Women go through a menopause phase, and men go through an andropause phase. Andropause is a very gradual reduction in the male body’s production of androgenic hormones – particularly testosterone – along with related effects, during middle age and older.
The production of testosterone begins to slow down by a percentage or two each year starting at around age 30. Andropause gradually causes men to notice:
- Decrease in muscle tone
- Decrease in libido
- Periodic lethargy
How Does Andropause Happen?
As men age and testosterone production slows down, tissues that are used to a certain amount of testosterone are suddenly left without. This leads to various physical and psychological changes in a man.
Andropause occurs over a longer, more drawn-out period than women’s menopause, so andropause is not as clearly defined. Also, not all men will experience obvious symptoms, especially men who have relatively lower levels of testosterone to begin with.
Factors that can contribute to heightened symptoms of andropause include:
- Insulin resistance
- Chronic inflammation
- Increased exposure to xenoestrogens
- Lack of physical activity
- Elevated stress levels
Symptoms of Andropause
Because symptoms happen so slowly and over a great span of time, many men do not notice its effects. Plus, many of its symptoms mirror those associated with medications or diseases that are common as we get older, which makes a clinical diagnosis difficult.
More recognizable symptoms include fewer spontaneous erections, changes in sleeping habits, and a loss in muscle mass and tone. Emotional changes can make a man feel less motivated, with feelings of depression or constant fatigue.
Can It Be Treated?
Treatment for andropause is akin to testosterone-replacement therapy. Many natural remedies also exist to help combat the symptoms of andropause, such as:
- Eating more fruits and vegetables (for antioxidants)
- Eating foods with healthy fats, like omega-3 fatty acids
- Adding green tea to your diet
- Cutting back on processed foods
Diet, nutrition, and exercise are the three components to naturally fight off the effects of andropause. If a man is suffering effects that are extremely pronounced, testosterone replacement therapy may be an option – but this creates an increased risk of developing prostate cancer, sleep apnea, cardiovascular conditions (like heart attack or stroke), and even blood clots.
Men’s Health Care in Phoenix
All men over the age of 30 may be experiencing some form of andropause. It is not nearly as rapid or noticeable of a process as what women undergo during menopause, but it may still require treatment if it is bothering you.
If these changes are sapping your energy, contact a skilled urologist to get your levels of testosterone tested and discuss your treatment options. Dr. Desi Avila was educated at Princeton University, the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago, and the Scott Department of Urology at Baylor College of Medicine. He completed his fellowship in reproductive medicine, microsurgery, and fertility at the Texas Medical Center/Baylor Clinic in Houston.
Call Ironwood Urology at (480) 961-2323 or request an appointment online. We look forward to seeing you.