Recognizing and Treating the Symptoms of Andropause
Declining hormone levels aren’t just a problem for women. Men also lose hormones over time – particularly testosterone. This decline is referred to as andropause and it can have a significant effect on a man’s life. And yet, many men don’t recognize the symptoms as something they can do anything about. But it’s not just aging and you can combat it.
The Gradual Decline
Andropause is frequently referred to as the male menopause, but it has many differences from the hormonal decline that women experience during menopause. Women generally experience menopause relatively quickly. In a matter of years, their menstruation becomes erratic and then ceases entirely as they lose estrogen and progesterone. And menopausal symptoms can come on just as suddenly.
Men, on the other hand, lose testosterone gradually over time. Testosterone levels in men begin to decline around the age of 30 and they continue to lose testosterone through their 40s, 50s, 60s and so forth. By the time a man is 60, he has dramatically less testosterone than when he was 30.
A man in his 20s may have testosterone levels of about 1,000. But, by the time that man is in his 60s, he’ll have levels of around 400. While each lab has its own normal values for men, so you’ll see different numbers at different labs, this rate of decline is very typical.
It’s Andropause, Not Just Age
The gradual decline of testosterone results in symptoms that come on very gradually, as well. This gradual onset leads many people to mistake the symptoms of andropause as simply part of getting older. But those gradual reductions in your youthfulness, enthusiasm, muscle strength and brain function are actually a result of andropause and can be improved with treatment.
While andropause can cause a variety of different symptoms, some of the major, gradually-occurring symptoms of andropause include:
Loss of muscle mass. As hormone levels decline during andropause, your muscle mass also declines. When you’re 60, you may weigh the same as when you were 30, but since you’ve lost muscle, much more of that weight consists of fat. This increase in fat can lead to a number of health problems, including higher cholesterol, more clogging of your arteries and a higher risk of diabetes.
Decline in brain functioning. There are many receptors for testosterone and other hormones in your brain and you need adequate levels of these hormones to maintain optimal brain function. If you don’t have enough of these hormones, you’ll experience a great reduction in your ability to think clearly and remember things.
Impaired sexual function. Testosterone is a crucial hormone for optimal sexual function. As your testosterone levels decline, you will notice a drop in your libido – your interest in sexual activity – as well as the effects of erectile dysfunction (ED).
General fatigue. Your hormones help to provide you with the energy you need to make it through the day. Without adequate levels of these hormones, you’re likely to find that you frequently feel tired and you don’t have the enthusiasm that used to motivate your life.
These symptoms can begin as early as your 30s or 40s, but you may not notice their impact in your life until you’re in your 50s. By the time you reach the age of 60, the symptoms of andropause can make you feel old. You may feel like you can no longer do the things you used to enjoy.
Treatment is Possible!
The good news is that you can reverse many of the symptoms of andropause through proper treatment. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, or BHRT,can replace the hormones you’re losing so that you can feel youthful and vigorous once again.
It starts with testing to determine you current hormone levels. At BodyLogicMD, we measure blood tests to evaluate various hormone levels. We prefer to use free hormone tests and bio-available hormone tests, which are more accurate than tests that look at the total reservoir of protein-bound hormones.
Depending on the results of these tests, we’ll determine a hormone replacement plan that works for you. You may receive bioidentical hormones such as additional testosterone in a cream, injection or pellets that we insert in the fatty layer under the skin. We usually use tablets to restore DHEA levels and, for replacing growth hormone, we frequently recommend a spray that you use under your tongue.
All of these interventions are extremely effective in restoring your hormone levels and reducing or reversing your symptoms so that you can feel better than you have in years.
Andropause is not the only hormonal issue that can occur in men as they age. Both men and women frequently experience declines in thyroid hormone levels as they grow older. Stress can also build up over time, resulting in an increasing risk of adrenal fatigue. These issues and others can contribute to the symptoms of andropause, so that even if you replace your testosterone levels, the symptoms don’t go away.
We treat all of these hormone imbalances in men and women at BodyLogicMD and we don’t just use bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. We also provide nutritional guidance and fitness plans to help you achieve optimal overall health. We always look at your health in-depth and evaluate you as a whole, individual and unique person to see just what you need to feel youthful, vibrant and enthusiastic about your life.