Andropause

Male Andropause – Testosterone Loss

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Male andropause, also commonly known as male menopause, is a condition occurring due to the decrease in testosterone levels in middle-aged males. Compared to menopause in females, men do not completely lose their reproductive ability, but the male hormone testosterone gradually reduces.

According to studies, this hormone reduces 1% every year after men have completed 30 years. Male menopause as a condition is usually observed in males of 40 years.

 

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However, in some men the onset can be early as 35 years, while in others it may be observed even after 64 years.

Fact or Fiction?

As per medical classification by World Health Organization, the term “andropause” is not recognized, but the declining state of testosterone below normal levels is considered a deficiency, and termed as “hypogonadism”.

Many experts in US and Europe do not subscribe to male andropause as a valid concept as they argue that males can reproduce well into their 60s and beyond. Whereas in females, menopause is an accepted condition, because there is a dramatic drop in their hormone levels, which leads to complete cessation of their reproductive functions.

Experts who support the male adropausal theory state that there are distinct symptoms suffered by males in this state, and hence you cannot discount this condition just because males are able to retain their reproductive ability.

Whichever way you want to look at it, the reducing testosterone levels do produce certain symptoms in males and hence male andropause is a valid condition.

Symptoms of Male Andropause

Here are some of the most common symptoms observed in males when their testosterone levels are declining.

  • Fatigue: The most common symptom is decline in energy levels, and feeling of tiredness even without doing any work. Men usually feel a sense of loss, and are not interested in doing things, which they would normally be looking forward.
  • Decline in Sex Drive: A diminished sex drive is obvious symptom, as the male hormone is declining. Men generally will find trouble maintaining an erection, and might even suffer periods of impotency.
  • Depression: Studies have shown that many middle-aged men go through bouts of depression, and many experts believe that it is a symptom of male andropause. If the depressive state lasts for a long time it can be a cause of concern as many individuals tend to entertain suicidal thoughts.
  • Lack of Sleep or Increase in Sleep: Andropausal males generally show signs of insomnia, and have trouble falling to sleep. However, some males tend to go to sleep immediately after dinner, and take naps during the day as well.
  • Irritability: This tendency to get angry or irritated easily may be brought on by other andropausal symptoms, particularly lack of sleep. However, many experts feel that the hormonal change can also work independently to cause this symptom.
  • Aches and Pains: Joint pains and backaches are common symptoms observed in most males. Certain men are also more at risk to get osteoporosis, which will result in reduction of bone density.
  • Weight Gain: Many men tend to gain weight around their abdomen. However, this may be related to lack of exercises caused due to other symptoms like depression, tiredness, and lack of interest.
  • Other male andropause symptoms: may also include decreased endurance, loss of height, and decrease in hair growth, hot flashes, memory loss, low self-esteem, and lack of concentration.

The degree of intensity of these symptoms will differ among males, and some might suffer particular symptoms to the exclusion of all others.

Causes of Male Andropause

The main cause of male andropause is advancing age that decreases testosterone levels in the body. However, andropause can occur prematurely, if males are excessively exposed to estrogen levels in workplaces like in plastic factories, pharmaceutical manufacturing units, incinerators, or are exposed to certain pesticides in farms.

Poor diet, excessive consumption of alcohol, smoking, drug abuse, and psychological disorders are also known to cause male andropause.

Additionally, a number of interesting studies have shown that prolonged exposure to large female groups in social interactions can lead to decreased testosterone levels and increased estrogen in men.

Treatments for Male Andropause

The intensity of male adropausal symptoms can be greatly reduced by various treatments, and following a healthy lifestyle. However, before undergoing a treatment plan, which involves hormones, you need to be properly tested by an expert medical practitioner. Here is a list of treatments that are considered most efficacious in battling the symptoms.

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

Also known as, TRT (Testosterone Replacement Therapy), it is considered the most effective treatment; however, it needs to be administered under strict medical supervision and regular testing.

If the treatment is not properly supervised, it can lead to serious side effects like prostate cancer, liver toxicity, blood disorders, and thrombophlebitis. Before and during the treatment, the person has to undergo various tests, which include tests for cardiac and liver functions, lipid profile, TRUS (Trasnrectal Ultrasound), and Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA).

Intake through the oral route is not recommended as it is known to cause liver toxicity, and testosterone that can be injected is considered much safer. Now this therapy is also available by way of gels, patches, and creams of natural progesterone that is considered safer.

However, any of these therapies requires strict medical supervision.

Healthy Diet, Exercise, and Supplements

Symptoms of male andropause can be reduced to a great degree by sticking to a healthy diet and exercising regularly. The diet should include all the nutritious foods and proper level of fiber, and one should avoid junk food, lower the consumption of alcohol, and stop smoking totally.

Regular exercises will boost energy levels and keep the immune response of the body to the optimum level. Higher energy levels will improve sex life and give a sense of well being that will fight depression and fatigue.

There are certain herbs and supplements, which are particularly recommended for reducing symptoms of male andropause. Experts believe that selenium, zinc, and vitamins E, D and C are highly beneficial for overall health, and increasing energy levels.

Certain herbs like garlic, fermented soy, and milk thistle are known to increase the sex drive and sustain libido, and hence beneficial during andropause.

Before embarking on HRT, it is better to try out a change in diet and regular exercising. One should go for HRT if the symptoms of male andropause are quite serious, that reduces the quality of your life.

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