Male Menopause…Fact or Fiction?
Are You Feeling Tired More Than Usual?
And are You Wondering Why?
Keep Reading…the Cause May Surprise You
As the months and years turn into decades, and you are blowing out more and more candles on your birthday cake, several uninvited guests continue to show up, seemingly intent on crashing your party: diminished libido, lack of interest in sex, constant fatigue, loss of hard-earned muscle tone, pounds and blubber increasing like feral cats, mental fog, trouble getting to sleep, new joint aches and pains…well, you get the point.
Aging is assaulting your body, and the results are not pretty.
In fact, it is a full-blown mid-life crisis, or so you may think.
The problem with that train of thought is that these hideous intruders will not go away even if you get that new shiny red convertible and finally convince your secretary (who is half your age) to start an affair with you.
No. Your Problems are Much Deeper and More Complicated
In spite of what you may have heard or believed, men go through “the change” just like women. And the primary cause of this unfortunate and unwanted condition is:
Lower Testosterone Levels
This is not a rumor or a myth.
Everything about male menopause is directly linked to a decrease in testosterone levels.
Remember, testosterone makes men, for lack of a better word, MEN. Testosterone gives us muscle, energy, bravery, sex drive, and all of the other qualities that add so much to the zest of life.
Think of your body’s testosterone reserve as a bank account…an account that has to last a lifetime.
The problem is that, as men age, more money (testosterone) gets spent.
Remember those halcyon days of your youth, when you could eat what you wanted and still stay slim?
But when you hit the big 3-0, things began to change.
At around age thirty, a man’s testosterone levels begin a steady drip…drip…drip, at a rate of about 1% a year.
Do the math.
By the time you hit 80, your levels of this precious hormone are about half of what they were in your twenties.
An enormous difference.
Over the past two decades, we’ve seen a severe drop in testosterone levels in men ages 65-69.
More alarming, recent research has demonstrated that almost 1 in 4 men over 30 have low testosterone or “Low T” without any symptoms, while 1 in 20 suffers from clinical symptoms, such as weight gain and the other problems mentioned earlier.
That Disgusting Expanding Belly and Those Repulsive “Love Handles.”
It’s no fun being afraid to take off your shirt at the beach, or anywhere else, for that matter.
Obesity and being overweight are two of the unwanted guests resulting from male menopause.
As the weight and flab pile on, testosterone levels suffer a precipitous drop.
This expanding gut is more than concern over your appearance.
The stomach is a real organ that secretes hormones related to cardiac disease, obesity, and low testosterone.
The size of your abdomen plays a vital role in testosterone deficiency.
The enzyme, aromatase, converts testosterone into estrogen in the stomach.
Body fat accelerates this process.
As testosterone converts to estrogen, another unwanted, hideous guest may appear: MAN BOOBS.
Losing weight is the key to boosting testosterone levels and warding off the effects of male menopause.
Understanding the Risks of Testosterone Replacement Therapy
As a result of this sudden appearance of the “party-crashers” listed above, hordes of American men are embracing testosterone replacement therapies.
These treatments come in the form of a gel, patch or injection, and are designed to restore normal testosterone levels.
Between doctors over-prescribing testosterone as a knee-jerk reaction to the problem and pharmaceutical companies advertising the fountain-of-youth, it is understandable why men are shelling out an estimated $2 billion a year on testosterone.
Of course, we’re all looking for a quick fix, but immediately running to the nearest testosterone clinic may or may not be the answer.
The truth is testosterone injections should never be the first line of defense when it comes to treating low T.
Men need to be aware of the fact that testosterone is a lifelong therapy, and is certainly no joke, or anything to be toyed with, or entered into lightly.
Once you’re on these treatments, a physician monitors your levels every six months or even more often, depending on your circumstance.
Therefore, you owe it to yourself to explore all your options and look to natural methods first, instead of plunging into replacement therapy.
Forms of Testosterone Replacement Therapy
- Transdermal Skin Patch: Androderm is a skin patch worn on the arm or upper body, applied once a day. This may cause terrible, maddening itching and fluid-filled blisters.
- Gels: AndroGel and Testim are most commonly used and come in individual packets of clear testosterone gel. They are applied once a day and absorbed directly through the skin. AndroGel, Axiron, and Fortesta also come in a pump that delivers the prescribed amount of testosterone. Natesto is a gel applied nasally. These gels may also irritate and leave skin red, inflamed or itchy.
- Testosterone Stick: Just like the underarm deodorant that you use every morning, it’s applied directly to the skin.
- Mouth Patch: Striant is a tablet that is being implemented to the upper gum twice per day. It continuously releases testosterone into the blood through the oral tissues. Users may experience a nasty taste in the mouth, have a hard time tasting food, experience stinging or swelling of the lips, and gum pain, tenderness, swelling, and irritation in the mouth.
- Injections and implants: Testosterone can also be injected directly into the muscles or implanted as pellets in the soft tissues. The body will slowly absorb the testosterone into the bloodstream. Side effects include inflammation and pain.
- Testosterone pills: Two of the more common formulas are called methyltestosterone and testosterone undecanoate. Some evidence has shown that oral testosterone may cause damage to the liver.
All of these therapy options may have possible side effects including:
- Increased risk of heart attack and stroke
- Stimulation of prostate tissue
- Dangerous, possibly fatal blood clots
- Loss of hair
- Acne or oily skin
- Mild fluid retention
- Breast enlargement (“Man boobs, or “bitch tits”)
- Sleep apnea
- Shrunken testicles
- Increased aggression and extreme moodiness
- Decreased sperm count
Some men suffer from hypogonadism, a testosterone deficiency, where they don’t produce enough of the hormone naturally.
In some cases, testosterone replacement therapies may work but only after consulting with your urologist and carefully monitoring the dosage.
The Link Between Testosterone and Prostate Cancer
The debate over testosterone replacement and prostate cancer has raged on for quite some time and still goes on.
For decades, it was considered “the holy grail of Urology” that testosterone replacement therapy was like pouring gasoline on a raging fire when given to men with prostate cancer.
In some cases, hormonal therapy or androgen deprivation therapy is used to suppress a man’s testosterone levels in hopes of shrinking the prostate cancer tumor, but this does not cure prostate cancer.
If men have a nodule on the prostate (discovered during a digital rectal exam) or a PSA greater than 3, TRT should be avoided.
Also, men with urinary issues, severe heart condition, liver or kidney disease should probably not begin TRT.
Most doctors advise men considering TRT to undergo a thorough prostate exam before starting any therapy, including a digital rectal exam and PSA blood test.
Getting a baseline PSA before taking any TRT is critical, since it may increase after treatments begin.
Urologists should monitor the PSA carefully once treatments start.
Begin to Monitor Your Testosterone
When men turn 50, they should start to check their testosterone levels in the morning before 9 am.
The range can be anywhere between 300-1,000, but more is not better.
Optimal levels of testosterone should be between 400-600.
If the first test is low, be sure to repeat it. Never treat or diagnose low-T based on one test.
It’s important to consult with your urologist.
How is low-T diagnosed? Each man is looked at individually.
Everything is evaluated: their history, changes in sexual function, low libido, infertility issues, changes in sleep pattern, muscle strength, bone density and weight gain.
Then, the physician will determine the best treatment path.
One last thing.
Before considering testosterone replacement therapy, men should look into natural ways to increase their testosterone.
This begins and ends with losing weight, but here are some more methods to consider:
- Limit alcohol intake: Even drinking moderate amounts of alcohol can cause testosterone levels to plummet.
- Reduce stress: be mindful of factors in your life that create stress. Mental or physical stress can quickly depress your levels. The stress hormone cortisol suppresses the body’s ability to make testosterone.
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT). High-intensity cardio exercise can cut stress in half but don’t overdo it. Injuries and fatigue are sure signs that your workout may lower testosterone.
- Zinc: The mineral Zinc is essential for testosterone production. Look to protein-rich foods like meats and fish. If you decide to supplement zinc, stick to a dosage of less than 40mg per day, since too much zinc can accumulate in the body, producing undesired results.
- Vitamin D: The “sunshine vitamin” is a big secret when it comes to healthy testosterone levels. Foods like shellfish, tuna, salmon, egg yolks, beans and others work great. You can also look into taking vitamin D supplements, 1,000-2,000 IU per day and monitor your levels after that. Vitamin D levels should be between 30-60. Also, don’t be afraid to catch a few rays. But don’t overdo it. 10-15 minutes will boost your vitamin D levels, and you don’t need to stay in the sun longer.
- Limit Sugar: When in doubt, cut sugar out. Testosterone levels drop off because sugar leads to a high insulin level.
- Healthy Fats: Foods like olive oil, raw nuts, coconut oil, grass-fed meats, and avocados are perfect for building testosterone. 50-70% of your diet should include healthy fats.
Contact our clinic for a free, no-obligation discussion about the benefits of testosterone replacement therapy.
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