Women are known for going through menopause at a certain age, but men may experience it, too. And it’s got its own name: andropause.
In this article:
- What Is Andropause?
- What Is the Difference Between Menopause and Andropause?
- What Causes Andropause?
- When Does Andropause Start?
- When Does Andropause End?
- Who Is at Risk for Early Andropause?
- What Conditions Potentially Arise From Andropause?
- How Is Andropause Diagnosed?
- How Is Andropause Treated or Managed?
- Where Can You Get Medical Advice and Treatment for Andropause and Other Male Hormone Deficiency Issues?
Male Menopause: All You Need to Know About Andropause
What Is Andropause?
Unlike females who are expected to go through menopause at a certain age, males do not have a similarly defined period. But men do experience similar symptoms as testosterone levels begin to decline with age.
Andropause is the slow decrease of testosterone men experience. Whereas with women, where hormone production stops completely with menopause, testosterone production simply slows down with andropause.
A healthy human male’s testes may be able to produce sperm into his 80’s. But changes in the testes may manifest as early as the mid-40s to early 50s, and decrease even more dramatically after 70s.
What Is the Difference Between Menopause and Andropause?
While andropause is commonly considered the male menopause, there are huge differences between andropause and menopause. For starters, menopause comes as a part of the natural aging process for women, but andropause may spare some older men.
Studies state that when morning testosterone measurements dip to below 300 ng/dL, this is considered low. But doctors note that patients in their 30s can have 150 ng/dL, long before andropause is supposed to set in, while patients in their 80s can have levels as high as 600 ng/dL.
Menopause also has the tendency to set in quickly. On the other hand, andropause can take decades to develop and resolve.
Because of this, andropause if often called “late-onset hypogonadism” or “androgen deficiency of the aging male”.
What Causes Andropause?
Andropause is caused by a decline in testosterone due to advancing age, or other factors like an unhealthy lifestyle or long-term health condition.
Testosterone, more commonly known as the male hormone, is produced in the adrenal gland and testes. It accounts for the unique characteristics that make up a man’s body.
Testosterone builds protein and drives sexual behavior, as well as erections. It is also responsible for a man’s metabolism, bone marrow blood cell production, and many other functions.
As a man reaches the age of 30, levels of testosterone will start to drop by 10% per decade. This hormone deficiency may be exacerbated by other factors, such as an unhealthy lifestyle, smoking, lack of exercise, and high cholesterol levels.
When Does Andropause Start?
Symptoms of andropause may manifest as early as 45 years of age. The symptoms may include:
- Reduction of sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Swollen breast tissue
- Memory loss
- Loss of bodily hair
- Reduced muscle mass
- Decrease in bone density
When Does Andropause End?
The symptoms of andropause may not be as severe as menopause. But andropause symptoms can last up to 15-20 years from when they first manifest.
Who Is at Risk for Early Andropause?
The effects of hormone deficiency in males while aging is almost universal. However, decline rates are not uniform and may be faster or slower in others, depending on genetics, lifestyle, and certain medical conditions.
Men who smoke, have high cholesterol, and don’t get enough exercise may be a risk for early andropause. Those with chronic hormonal conditions like hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism may also experience andropause earlier than others.
What Conditions Potentially Arise From Andropause?
Besides plunging testosterone levels, there may be much to worry about andropause as well.
Andropause can drastically lower libido and sperm count, which may also lead to a reduction in sexual drive and self-confidence. Lower testosterone may also account for mood swings and bouts of depression and low energy.
Low bone density and osteoporosis may also come as a result of andropause. These can lead to bones getting broken or fractured more easily.
How Is Andropause Diagnosed?
- First, a visit to a primary care physician will be in order.
- Patients will also have to undergo a physical exam. Interview and examination of symptoms and current lifestyle habits will also be conducted.
- The doctor will then have to order tests so that any pre-existing or suspected medical conditions can be ruled out.
- Finally, the doctor will order blood tests to measure hormone levels.
Below normal results may indicate andropause but they will not be conclusive until they have been analyzed together with previous tests and assessments.
How Is Andropause Treated or Managed?
Lifestyle Change or Adjustment
A simple lifestyle change may help deal and manage with symptoms of andropause. Your doctor may adjust the dosage of medications you’re taking and recommend more holistic lifestyle choices.
Regular exercise is highly recommended. This helps deal with the low bone density, loss of muscle mass, weight gain, and mood disorder that comes with andropause.
Eating a healthy diet can help promote a healthier weight. Cutting out smoking, alcohol, simple carbohydrates, and red meat may also help immensely.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy
In some cases, patients undergoing a massive decrease in testosterone levels may choose to undergo testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). It is the foremost treatment for declining testosterone levels.
TRT can help improve erectile dysfunction and libido, as well as recover muscle mass and bone density. Therapy options for testosterone replacement therapy may come in the form of skin patches, oral capsules, creams, gels, or injections.
Where Can You Get Medical Advice and Treatment for Andropause and Other Male Hormone Deficiency Issues?
You can seek a Urologist for andropause symptoms treatment, or talk to your primary care physician to point you in the right direction. Our trained and experienced medical professionals at Midwest Urological Group can treat patients in Peoria, IL, and surrounding areas.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment for andropause symptoms evaluation and treatment in Peoria, IL call Midwest Urological Group at (309) 692-9898.
Andropause may sound alarming as it isn’t as commonly mentioned the same way that menopause is. But decreasing hormone levels is a reality in all people as they age, which is why it should be treated with as much awareness as menopause.
If you suspect you are experiencing andropause or any of the symptoms mentioned above, pay your doctor a visit. Your doctor should be able to help you address your concerns, identify the cause of your symptoms, and offer advice and resolutions.