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Andropause

Man thinkingMen’s Hormones and Andropause

Andropause, also known as man-o-pause and male menopause, is a condition caused by the slow decline of testosterone levels in men as they grow older.  Unlike menopause – which is more of a sudden stop to hormone production – andropause results in a gradual loss of testosterone over many years.  It is not as well-known as menopause and is severely underdiagnosed and undertreated, despite being a serious condition.

Starting around age 30, men begin to produce less testosterone and their levels start to slowly decline.  The amount lost differs amongst individuals, but this loss is typically 1% per year, though in some cases it may be as high as 3% per year.  Some men are at higher risk because they are exposed to more estrogen than normal, which can result in lower testosterone levels, meaning this gradual decline will push their hormone levels into dangerously low levels sooner than normal. 

There is some debate over whether andropause is even a disorder in itself, as it does not mimic menopause despite sharing the same condition of a lack of important hormones.  However, whether the title of andropause is accurate or not, the decline in testosterone as men age is very real, and is a serious issue that should be treated with the severity it deserves – low testosterone can result in life threatening conditions if left untreated.

Men's Therapy Program

Low Testosterone and Hormone Replacement Therapy

We offer hormone replacement therapy programs for men suffering from andropause. If you feel you may suffer from andropause, we can help. Get in contact with us for more information.

Causes

Andropause typically is the result of aging and the gradual loss of testosterone that is associated with it.  However, there are some factors that may increase the risk of developing andropause. 

Poor diet, excessive use of alcohol, certain medications, lack of sleep, lack of sex, chronic stress, and surgery or illness are all factors that increase the risk of developing andropause sooner than normal.  Additionally, men who are exposed to increased amounts of female hormones because of work or other reasons may also be at increased risk.  Men who work with pharmaceuticals, plastics, or pesticides may have a higher chance of developing andropause early.

Men can experience lower testosterone production as a natural side effect of aging. However, the change in testosterone production can also be caused by a condition called hypogonadism which could mean a problem with the testicles or the pituitary gland. Aging men who experience symptoms of depression, fatigue, or sexual problems may be experiencing a decrease in testosterone production and should seek out a doctor for a diagnosis to receive the correct treatment.

Symptoms

  • Mood swings
  • Sudden weight gain or muscle loss
  • Difficulty remembering things, focusing, or concentrating
  • Reduced or absent sex drive
  • Loss of hair
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Night sweats
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Development of breasts
  • Hot flashes

 

Doctor with clipboardTreatment Options

Andropause is associated with low testosterone, so treatments that increase testosterone levels may provide relief from andropause and its symptoms.  Professional hormone replacement therapy is a good choice when looking to improve your hormone levels, as it is supervised by medical professionals who can routinely measure your hormone levels and prescribe differing amounts of testosterone based on your needs.

Ignoring andropause may be dangerous, as living with low testosterone may increase your risk of developing heart disease or diabetes.  Hormone replacement therapy can be used to treat it, or used proactively to prevent andropause from occurring.  It is important to not simply pass off the symptoms as a normal sign of growing older, as the risks of living with low testosterone could greatly reduce the quality of your life and could potentially end it.

Testosterone Injections

Testosterone injections given into a muscle are one way to receive testosterone. You or a family member can learn to give these shots at home. If you are not confident in giving yourself an injection, then seeking out a nurse or doctor is also an option. Aveed (Testosterone Undecanoate) is a TRT injection which is taken less frequently than testosterone injections but must be given by a healthcare provider and may have serious risks.

Androderm Patch

Androderm is a patch that can be placed on the body nightly to provide testosterone. Gels such as AndroGel, Testim, Axiron, and Fortesta can also provide testosterone.

Gels

Gels present unique conditions that must be observed. With a gel you should not bathe within few hours after to ensure maximum absorption. Contact with other people should be avoided as well since you could transfer the medication by touch.

Buccal Medication

Some medications, such as Striant, are absorbed into the bloodstream by allowing the medication to melt in the mouth by holding the medication between your gum-line and cheek.

Causes:

  • Certain forms of medications
  • Poor diet
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Illness
  • Lack of sleep
  • Lack of sex
  • Stress
  • Surgery
  • Hypogonadism
  • Diabetes

Tests and Diagnosis:

  • Physical exam
  • Blood tests, which may include measuring testosterone level
  • Other tests, to rule out medical problems that may be contributing to the condition

Complications:

Complications may arise if men start Testosterone Replacement Therapy

  • Risk of heart attack
  • Prostate growth
  • Fluid retention
  • Liver toxicity
  • Problems with fertility
  • Sleep apnea
  • Tender breasts or enlargement of breasts

Lifestyle and Home Remedies:

  • Diet
  • Exercise program
  • Medications, such as an antidepressant

Tests and Diagnosis

  • Physical exam
  • Blood tests, which may include measuring testosterone level
  • Other tests, to rule out medical problems that may be contributing to the condition

Treatments:

  • Testosterone Replacement Therapy