Are You Suffering from Male Menopause?
The bedroom and the boardroom are sometimes the first places men identify the signs of declining hormones. Its medical term is andropause, but it's often referred to as manopause because of its similarities to menopause in women. It’s when a man's testosterone levels starts to take a nose dive and the MENtal and physical effects can be devastating.
Andropause is caused by a gradual decline in testosterone. Testosterone is an androgenic hormone, hence the name andropause to describe the condition.
Men begin losing testosterone in their early 30s at the rate of 1 to 2 percent a year. By the age of 50, 10 percent of men are deficient in testosterone, according to a study by Harman, and by 60 more than one third of men are testosterone deficient. Another report from the World Health Organization reveals that testosterone levels in most 70-year-old men are a mere 10 percent of the levels of 25-year-old men.
Why does it matter if testosterone declines? And why should you be concerned about andropause? Testosterone helps the male body build protein and contributes to various metabolic functions, from building and maintaining muscle and strength to liver function to bone formation to the production of blood cells in bone marrow. Of course, testosterone is also vital to maintain a normal sex drive and stamina.
Declining testosterone in men is only part of the problem. Levels of androgen-binding protein, also known as the Sex Binding Hormone Globulin (SHBG) rise even as testosterone declines. As its name suggests, SHBG binds to testosterone. Essentially, SHBG inhibits the function of testosterone, which leads to symptoms of male menopause, or andropause.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that between 4 million and 5 million men are experiencing the symptoms of low testosterone, yet only 5 to 10 percent will pursue treatment. Typically, sometime between the ages of 40 and 55, men start feeling the symptoms of andropause. But they don’t always understand what is causing the symptoms of male menopause.
Some of the confusion over the diagnosis of low testosterone in men is due to physicians attempting to diagnosis the condition based on testosterone levels alone. The truth is, a real diagnosis of andropause, sometimes called low T, is based on a man’s signs and symptoms of the disease--not testosterone levels.
Sexual Symptoms of Andropause
Decreased sexual activity
Changes in the intensity of the orgasm
Nonsexual Symptoms of Andropause
Loss of focus
Diminished physical and work performance
Lack of energy, especially in the late afternoon
Gynecomastia (male breasts)
Changes in muscle mass and strength
Beyond all of these symptoms, we also know that the lower a man’s testosterone level the higher the death rate due to cardiovascular disease, cancer and other diseases.
The Mystery of Male Menopause
For all the talk about menopause in women, there’s far less awareness of male menopause, or andropause. Doctors understand the condition but debate over the need to treat. Andropause has been discussed in medical literature as far back as the 1940s. But because doctors have concerns about the risks associated with prostate cancer --and because the onset of andropause is so gradual and the range of possible symptoms are so wide--andropause remains under diagnosed and under treated.
There is good and bad news about andropause. The bad news is as the male population continues to increase, the number of men with age-related low testosterone levels is also increasing. The good news is we have the ability to diagnosis and treat - a combination diet, exercise, stress management and, when needed, testosterone replacement therapy with bioidentical hormones can help. Ageology physicians are trained to diagnose and treat andropouse with natural methods, as well as optimize hormones with androgen replacement therapy.
Androgen Replacement Therapy
Androgen replacement therapy may be appropriate for some men suffering from low testosterone levels and the resulting symptoms male menopause. Androgen replacement therapy can help men optimize hormone levels when it is customized to a man’s individual body chemistry.
Many men--and many physicians--are concerned about prescribing testosterone therapy for three reasons: uncertainty about low testosterone diagnoses, uncertainty about testosterone benefits, and uncertainty about testosterone giving older men prostate cancer.
At Ageology, our physicians understand the risks and benefits associated with testosterone replacement therapies. That’s why we approach male menopause holistically. We don’t rely on testosterone blood levels alone to treat andropause. We incorporate changes to diet, exercise and weight when necessary before exploring a customized androgen replacement therapy.
This customization takes the form of deciding which method of testosterone replacement is best for you, the individual. In addition, our doctors take great care in looking at and treating when necessary potential problems that may be associated with the other hormones, like the estrogens and cortisol. Only in the balance of the whole hormonal system can optimum health be restored.
That’s because agelogy physicians do not believe that hormone therapy is a silver bullet. By taking a holistic view that focuses on disease prevention, our physicians can find the right balance between nutrition, exercise and hormone optimization strategies. Our goal is to prevent diseases associated with aging, and we do that by assessing and addressing the male lifestyle as well as the male chemistry.
Contact an Ageology physician to learn more about how you can accurately diagnose and optimize hormone imbalances. Our first approach to treatment is always to explore beneficial changes in diet, exercise and stress management. We can also evaluate how current prescription drugs could be causing hormone abnormalities, and prescribe customized bioidentical hormone replacement therapies when needed.
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