Andropause is a term that defines the state of “male menopause”. During the phase of life, men lose hormones. This decreasing production of male hormones may trigger a host of changes which may negatively impact the physical, emotional and psychological well-being of males. Declining testosterone levels are believed to cause Andropause, which happens in middle age. Another hormone, dehydroepiandrosterone, also begins to be produced in lower quantities during this time in men’s lives. The decline of this second hormone is also a primary symptom of Andropause.
At this stage, Andropause is not recognized as a bona fide disorder by the World Health Organization. However, many doctors and researchers fervently believe that Andropause is responsible for a range of male complaints, from hair loss to loss of libido to depression and “mid-life crisis”.
Effects of Low Testosterone
The effects of low testosterone levels were studied in 1944, by Heller and Myers. Symptoms and side effects related to low testosterone include decreased sexual desire, heightened anxiety, depression, loss of memory, lack of concentration, tiredness, sleeplessness, hot flashes and sweating. Heller and Myers noted that their male subjects exhibited markedly lower testosterone levels, and they recommended testosterone injections in order to balance the hormone levels of those with adverse symptoms. In most cases, treatment with testosterone produced dramatic improvements, lending credence to the concept of Andropause as a legitimate male health concern.
Unlike female menopause, Andropause will not make the male reproductive system cease its normal functions. However, it does tend to negatively impact male sexual performance. Since testosterone fuels desire, loss of this important male hormone may make men lose their libidos and sexual self-confidence. That’s why online retailers frequently sell dietary supplements that are purported to restore testosterone levels in order to improve male sexual performance and libido.
Typically, these supplements work due to their active ingredients, which boost production of testosterone without actual testosterone injections. However, most medical experts agree that these supplements are not potent in the same way that authentic testosterone injections are.
The median age for the development of Andropause is 55. According to statistics, 30 percent of men will go through Andropause. At this stage, it’s believed that over five million USA men do not produce enough testosterone, due to Andropause. Figures for different nations vary. For example, one out of every two hundred Australian men is believed to exhibit symptoms of low testosterone. Men who have pre-existing health conditions, including diabetes, hypertension and genetic problems may be more apt to experience low testosterone levels at relatively young ages.
A famous book, Male Menopause, was written by Jed Diamond, This book made Andropause famous, as it detailed the effects of low hormone levels that are related to the natural aging process. According to Diamond, every man experiences symptoms of male menopause between the ages of 40 to 55. In rare cases, Andropause may begin at age 35. Diamond believes that the emotional repercussions of male menopause are quite similar to those experienced by females during menopause.
Treatment Options for Andropause
Some doctors and scientists don’t believe that Andropause is a “real” medical condition, and they don’t prescribe treatments in order to correct changes in hormone levels. However, other doctors do embrace the veracity of Andropause, and they may suggest hormone replacement therapy.
Other treatment options for Andropause include exercise, a clean diet, and stress reduction techniques. Some researchers also believe that selective androgen receptor modulators have the power to reverse or minimize the adverse symptoms of Andropause. Clinics which offer testosterone replacement therapy for men may ask these males to fill out questionnaires that are used to determine the presence and severity of Andropause symptoms. Examples of symptoms that may be present include joint pain, muscle aches, sleep problems, irritability, depression, feelings of worthlessness (or declined worth) and less satisfying sexual encounters.
While testosterone replacement therapy is the leading treatment for Andropause, lifestyle changes may also provide real benefits. However, lifestyle changes will never restore testosterone and other male hormone levels to what they were before Andropause began. Some men seek out therapy for emotional problems that develop during this crucial time in their lives.