Male Menopause – Is It Real?
Both men and women go through hormonal changes as they age. With women the changes are somewhat abrupt and dramatic. But with men the changes are much more gradual. The changes and effects may be subtle, and therefore, they often tend to go unnoticed for years.
There is usually an alteration in sexual function, energy level or general mood. Doctors have termed this age related hormonal change in men as ‘andropause’. Other names associated with the so-called male menopause are testosterone deficiency, androgen deficiency of the aging male and late-onset hypogonadism.
It’s important to understand that a decrease in testosterone is part of the normal aging process. In fact, on average, from the age 30 on, there is an approximate loss of 1% per year. By the age of about 70, a man’s testosterone level can be expected to be at about 50%.
A decrease in testosterone levels does not always cause signs or symptoms – and even when it does, they usually develop very slowly. Overtime the individual may realize a reduced desire for sex, fewer spontaneous erections (such as during sleep), and infertility may result. The testes may also become smaller.
Sometimes there are sleep problems. Physical changes can include increased body fat and reduced muscle bulk. This is also the stage of life when more men are prone to hair loss. Some men complain of loss of energy and hot flashes. There are also emotional changes associated with this transition in life, which can include a decrease in motivation or self confidence, sadness or depression, trouble concentration, or even short term memory problems.
Each of these issues can also be associated with various other medical conditions as well as normal aging. They can also be side effects of medications, so it is imperative that you discuss these concerns with your doctor. The only way to know if you have a low testosterone level is through a blood test.
When you visit your doctor be sure to be perfectly honest about all of your symptoms. He/she will probably do a physical examination as well as a series of blood tests. If your testosterone levels are low there are replacement therapies available. These testosterone replacement therapies may help with such things as decreased libido, depression and fatigue, but they do not come without risks.
One noted risk is an increased risk for prostate cancer. Many doctors prefer to recommend androgen replacement therapy alternatives, such as lifestyle changes. This is likely to include a new diet or exercise program, or other medications, such as an antidepressant that can help with some of the symptoms.
These safer alternatives provide a way to alleviate the problem symptoms while promoting a healthier lifestyle. In the end, it is a win- win situation.
Warren Tattersall has been a full time nutritional consultant for over a decade and works with people all over the world to help them improve their health, increase their personal energy levels and to use supplements to assist with diet related health issues.
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