Andropause is not the same as menopause…
But men still need to be concerned about the effects of this condition
The dictionary definition of andropause is a gradual and highly variable decline in the production of androgenic hormones and especially testosterone in the human male together with its associated effects that is held to occur during and after middle age but is often difficult to discriminate from the effects of confounding factors (as chronic illness, stress, or medication use) that can depress testosterone levels.
In other words, andropause is the gradual loss of testosterone in men as they age, similar to menopause, the natural cessation of menstruation that women experience, usually occurring between the ages of 45 and 55 and a result of a drop in hormones.
It is, however, crucial to stress that andropause is not the male version of menopause, according to urologist Dr. Datesh Daneshwal.
"While all women go through menopause, all men do not experience andropause. It's not supposed to happen to every man and it only affects a very small percentage of men," he says.
Andropause is an affliction when men suffer a decrease in their testosterone levels that is beyond normal. For all men, testosterone starts its slow decline at approximately age 30 and proceeds at a rate of around 10% per decade.
However, this decline can be slowed to the point where it does not become an adverse health issue that will negatively affect the quality of their lives. This is different from menopause, since that condition may occur suddenly by lowering a woman’s hormone levels that will cause ovulation to cease.
Some men may experience a far more than a normal significant drop in their testosterone levels. There is a broad range of reasons for this: obesity, lack of exercise, poor dietary choices, excess alcohol, insomnia, and failure to control stress.
When a man's testosterone levels plummet, it can cause a broad range of issues that adversely affect both their physical health and temperament. Here are just some of the signs of low testosterone (“Low-T”):
- Weak, shrinking muscles
- Increasing joint aches and pains
- Stiffness and a loss of flexibility
- Brain fog and mental confusion
- Insulin resistance that leads to diabetes and a further loss of testosterone
- Weight-gain and an increase of ugly, disease-producing fat
- Dry, wrinkled skin
- Declining libido and erectile dysfunction
- Chronic fatigue
- And more...much more
"A drop in testosterone coupled with these symptoms is what is classified as andropause. When it interferes with your well-being and health," explains Dr. Datesh.
"Many people have a misconception that testosterone is purely for a sexual function, which it is not. It is the elixir that keeps the brain sharp, affects one's mood, muscle bulk, and weight management, and also cholesterol and sugar levels. Low testosterone can cause insomnia and depression and, of course, sexual dysfunction too. Men need a certain level of testosterone to function well – in all aspects of their life – and if it dips too low, their health is at risk," says Dr. Datesh
You don’t have to suffer alone – help is available
Here is an example of a middle-aged man, “David”, who began to feel the effects of Low-T.
"I was experiencing a gradual but progressive decline of erectile function, decreased libido, frequent and more prolonged periods of low moods, decreased energy levels and frustration, sadness and despair that my interest in the opposite gender was not what it once was," says David who is now 61.
He tried Viagra to help with his sexual dysfunction, David decided to seek medical help when the symptoms persisted.
He stated that "For many years, l absorbed myself in my work and largely shrugged off and just accepted my symptoms without question. Since retiring a few years ago, l have had the time to become more aware of the physical and psychological fallout these symptoms have been having on me. The biggest psychological symptom was the diminishing confidence that l keenly felt in pursuing new relationships with women (l am, and always have been, a single guy) not least because l was conscious of the increasing difficulty of consummating such relationships.
"On a physical level, l felt myself becoming more anxious and subject to low moods as well as experiencing decreasing energy levels. I felt that l owed it to myself to get my symptoms properly evaluated by qualified professionals in this area," he said.
David was diagnosed with hypogonadism, a condition where the body doesn't produce enough testosterone which can occur at any age, often from injury or infection. He is now undergoing testosterone replacement therapy as well as medication for erectile dysfunction which he says has helped him enormously.
"Physically, l feel more energized, l have a stronger libido and my erectile functioning difficulties have been greatly improved, with further improvements anticipated after further testosterone injections. Psychologically, my confidence in interacting with women has been greatly boosted – l think this is the most dramatic change l have noticed.
"My advice to other men who are going through this is to not ignore the symptoms but to take action! Go and get specialist advice initially from your doctor and better still from a Urologist who has special expertise in this area. Please do not be embarrassed about talking through your symptoms with a doctor or urologist, particularly around erectile dysfunction. Remember that these medical people have seen and heard it all before many, many times. ln most cases your symptoms are likely to be physiological rather than psychological and can be resolved with treatment," says David.
Don’t be afraid to admit your condition
It is an unpleasant fact that in the minds of many men there is a stigma attached to admitting that they have lost a considerable amount of their manhood. Consequently, men rarely seek medical help even when the symptoms can be affecting their life significantly, notes Dr. Datesh.
"There is a stigma associated with this, unfortunately. And that's because we immediately associate testosterone with sexual function. That's why we need to raise awareness about how men need healthy levels of testosterone to lead a healthy life all around. If you are over 40 and are not feeling yourself – notice that you put on weight, lose muscle bulk, emotional instability, find you are no longer attracted to your partner anymore, come and get tested. All it takes is a simple blood test and if it is because of low levels of testosterone, there is a solution now. You can get treated and change your life not just for yourself but for your family too," stated the urologist.
Dr. Datesh continued: "Hormone replacement is science though and cannot be administered simply without ruling out a few things. First and most importantly, we have to make sure that the patient has no signs of prostate cancer because testosterone is fuel for prostate cancer cells. Second, while testosterone administered externally may help with a man's virility, it may affect his fertility. These things have to be discussed with the patient before he starts on treatment."
How long a patient needs to continue treatment really depends on the individual, he says.
“I have had patients who, after a couple of doses, were feeling better and able to resume an active lifestyle which can stimulate the body's ability to produce its own testosterone," he explains.
Our clinics have the answers
At our clinics, we will determine the best treatment options for you. There is a broad range of testosterone replacement regimens available: injections, pills, gels, and patches. We will discuss each of these options with you in detail and give our recommendations.
We also make safety a top priority and we consider any and all possible adverse side effects and give you detailed instructions on all aspects of your treatment.
Once you have begun your treatment regimen, we will closely monitor your progress and results.
But we don’t stop there
In addition to testosterone, we will develop a holistic program to ensure that you will obtain maximum benefit from your testosterone therapy.
It begins with fitness. Resistance training has been proven to boost testosterone naturally. Aerobic exercise has been shown to boost mood due to the massive flooding of endorphins released during training. As a bonus, both types of exercise strengthen the cardiovascular system. We will consider your current condition before recommending a fitness routine.
We will also give detailed nutritional guidance, and give tips on sleep, hydration, and reducing stress. Our testosterone therapy can work wonders on its own. Just think about what it can do when our therapy teams up with a healthy lifestyle!
Contact us for a free, no-obligation discussion concerning the benefits that testosterone replacement therapy can deliver to you!
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