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Understanding Andropause: The Male Menopause

Andropause, also known as male menopause, is a physiological disease that occurs in males over the age of 30. It is characterized by a decrease in the production of testosterone, resulting in symptoms such as fatigue, reduced libido, and mood fluctuations. It is distinct from the menopause experienced by women. Physicians utilize a blood test to diagnose testosterone levels. While it is not necessary for every man to get therapy, adopting healthy behaviors such as regular exercise and sufficient sleep might be beneficial. Certain individuals may require medical interventions. It is crucial for males experiencing these symptoms to seek medical attention in order to receive appropriate assistance.

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Andropause is often described as “male menopause.” Although this is how it may be referenced in conversation, it’s quite distinct from female menopause.

The term andropause refers to the various symptoms related to the natural decline in testosterone production as men age. This article will provide a straightforward overview of andropause, including symptoms, how it’s treated, and more.

What is Andropause?

Andropause, also known as late-onset hypogonadism, is a disorder that can occur in the male lifecycle.

Symptoms related to the disorder can start to arise in men who are 30 or older. It is more prevalent in older men and often manifests as a noticeable drop in libido, erectile dysfunction, and low testosterone levels, among many others.

It’s important to note that symptoms can vary on a case-by-case basis and that not every man will experience them.

man looking at his watch

However, being aware of the most common symptoms can help you determine if you should discuss concerns about andropause with your doctor.

Common Symptoms

Beginning around age 40, most men experience a gradual decline in their testosterone levels by about 1% per year. While a few symptoms tend to be more obvious than others, the development of andropause can be rapid or happen slowly over time.

Here are a few potential indicators for the presence of andropause:

  • Testosterone deficiency
  • Low sex drive
  • Ongoing depression
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability

What’s challenging is that these symptoms are common for many other health conditions. It can take some trial and error to determine that andropause is present, but low testosterone is a good starting point. Despite the fact that testosterone naturally declines with age, the majority of men still maintain healthy testosterone levels. Those who experience low testosterone should consult a doctor to determine the cause and address any underlying health condition.

Thankfully, the symptoms of andropause are manageable, even if they feel like they are weighing you down. Making healthier lifestyle choices can help manage the symptoms.

Some of these include:

  • Regular and scheduled physical activity
  • Managing your stress levels
  • Eating a balanced diet of nutrients
  • Sticking to a consistent sleep schedule

Some of these sound like general advice, but the impact of lifestyle choices can profoundly affect your body in numerous ways.

The Process of Diagnosis

If you’re concerned that you may be going through andropause, you should speak with your doctor about having a blood test done.

By evaluating your testosterone levels and related symptoms, a medical professional can discern whether you are experiencing andropause or the effects of another health condition.

Men often don’t need any kind of treatment if they are only experiencing mild symptoms. In other circumstances, some men may need a little extra help getting back on track and feeling like themselves again.

hands holding a glass with blood drops ready to go under a microscope

There are a few treatment options men may consider to help them work through andropause.

Modern Treatment Options

Making lifestyle changes and utilizing pharmacological interventions can offer significant improvement for men experiencing andropause. Although there are many popular treatments for andropause, it’s important to note some options are not suitable for everyone. Your doctor should do a full evaluation and discuss the risks and benefits with you before beginning any treatment.

Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT)

Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) involves supplying the body with testosterone to increase levels to a healthy range. Whether low testosterone is caused by true hypogonadism or is an effect of another health issue, TRT can replenish testosterone that isn’t being produced by the body.
This can result in significant improvement in symptoms, boosting energy, increasing libido, and improving mental health. TRT can be administered in a number of ways, including oral medications, topical creams or gels, subcutaneous pellets, injections, nasal sprays, or transdermal patches.

While TRT is a popular treatment for andropause, it is not the right treatment for everyone. If you have any of the following conditions, be sure to discuss them with your doctor before beginning TRT:

  • Sleep apnea
  • Cardiac issues (such as congestive heart failure)
  • Issues with prostate or urinary tract
  • High risk for cancer, especially prostate or breast cancer
  • High red blood cell count

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is a treatment generally assumed to be exclusive to women. However, this is not the case. Men with low T may have other hormone deficiencies that need to be addressed. If this is the case, a doctor may prescribe an HRT treatment involving multiple hormones in addition to testosterone. The benefits and risks of HRT can vary based on what hormones are involved and other factors involving your health.

The Importance of Medical Guidance

As previously mentioned, the symptoms of andropause are shared among multiple other health conditions. If you think you may be experiencing andropause, you should discuss your concerns with a licensed and trained doctor. They can conduct the testing and evaluations necessary to determine the cause of your symptoms and prescribe the treatments necessary to address them. Consulting with a doctor ensures you can get the safest, most effective treatment to address your andropause symptoms.

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