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Andropause – male menopause

Andropause symptoms can develop as men get older, generally in their forties and above. The underlying medical condition is due to declining gonodal function resulting in declining androgen levels and a variety of related symptoms. As men age, their testicular function reduces, causing testosterone levels to fall significantly. As many as one fifth of men above the age of 60 years old show evidence of male hormone deficiency. Many a time, symptoms that are in fact due to the andropause will have been previously attributed to circumstance, stress, lifestyle changes, travel or even thought as normal aging process; that is, until advice is sought for this medical condition.

Diagnosing andropause

Characteristically, the onset of andropause is gradual and progresses slowly. There is a steady decrease of testosterone level by about 1% yearly as men get older. With low amounts of bioavailable testosterone, various physical and mental symptoms manifest.

Aging alone is not the only reason for andropause. Sometimes gonadal injury, illness, medications, malnutrition, stress and psychiatric problems can lower the male hormone levels, sometimes as early as in their thirties. Young males with testosterone deficiency can have somewhat different symptoms than the older man who is andropausal from aging.

What happens with andropause?

As men age, there is a decrease in the function of hypothalamus and testicles, and cells called Leydig cells decrease in number. All these factors contribute to lowering testosterone production.  Low testosterone can result in poor sleep at night, tiredness and a feeling of depression.  Loss of energy, fatigue, reduced concentration, mood swings and irritability may also be experienced. More frequent episodes of erectile dysfunction may occur. Body weight may increase, leading to obesity around midriff, alongside loss of muscle mass. You will need to seek specialist medical advice if you have some of these symptoms.

Symptoms of andropause

Most common symptoms come from low levels of testosterone and andropause are:

  • Low libido.
  • Erectile dysfunction – difficulty getting erection and low interest.
  • Listlessness/fatigue/energy loss.
  • Inability to concentrate, and memory impairment.
  • Mood swings.
  • Irritability.
  • Reduced hair growth.
  • Hot flashes & excess sweating.
  • Depression.
  • Lean muscle loss.
  • Obesity.

 

Diagnosing andropause

When you are no longer functioning as you used to when you were younger, with a feeling of malaise and impaired quality of life, you should seek medical help to diagnose testosterone deficiency. Treatment will improve your life quality significantly as well treat other symptoms. The doctor will conduct a number of tests to rule out diabetes, cardiac issues and other medical conditions. Depending on the level of total and free testosterone and the free androgen index, the doctor will chart out a treatment plan.

Treating andropause

The most prevalent and popular treatment for andropause is testosterone replacement therapy. Different modalities of treatment include:

  • Skin gels.
  • Injections.
  • Capsules.
  • Implants.

Your urologist, after checking your testosterone level, will know which will be best treatment for your age and constitution. The doctor will follow up with you to check how you are responding to your treatment and decide whether any change or dose adjustments may be needed. Along with medications, an active exercise regimen, a healthy way of life comprising balanced and nutritious food intake and controlling alcohol and tobacco intake are essential. For more information about andropause symptoms and treatment options, contact MarkFeneley.com