Did you know that women aren’t the only ones who suffer from changing hormones? As men age, they can experience a male menopause known as andropause. While aging-related hormone changes differ between men and women, men develop decreased levels of testosterone, which can lead to a host of health issues.
Myth or Reality
For men, testosterone is more than just a sexual hormone. It provides mental and physical energy, protects muscle mass, and maintains a man’s fight or flight response. Although not every man will experience a male menopause during middle age, it is a reality for many men. Unlike women, a man’s testosterone declines slowly over a period of years, and symptoms often intensify with age.
What Is Male Menopause?
On average, male testosterone levels gradually decline at 1% each year after a man reaches the age of 40. In spite of this decline, the majority of men still have testosterone levels within the normal range, with less than half of men suffering from low levels of testosterone. In many instances, low testosterone causes no noticeable changes.
Male menopause can be difficult to diagnose, as low testosterone can also be attributed to medications, age, or a body mass index higher than 30. The signs of low testosterone are not specific to low testosterone and can be triggered by diabetes, chemotherapy, and other health conditions. A healthy man should be able to produce sperm well into his 80s, but disease may affect sperm production in a younger man.
While the symptoms of male menopause begin at the same age as women entering menopause, they often worsen with age for men. Symptoms encompass sexual, physical, and emotional issues, including the following:
- Low energy
- Erectile dysfunction
- Reduced libido
- Increased body fat
- Mental fogginess
- Swollen or tender breasts (gynecomastia)
- Decreased testicle size
- Hair loss (balding)
- Hot flashes
How is it diagnosed?
If you think you might be suffering from male menopause, make an appointment with your doctor. Your evaluation will start with a physical exam, tests to rule out various other medical conditions, and a conversation about your symptoms. To test testosterone levels, your doctor will take a sample of your blood. If your bloodwork shows low testosterone, the test is often repeated to confirm the results, followed by further testing of the pituitary gland to determine the cause.
The most common way to treat male menopause is through lifestyle changes. Dietary shifts, regular exercise, reduced stress, and increased sleep can play an important role in treating symptoms while benefiting your overall health in the process. Although treatment for male menopause is not always necessary, there are several options for men. Depending on the symptoms displayed, the answer can be found in the form of antidepressants, therapy, or hormone replacement therapy.
We want to help you get back on track! Regardless of your age, you deserve to feel like your best self. Hormone replacement therapy has been helping men get back on track and find relief from their symptoms. At North Texas Vitality, Dr. Thomas Fliedner will check your current hormone levels to determine the best action plan for getting you back to feeling your best. To make an investment in your future, contact us today to schedule your consultation.