Straight, No Chaser: Male Menopause (aka Andropause)

Andropause

Manopause?  Male Menopause? Yes, andropause is a thing (at least according to many medical authorities). Most of us are roughly familiar with menopause. You may or may not be surprised to discover that men suffer through similar age-related changes called andropause.

With both sexes, changes are related to diminishing sex hormones. In the example of women, it’s estrogen and progesterone. With men, it’s testosterone. One big difference between the male and female experiences is lower testosterone levels don’t prevent men from still being able to have kids. Men can have kids into their 90s.

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So the logical question to ask would be is this just the same as low testosterone? Well, not exactly. It’s the confluence of several problems men face with aging, including low testosterone, obesity, diabetes and depression (in those with these conditions). In particular, obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes seem to be particular risk factors. The fortunate news is this complex doesn’t occur universally and can be delayed with certain actions.

So what are you to do? For starters, know the symptoms and know when to ask for help. Here are symptoms commonly associated with andropause.

  1. Depression
  2. Difficulty sleeping
  3. Increased body fat, particularly in the midsection
  4. Irritability
  5. Less desire for physical activity
  6. Less energy
  7. Less erections or less strong erections
  8. Less mental sharpness and quickness
  9. Loss of armpit or genital hair
  10. Loss of confidence
  11. Loss of interest in regular activities
  12. Loss of libido
  13. Night sweats
  14. Reduced muscle mass
  15. Social withdrawal
  16. Swollen breasts

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It’s important to get evaluated for these issues because even if these aren’t attributable to andropause, other causes can be even more serious. Examples of conditions that can cause these same symptoms include depression, drug and alcohol abuse, infections, heart disease, poor nutrition, stress and thyroid disease.

When you begin to develop these symptoms, you may discover that diet, exercise and weight control are important in relieving symptoms and slowing the progression of symptoms. Your physician likely will advise the same. In many cases, treating low testosterone is another important component of management. The next few Straight, No Chaser posts will discuss these additional considerations.

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Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

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