While it is not as sharp as the deep hormone dive and ovulation depletion which the Menopause presents, men can also experience age related hormone changes which, although happen at a more gradual pace, can create similar symptoms.
Andropause, Male Menopause, Manopause, Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome: these are just some of the names given to the hormone changes in men. And although the terminology is less widely acknowledged as women’s Menopause, it is still certainly valid.
So what is Andropause?
Testosterone is the hormone responsible for the deep voices, muscle mass, and body hair patterns found in males. Along with a reduction in sperm, on average, testosterone decreases gradually too: by 1% each year after the age of 30 or 10% each decade. This can result in physical or physiological changes for men otherwise known as the Male Menopause or more commonly, Andropause. Around 30% of men in their 50s will experience these changes which can sometimes lead to other serious changes such as cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.
Another hormone called Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) which pulls useful testosterone from the blood starts to increase leaving less bioavailable testosterone for body tissues. This also adds to the physical and mental changes experienced.
The female Menopause is often referred to as ‘The Change’ due to the body and mind transitioning into a new phase of life. And although the decrease in testosterone can sometimes go undetected without any remarkable changes, there are a number of main symptoms of the Andropause to be mindful of:
- Lower sex drive.
- Difficulty getting erections or erections which are not as strong as usual.
- Lack of energy.
- Depression, irritability, mood swings.
- Low self-confidence.
- Loss of strength and muscle mass.
- Increased body fat.
- Hot flushes.
Treatment and prevention
Replacing testosterone in the blood is the most common type of treatment for Andropause and in most cases it can provide relief and improve quality of life. However, there are some risks involved, such as the stimulation of cancerous and non-cancerous cells, sleep apnea and an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
If you do suffer from any of the above signs or symptoms it’s important to try a few different remedies before embarking on any treatment:
Visit your doctor and be honest about your symptoms. It can be difficult to be upfront about certain symptoms especially when they are related to sex, but you will only get the best diagnosis and treatment if you are completely honest.
Treat yourself well. It is easy to fall into the habit of having one too many alcoholic drinks at the weekend orindulging in the wrong foods but making sensible and healthy lifestyle choices about food, drink and exercise is really important, especially if you want to manage your mood, energy, stress and sleep patterns.
To keep a balanced diet, avoid foods that are too sweet or salty, contain too much caffeine or contain bad fats that will cause the body to slow down. Instead, make sure you’re getting enough nutrients such as omega-3, vitamin D and calcium.
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