What is Andropause?
Many of our clients are shocked to learn that men go through a menopause-like process, called andropause. It occurs as men age and the the production of two key hormones, testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), begins to decline. Andropause can be more difficult to detect because the process begins much more gradually than menopause occurs in women. In fact, many studies have begun to show that andropause can being as early as a man's mid-20s, although diagnosable symptoms are not often detected until they reach their 40s and 50s.
Once a man reaches the age of 40, his testosterone levels begin to drop at an average of 10 percent per decade. However, for some men, these drops occur earlier and more swiftly than in others. This is when the side effects and symptoms can have a more negative effect on a man's health, vitality, and libido. It's important that both men and women understand what andropause is, as well as its symptoms. It is often the spouses and partners who notice the onset of andropause, long before the men themselves are aware of the changes.
What are Andropause symptoms?
Symptoms and side effects of andropause have been noted in medical literature since the 1940s, although doctors weren't exactly sure of its biochemical cause. Now, sensitive hormone screening can clearly indicate that a man's testosterone and/or DHEA levels are dropping significantly lower than normal. When this happens, men can experience a range of side effects, including:
Decreased strength and endurance
Unusual weight gain, often in the abdomen, upper body and hips
Decrease in libido
These symptoms can have a debilitating effect on a man's sense of well being, and can take its toll on a couple's relationship if it is not diagnosed and treated. Studies are also showing links between andropause and other common medical conditions such as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, and heart disease, further demonstrating the need for early andropause diagnosis and treatment.
What is Andropause Hormone Treatment?
Fortunately, andropause can be treated using a combination of lifestyle changes and natural hormone replacement therapy, also called bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT).
- Lifestyle changes
A healthy diet, full of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole-grains can help to boost natural testosterone levels. Health professionals also recommend a regular exercise routine and moderation in alcohol consumption. Stress reduction and restricting the use of tobacco products is also be beneficial. For some men, lifestyle changes may be enough to reverse the symptoms of andropause, although some form of hormone replacement therapy is usually recommended for optimal hormone balancing.
- Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy
BHRT uses compounds derived from plants. These hormone compounds are the identical size and shape as those produced by the human body, which makes them more easily to assimilate than synthetic hormones created in a lab. Once you have had your hormone levels tested, and the doctor knows exactly how much testosterone and DHEA your body requires to return to balanced levels, s/he will create a customized treatment plan, using time-release pellets that are inserted under your skin.
You will be carefully monitored throughout the course of your andropause treatment to make sure you are receiving the right level of hormones to meet your body's needs. In most cases, patients experience a remission of their hormone imbalance symptoms within a matter of days or weeks.
So, what is andropause? It is a completely normal male hormonal imbalance that can be easily treated with accurate diagnosis and BHRT. If you think you may be suffering from male hormone imbalance, see your doctor and have yourself checked out.