Andropause is the drop in testosterone experienced by men, otherwise known as male menopause. We hear about menopause in women, but the thought of male menopause may have you wondering. If you’re a married woman, you might even be thinking that is what’s wrong with my husband. Andropause may be the reason for that mid-life crisis you are noticing. As men age, they begin to experience hormone changes just like women. Instead of changing estrogen, there are changes in testosterone. Unlike women though, it does not have to be something connected strictly to age. There are other factors, like health problems, that may also cause these drops in testosterone. If you or someone you know is dealing with this condition, you should seek treatment.
Andropause is something that nearly all men may experience but is not always diagnosed. Andropause is different from menopause in that there are no specific specifications for it. When women go through menopause they have clear signs; hot flashes, fatigue, end of menstrual periods. These things are evident. Along with that, they may become moody or experience hair loss. Men have some changes, but they are not as drastic. Sometimes you may notice men go through what we call a midlife crisis. There is no specific research on its relation to andropause, but it is very plausible.
Testosterone is an important hormone found in both men and women. In women, it is in very low doses, but in men, it comes in high quantities. It is the hormone that pretty much makes a man a man. It gives them that aggressive nature. It assists in deepening their voice, and other characteristics. It also helps with sexual function. When testosterone levels drop, and drop drastically, it may lead to a chemical imbalance. A man may not feel the same. It is at this point sometimes that they realize they are not young anymore. Symptoms include fatigue, low sex drive, depression, weight gain, and possible hair loss. Some men may also experience hot flashes and irritability.
Some men may experience andropause sooner than others. If you do not exercise or eat properly, you are at risk of lowering your testosterone levels. Stress is also a risk factor. When you are under a lot of stress with work, family, and other things, you can throw your hormones out of balance. Stress releases hormones in the body that have a negative effect. The first signs of andropause can begin as early as 45. Most men experience the worst of the symptoms around the age of 70. The symptoms of andropause are not as severe as menopause mainly because the decrease in testosterone is slow and subtle. It typically does not happen all of a sudden. If you are noticing changes, the next step is to see a physician.
When experiencing andropause, many men do not go to the doctor. There is no reason for you not to, especially since treatment is available. A physical examination is the first step. Blood work is the next key to diagnosing andropause. Testing for other things like diabetes and thyroid issues is necessary. Both blood work and a physical examination help rule out other conditions. Sometimes these symptoms may be a result of other disorders. If all the other test come back normal and your blood shows low testosterone, you are more than likely experiencing andropause.
The most common form of treatment is hormone replacement therapy. This therapy is a series of testosterone shots. They are injected to increase the testosterone levels. These shots have been shown to decrease symptoms of fatigue, weakness, and low sex drive. It may even treat depression. Another form of treatment takes the natural route. Instead of having hormone injections, the physician will put you on supplements and give you a diet and exercise plan. Sometimes just changing your bad habits will put your hormones in balance again. Both treatments are good, but you have a greater risk with hormone therapy. Any injection poses the risk of infection or an allergic reaction. Testosterone injections specifically, may put you at risk for prostate cancer. If you already have prostate cancer, it can make it worse. Going the natural way is great, but it may take longer for you to notice any changes. It also takes a lot of discipline and self- control. Whatever treatment you choose, can help you feel normal again.
Hormone imbalances can make you feel completely out of wack. Andropause in men may not be as common as menopause in women, but it poses the same problems. If you notice evident changes sexually, physically, or emotionally you should see your doctor. The issue may be something as simple as low testosterone or something more serious. Do not ignore those signs and symptoms. Get the care you need and get back to feeling like the man you want to be.
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