Knowing and Preventing Andropause
Andropause is just another name for male menopause. Although not every man will suffer from this condition, its symptoms are similar to those that women will experience while going through menopause. This condition affects roughly thirty percent of men over the age of fifty. Although research is still being done on this condition, many physicians believe that the symptoms are closely linked to a decrease in testosterone production.
Recognizing the Symptoms of Andropause
Unlike female menopause, andropause does not happen suddenly. In fact, it can take decades before a man suffering from this condition starts to notice the symptoms. Although many aspects of this condition are still highly disputed within the medical community, some of the most commonly reported symptoms include:
- Lack of energy
- Decreased sex drive and difficulty maintaining an erection
- Increased body fat and loss of muscle mass
- Hot flashes
Since the symptoms do not generally point to a serious condition, andropause can be a harder condition to diagnose. However, for patients exhibiting some of the more serious symptoms such as hot flashes, a physician will usually take a test to measure testosterone levels.
Causes of Andropause
Although singling out a cause is difficult since not every man will suffer from andropause, it is believed that the condition is a result of low testosterone levels. As men age, their testosterone production tends to slow down. Testosterone is a hormone found in both men and women; men, however, have much higher levels of testosterone. The hormone is essential to maintaining a healthy bodyweight, building muscle and developing strong healthy bones. In addition to decreased testosterone production, the body will also increase its production of another hormone: sex hormone binding globulin. This adds to the effect of decreased testosterone levels by pulling testosterone from the blood. Since there are many tissues in the body that rely on testosterone, this can lead to other medical conditions if left untreated.
Taking steps to prevent andropause
Since low testosterone levels are believed to be the cause of andropause, your physician will likely treat the symptoms with some sort of testosterone replacement therapy. However, some researchers believe that this form of therapy may be responsible for increasing the risk of prostate cancer.
The good news is that there are steps you can take to try to minimize your chances of experiencing andropause later in life. One of the easiest steps to take towards preventing this condition is to ensure that you get enough rest each night. Since testosterone is produced while you sleep, cutting back on your sleep could result in lower levels of production. In addition, it is also believed that regular alcohol consumption also limits the body’s ability to produce testosterone; therefore, regular alcohol consumption should be avoided. Finally, a consistent exercise routine is also believed to support the production of testosterone. This is a good way to not only increase your testosterone production but also helps to minimize some of the negative symptoms associated with andropause such as mood swings and depression.