While menopause is a well-discussed topic in everyday life, andropause or the supposed male version of menopause is hardly ever talked about. Because of this, there are many misconceptions that surround this common but strangely obscure condition. Here are some facts about the so-called male menopause that everyone should be familiar with.
1. It is a gradual change.
Menopause is the time when a woman stops having periods and is no longer able to conceive a child naturally. This change, which can take place all of a sudden or in a span of a few months or years, is brought aboutby a plunge in the body’s estrogen level. In men, the change in testosterone level is a very gradual process that can span years. On an average, testosterone levels decline about 1% every year after the age of 30. Because of this, it is difficult to attribute the changes in the male body to andropause. Some men exhibit no signs or symptoms at all, while others experience physical and emotional changes, as well as differences in sexual function and sleep pattern.
2. Low testosterone level is attributed to a number of physical and emotional changes.
The testosterone is responsible for maintaining bone density, fat distribution, muscle strength and mass, facial and body hair, sex drive, sperm production, and red blood cell production. Low testosterone level in the body can cause insomnia, reduced sexual desire, fewer spontaneous erections, and infertility. In addition, it is entirely possible for men to experience increased body fat, decreased bone density, and reduced muscle bulk and strength. Some also report gynecomastia or swollen and tender breasts. Other symptoms may include depression, difficulty in concentrating, irritability, and low sense of well-being.
3. Some symptoms can be treated with testosterone hormone therapy.
While some men hardly experience any sign of andropause, others may be greatly inconvenienced by the symptoms that are attributed to low testosterone levels in the body. These symptoms may be addressed by undergoing testosterone replacement therapy. The therapy may be administered through skin patches, gels, mouth patches, injections, or implant. Many who undergo this therapy report improvement in energy level and sex drive, while some men are shown to have increased bone density, insulin sensitivity, and muscle mass. One should note, though, that it is hard to predict the changes the therapy will have on the body. Also, some experts believe that testosterone replacement therapy increases the risk for benign prostatic hypertrophy, prostate cancer, sleep apnea, blood clots, and congestive heart failure.
4. Feeling your best sometimes requires a bit of effort.
While there is nothing a person can do to boost his natural testosterone level, he can talk to his doctor and plan ways to best accommodate the physical and emotional changes brought about by andropause. The doctor can also recommend treatments that will treat sexual issues such as erectile dysfunction. An active lifestyle is also recommended to improve one’s mood and sleep pattern, as well as to combat the loss of muscle mass that comes with the onset of andropause.