Is there a male menopause?

Women do not have the monopoly on diminishing hormone levels with age. In fact testosterone, a man's potent force, the basis for his mental and physical energy, takes a major hit as total hormone output slows down. Male deficiency symptoms comes on gradually over time, and unlike the roller coaster ride midlife women may experience, men don't always know what's hit them. Male menopause is nevertheless real, it is also known as Andropause. Andropause is from the Greek, andro (male), and pausis (stop), and represents the midlife decrease of androgens, DHEA, and in particular, testosterone's the key player in male hormonal health and balance.

What causes declining hormones? 

Andropause, a decline in male hormones is a result of getting older, and hormonal imbalance. A man in his prime makes 95% of his testosterone in testicles, and the balance is supplied by the adrenal glands, in response to signals from the brain. By the time he is in his 40's the signal to "make more testosterone" grows weaker, by about 1% per year. As the total hormone supply diminishes, the very core of maleness, virility, stamina and drive is affected.

Complicating Factors 

Hormone imbalances, other that testosterone, can add to the total problem. For example:

An excess of estrogen:

  • Increases SHBG proteins that bind-up available testosterone.
  • Activates an enzyme in fat cells that converts testosterone into more estrogen 
An excess of cortisol (stress hormones):
  • Inhibits testosterone/DHEA
  • Breaks down bone and muscle
  • Blocks thyroid function
  • Zaps sex drive 
SHBG is a key player in the "Who Stole the Testosterone " mystery, since it "grabs" the hormone and runs, and seems reluctant to part with it. The more SHBG, the less free, active "bio-available" testosterone can get out of the blood and into the cells to do it job. "The Testosterone Revolution".

How can I find out if I'm in Andropause? 

As the hormones diminish, one of the first thing a man notices is a subtle loss of strength and energy. The challenge of work, competition, and exercise lose their enjoyment. Fatigue sets in almost without cause, and the only desirable bedroom activity is a good night's sleep. If this is happening to you, you may be entering "The Andropause Zone." Working together with your physician and pharmacist you need to determine and document your symptoms, and test your hormone levels.

Hormone level testing is available as Saliva, Blood Serum, and Blood Spot; according to your symptoms. All three, saliva, blood serum , and blood spot testing provide a basic index of your Andropause status.

Testing hormones is so important. When a physician... sees how much a man's testosterone drops at midlife or his estrogen levels go up and compares these hormonal changes with changes in energy, mood, sex drive and or symptoms of ill health... he really has something to work with. The Testosterone Syndrome, Eugene Shippen , M.D.

What are the symptoms of Andropause?

  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Headaches
  • Depressed
  • Anxious
  • Nervous
  • Apathy
  • Decreased libido
  • Decreased Stamina
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Prostate problems
  • Decreased urine flow
  • Increased urinary urge
  • Premature aging
  • Thinning/sagging skin
  • Insulin resistance
  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Mood swings
  • Stress
  • Abdominal fat
  • Decreased strength
  • Decreased mental sharpness
  • Elevated triglycerides
  • Bone loss
  • Decreased muscle mass
  • Memory lapses
  • Decreased beard
  • Thinning hair
  • Breast enlargement
  • Irritable 

Andropause profile: Low Testosterone/High Estrogen

Estrogen is not just for females, males need it too, in smaller amounts, to regulate brain and sexual functions. In andropause, estrogen can overtake (waning) testosterone, complicating symptoms and raising the risk of prostate cancer. Restoring natural hormone balance can reverse this profile.

Men and Osteoporosis

"Real men get osteoporosis - Roughly 1/3 of all hip fractures occur in men. By about 55, men face almost the same risk for osteoporosis as menopausal women." Arch Intern Med, 2003.

How can I balance my hormones in Andropause?

As normal aging causes a decline in androgen action. The speed of this decline has a lot to do with lifestyle. The bottom line is hormonal system balance. By taking the following steps you can restore and maintain your hormonal system balance, and the zest for living will return.

Work with your physician and pharmacist:
  • To monitor hormone levels
  • To provide needed supplements, request "bio-identical," natural hormones that are familiar to the body 
Lifestyle steps you can do for yourself:

  • Reduce testosterone robbers: caffeine, alcohol, sugars
  • Counteract chronic stress with exercise
  • Boost testosterone with weight-bearing workouts
  • Go for organic, hormone-free foods and vitamins. minerals with adequate zinc
  • Hit the sack earlier
  • Make time for fun and relaxation!
Potential Compounding Areas

  • Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) - Testosterone Therapy
  • Thyroid Dysfunction

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Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement (Andropause) - for Men
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