone levels, complicating symptoms and raising the risk of prostate cancer.

What Are the Symptoms of Andropause?

The first thing a man usually notices as his hormone levels taper off is a subtle downward shift in strength and energy. He may lose enthusiasm for the things he used to enjoy, the challenge of work, competition, and sexual activity. Fatigue may set in more quickly, especially after exercise. If your youthful energy has faded to a distant memory, chances are hormones are involved!

Optimal levels of testosterone and DHEA help provide the virility, stamina, and drive in men. When they decline, metabolic changes occur that can sap energy and strength. If progesterone and testosterone levels fall low enough to create "estrogen dominance," restful sleep patterns may begin to suffer. Inadequate sleep obviously contributes to fatigue.

Stress plays a role, too. Chronic stress especially (ongoing stress that last three months or more) negatively affects hormone production, contributing to imbalances that derail metabolic processed designed to promote energy and vitality.

You Might Be Experiencing Andropause If...

  1. You've put on 10 pounds or more in the last year (despite the same diet/exercise regimen).
  2. You have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning, or find yourself dozing off in meetings or in the movie theater.
  3. You used to not be able to keep your hands off your partner, but sex isn't a priority anymore.
  4. After going to the gym, instead of feeling revitalized, you feel exhausted.

Aging doesn't have to equate with weight gain, depression, and exhaustion. As symptoms kick in, hormone testing can be used to help detect and correct existing and/or hidden hormone imbalances.

Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) offers a safe, effective way to supplement depleted male hormone supplies. Quality nutritional supplements and lifestyle changes that include a hormone-healthy diet, regular exercise, and stress management offer additional support as your body recovers hormonal equilibrium.

Get the Help You May Need

If you suspect you may be experiencing symptoms of andropause, schedule an appointment with one of our clinicians. We can order a complete hormone testing panel and determine which of your hormone levels are insufficient or deficient. We can help you feel like YOU again!

For those who live far from our practice area and need hormone expertise that can't be found locally, check out our Hormone Tele-Consultations, as well as the Men's Health Pack and the Andropause Pack, available at the online Wellness Store. 

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