Male Menopause -- Symptoms & Treatments
What is male menopause?
Menopause has traditionally been considered a condition that afflicts only women. It is when a woman's hormone levels drop, her monthly menstruation ceases, and she suffers from a range of troublesome symptoms. However, woman are not the only ones to suffer through menopause. Male menopause, which is known as andropause, affects all men similar to how female menopause that affects all women, and is a result of a decrease in hormone levels. It traditionally affects men in their mid thirties and has been, until recently, known as a mid-life crisis. Unlike female menopause where a woman's hormone levels drop and eventually stop all together, male menopause is a drop in a man's testosterone levels but they do not stop completely. In fact, men can produce sperm well into their 70's or 80's.
Causes of Male Menopause
As mentioned above, male menopause is a result of a decrease in hormone levels. But which hormones are affected and why are they important? The hormones that are most affected are testosterone, thyroid, DHEA, and growth hormone.
Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone and is responsible for health, well-being, and prevention of osteoporosis.
Thyroid is an endocine gland in the neck (aka the Adam's Apple) that is responsible for how the body burns energy and it controls how the body will react to other hormones.
DHEA is a precursor to the male sex hormones--androgens.
Growth hormone (GH) is a hormone responsible for stimulating growth and cell reproduction.
Symptoms of Male Menopause
The symptoms of male menopause are similar to female menopause. The most common symptoms are:
- Night sweats and/or hot flashes
- Difficulty sleeping
- Decreased mental awareness / sharpness
- Decrease in energy, strength and endurance
- Decreased muscle mass
- Increased body fat
- Decreased sexual desire
- A decrease in sexual funtion and/or sensitivity (i.e. impotence, erectile dysfunction, inability to reach orgasm)
Not all men will experience all of these symptoms and these symptoms are not as intense as women experience. However, they can be troublesome and if you feel like you are suffering from any of these symptoms, you should talk to your doctor.
Treatments for Male Menopause
Rest assured, there are treatments available for men suffering from male menopause. There are both natural and medical remedies that can help improve the quality of life for men suffering through andropause.
Most men attempt to control their symptoms through natural remedies (diet & exercise) and only turn to other methods when their quality of life has become unbearable. Others chose a combination of both methods.
The primary treatment for male menopause is Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT). This is when testosterone levels are increased by one of two methods: (1) self administered injections two times a week or (2) applying a topical cream two times a day.
DHEA and thyroid hormones are replaced orally via a pill and GH are replaced with a small needle injection.
There are also more natural methods for treating male menopause such as limiting your intake of fat, fried foods, alcohol, and caffeine. Many of these foods contain hormone-disrupting chemicals and can affect your weight gain/loss and will also prevent you from getting a good nights sleep.
Take zinc supplements to increase your sexual potency. Semen has high concentrations of zinc and is the most important nutrient for male sexuality.
Exercise regularly! Not only will this help you feel better it will help to increase your muscle mass, decrease body fat, fight fatigue, and increase your sex drive.