Andropause – Male Menopause

male menopauseFrom a strict medical standpoint andropause is defined as a loss of androgen dominance. What exactly does that mean? Androgens are hormones such as testosterone which are naturally found in higher quantities in the male gender. When a man looses his “androgen dominance” this simply means that he has low testosterone or as you may have heard, “ low T”. However, this could also mean that someone could have a “normal” testosterone level but increased estrogen levels and therefore no longer has a dominance of testosterone or other androgens. So, that is the technical definition, but what does andropause look like and how would someone know if they have symptoms of andropause?

SYMPTOMS OF ANDROPAUSE:

1. Decreased libido

2. Increased body fat especially around the abdomen

3. Loss of muscle strength, size and ability to gain muscle mass

4. Erectile dysfunction

5. Mood disturbances, including depression, irritability, loss of drive/ambition and fatigue

6. Sleep disturbances

7. Bone loss/osteoporosis

8. Night sweats, sleep apnea

9. Male breast development

10. Enlarged prostate

11. Increased cardiovascular/heart problems

The problem with identifying andropause is that in men the changes are very gradual and may develop over several years unlike in women were menopause can develop within months. Often many men chalk up these changes to “ I am just getting older”. They often ignore chronic fatigue or are embarrassed by their lack of interest in sex or sexual performance. It is sad because a simple salivary test is a great tool to detect andropause and it only takes minutes to collect a sample. There are also some blood tests that can be performed as well. It is estimated that 30 million American males from ages 35 through 70, suffer from some degree of andropause. 30% of men 60-70 years and 70% of men 70-80 years of age have low available levels of testosterone. 60% of men 40-59 years have enlarged prostates. One out of two men between the ages of 40-60 will experience andropause! Five of the main causes of death in men are heart disease, stroke, diabetes, suicide and Alzheimer’s. It is interesting that many of these diseases can have some of their causation due to lack of androgen or testosterone dominance. Andropause potentially has huge health effects on men especially as they age. Most men should be evaluated for this condition before serious health conditions develop.

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