More than likely, you associate menopause with only women. Generally speaking, it is rare to hear about a man who suffers from menopause. However, the truth is that many men suffer from something similar to menopause called andropause.
Andropause is not synonymous with menopause. Men who suffer from andropause will not experience hot flashes, plummeting hormones and an end to ovulation, for obvious reasons.
The term for male menopause, or andropause, is indicative of a gradual decrease in the male hormone, testosterone or “T,” which is a common sign of aging. Because andropause is reflective of a decrease in a man’s testosterone levels, experts often dub this transitional period as a testosterone deficiency.
Some men are fortunate to never experience drastic changes in their T levels as they age. However, other men suffer greatly from this inevitable change. Poor diets and low activity levels only exacerbate these issues.
What You Should Know: Male Menopause is Not a Myth
Word is not quite out on the verdict in regards to andropause. Some medical professionals have adopted this transitional period, while others are still skeptical.
Here are 10 irrefutable facts that point to the truth behind male menopause:
1. It’s Not an Old Age Kind of Thing
This condition covers a large majority of a man’s life. Some men experience male menopause-related symptoms as early as the age of 40. The age is relative, and most men experience this transition at one point or another in their older years, since decreasing testosterone levels are inevitable with age.
Most doctors refer to this issue as the decline of androgen, or testosterone. While it is true that men experience a decrease in testosterone, this is also true of men with diabetes and other conditions. Instead, andropause should be considered its own condition.
2. Say Bye, Bye to Your Testosterone
Testosterone typically begins to decline around age 30. During your 30 plus, testosterone levels decrease around one percent per year. At this rate, most men notice effects around 40 to 50 years of age. Most men will have lost over half of their testosterone by the time they reach 70 years old.
The decline of testosterone man’s body produces is a much slower process compared to a woman’s hormones. Unlike a woman’s ovaries, the testes never run out of the necessary components to create testosterone. In fact, some men can continue to produce sperm well into their 80’s.
3. Not All Symptoms Are Alike
Some men notice symptoms of testosterone depletion immediately, while the change occurs gradually for other men. The symptoms that typically cause red flags include low libido and sexual functioning. Symptoms such as a low libido and sexual functioning, including infertility, are all common indications of male menopause.
Yet, all of these symptoms can vary from man to man, in regards to their severity and their onset.
4. Sleep Better: Reasons Your Lack of ZzZzs Could Be from Low T’s
Many men suffer from insomnia, but this is a very common symptom of andropause. Some men experience sleep apnea, which physicians define as an interruption to breath while sleeping. This disturbance can result in numerous awakenings throughout the night. Because of this, those who suffer from sleep apnea and other types of insomnia lose REM sleep. Approximately nine percent of men who lose sleep are also obese.
Too many consistent nights of insomnia can result in a disturbance to daytime activities and job performance. Also, there is a connection between general lack of sleep to multiple health related physical and emotional conditions.
5. Improve Your Mental Wellbeing and Stop Feeling Down in the Dumps
While andropause is drastically different from menopause, they do have one thing in common. During both andropause and menopause, unexplained emotional ups and downs tend to occur. Andropause may cause depression, which is due to the decrease in testosterone hormone.
Common depressive symptoms associated with andropause include:
Indifference to Events Surrounding You
Inability to Concentrate
Examples of such depressive states include stressing over what otherwise would be a worry-free normal situation. Perhaps your memory is not what it used to be. Also, depressive states can surface in the form of negativity. The drastic drop in energy levels can also spark depression.
6. Obesity Awareness: Why You Should Avoid Packing on the Pounds
Experts are still unclear as to the cause and effect relationship in regards to andropause; however it appears as though there is a connection between hormonal imbalances and weight gain.
High cortisol and low testosterone levels work to increase body fat while they also decrease muscle mass. This incurred body fat converts testosterone into estrogen, which is why some men gain weight in undesirable locations such as the breasts.
Since hormones control metabolism, a loss in hormones can cause the body to lose its efficiency to burn calories. Hormones also affect muscle growth and conditioning. Even while you sleep, your body burns calories. However, your body burns more calories per day than it does fat.
7. Know the Red Flags: The Lesser Discussed Symptoms of Andropause
Understandably, men do not like to bring up their andropause symptoms to their healthcare providers. Common symptoms such as shrinking testes, losing body hair and swelling breasts can be embarrassing.
Many men who suffer from a drastic drop in testosterone experience gynecomastia, which is the atypical breast enlargement of one or both male breasts. Generally this condition begins as just a small lump underneath the nipple, and then it grows larger.
8. The Proof is in the Pudding: Surprising Facts on SHBG
As a man’s testosterone levels drop, the levels of another hormone called sex hormone binding globulin increase, (SHBG).
SHBG is responsible for pulling usable testosterone from the blood, and this only increases as testosterone decreases. Since this process does not stop with age, the amount of usable testosterone, or bioavailable testosterone, decreases.
Those men who cope with symptoms associated with male menopause will have low levels of bioavailable testosterone in their blood stream. This low amount of bioavailable testosterone will cause men to feel physical and emotional changes, such as fatigue or mood swings.
This drop in bioavailable testosterone is usually gradual, as it is a natural aging process. However, many men experience severe symptoms due to a drastic decrease, so it is imperative to bring any symptoms to a medical professional’s attention.
Most men who experience severe symptoms suffer from an existing health condition, or they are taking medications that exacerbate the symptoms. Drinking, drug abuse and a poor diet also contribute to exaggerated symptoms.
9. Diagnosing Andropause: What You Need to Know
A blood test is typically the most common identification option for andropause. Your doctor will more than likely request a blood test in order to diagnose low testosterone levels. In fact, a blood test is currently the sole method available to confirm low bioavailable testosterone.
Interestingly enough, some men normally have lower testosterone levels without any signs or symptoms. Not so many are lucky, though. Here are the symptoms that most men experience:
Decrease in sexual functioning. Most men will encounter erectile dysfunction, low libido and spontaneous erections. The testes might also decrease in size.
Issues sleeping. Low testosterone almost always causes sleep disturbances, such as insomnia or fatigue.
Bodily changes. Your body may begin to store fat. Muscle mass and bulk decreases, and bones become denser. Gynecomastia is seen in many men, which is the swelling of breasts, and hair loss is possible.
Other chances. Some men experience low self-esteem and motivation. Depression and increasing sadness, and even memory loss, are all emotional symptoms that are common with a decrease in testosterone.
10. What You Can Do: Treatment Options Available
The fact that there are treatment options leads to the hope that many more medical professionals will believe in the condition of andropause.
Testosterone replacement therapy comes in the form of a pill, an injection, a topical gel, or a patch. Reportedly, some symptoms improve immediately, but it is vital to note that these artificial replacements will never mimic the body’s natural production.
The safety of hormone replacement therapy in the long run has not been solidified. Thus, experts recommend men who have prostate cancer or cardiovascular diseases to avoid testosterone replacement therapy. Recently, there have been many medical inquiries into the relationship between hormone placement therapy and breast cancer in men.
Before testosterone replacement therapy, a doctor will recommend healthy lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet, exercise, and medications. Sometimes treating the depression, reduced libido, lower energy levels and sexual dysfunction will help treat the overall issue, as well.
Start Today: Natural Ways to Soothe Andropause Symptoms Now
Save yourself the headache from experiencing severe symptoms by adopting an active and healthy lifestyle. Studies show that men who are both physically active and consume a healthy diet demonstrate endurance, energy, bone and muscle strength, and fewer mood swings than their similarly aged counterparts.
Shed Those Pesky Pounds
One of the first issues you should assess is your weight. If you feel as though your weight is a factor, then seek the help of your medical professional. They will analyze your situation and either confirm your suspicion or lead you in the right direction.
Make sure to avoid any crash diets. While the immediate results will be tempting, crash diets can sometimes burn you in the end. Lose weight the healthy way, and stick to one pound per week. Never become discouraged if you hit a weight loss plateau. Instead, simply keep trying.
Alter Your Eating Habits
You should monitor your diet not only to lose weight, but also to control your hormones. Ensure that you are limiting your consumption of sugar, and instead increase your levels of healthy fats, zinc, and protein. Protein is especially helpful after a workout.
You do not necessarily have to go run a marathon in order to be in shape, but you do have to start somewhere. If exercising is really not your thing, then start slowly. Chances are that your body will be incredibly sore, so stick to walking three to five times a week with moderate weight bearing exercises. Once you feel up to it, you can increase the intensity of your exercises.
Be sure to listen to your body. Too much stress on muscles and joints can actually lead to lowering of testosterone. Ensure to keep your metabolism high while allowing your body plenty of time to rest.
De-stress Your Body and Soul
Stress produces cortisol, which in turn ceases the production of hormones. Therefore, do your best to eliminate the stress in your life. Try yoga, meditation, or deep breathing techniques. Who knows, these efforts might even help other factors, such as your sleep disturbances.
Keep Your Sexual Appetite Burning
It is essential to keep your libido sated when maintaining testosterone levels. Try abstaining from sex for three weeks, and then watch as your testosterone levels sky rocket. Also, try having sex in the morning when testosterone levels are at their peak.
Zinc Helps to Escalate Your Testosterone Production
Boost your levels of zinc in order to help out your testosterone levels. Zinc is directly involved in testosterone metabolism, the formation of sperm and its motility. Many studies have proven the effectiveness of zinc in the treatment of male infertility.
In fact, in a recent study, 37 infertile men with decreased testosterone levels and associated sperm counts were tested. All in all, 22 patients experienced a significant sperm count, and the mean sperm count rose to over 12 million. You can find zinc in foods like shellfish, beef and lamb.
Nettle Root Works to Release “Bound” Testosterone
In addition to zinc, nettle root is also beneficial in increasing the effectiveness of testosterone. European researchers have found that nettle root will bind to sex hormone binding globulin in place of testosterone, which frees up the bioactive testosterone. You can find nettle root in most organic and health food stores, or online.
Guys, don’t be ashamed about a decrease in testosterone. It is incredibly common, and there are many natural tricks you can try to increase testosterone levels. Simply develop better lifestyle choices, and research into the proper supplementation or medication for your body.