Andropause occurs with age-related hormone changes in men, specifically a drop in the production of the hormone testosterone. The mainstream US medical community has only recently started to recognize this condition that affects about 25 million men between the ages of 40 and 55. However it continues to be under diagnosed. If you are a male in this age group, you may recognize one or more of these common symptoms such as: irritability, depression, memory loss, insomnia, night sweats, erectile dysfunction, loss of libido, decreased strength and muscle mass and weight gain, especially around the belly. And if that’s not enough, you may look in the mirror and find that you have developed the dreaded Gynecomastia, also known as man boobs!
Until now, these symptoms have been written off as “just a part of aging” and have continued to go untreated. According to the Journal of Clinical Practice, nearly 40% of men over 45 are affected by low testosterone. At about age 30, testosterone production begins to drop and it continues to decrease at the rate of approximately 1% per year. As testosterone drops, inflammation increases as well as body fat, both causing an increased risk of diabetes and other chronic disease. Optimal amounts of testosterone are vital to a man’s health and well-being. At healthy levels, testosterone is recognized as being cardio-protective and effective in staving off other hormone shifts a man may experience such as elevated cortisol and hypothyroidism.
I strongly encourage my patients to proactively address their symptoms in order to better embrace this time in their lives and to lower their risk of disease. There are a number of treatment options available involving diet, exercise, and getting adequate amounts of sleep. In addition, many men have great success with natural hormone replacement therapy.