Sangeeta Pati, MD, FACOG
Andropause: Hormone Imbalance In Men
Although, the male andropause has not been widely recognized, increased medical research has turned attention to the gradual hormone decline in males which generally presents with symptoms in the mid 40’s to 50’s. A recent World Health Organization (WHO) report, states that the male hormone, testosterone, drops about 10 percent every decade starting around age 30. It is estimated that by age 50, 30 percent of men have testosterone levels low enough to cause symptoms and put them at risk.
Hormonal decline is not limited to just testosterone. Other natural hormonal levels can be deficient in Andropause. These hormones can include Human Growth Hormone (HGH or IGF-1), DHEA, thyroid hormone, melatonin and others. Although, declining hormones are a normal part of aging, they are accompanied by a gradual and undesired decline in sexuality, mood and overall energy. Declining hormones also increase the risk of more serious medical conditions (such as cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis).
Similar to Menopause in women, Andropause in males begins at a time when life often offers some of its greatest rewards. This article has been designed to arm you with information about Andropause – what causes it, how to diagnose it and what you can do to maintain a healthy and active quality of life throughout your middle years.
What are the symptoms?
Unlike the female body going through menopause, testosterone decline in men is a gradual process with symptoms appearing in the mid 40’s to 50’s. Testosterone production drops about 10% every decade starting around age 30. By age 50, 30% of men have testosterone levels low enough to cause symptoms and put them at risk for degenerative disease. We are even seeing younger males with low testosterone from increased stress and nutritional deficiencies. Symptoms of andropause include:
- Performance Problems – gradual decrease in sexuality, mood, hair production, and overall energy.
- Degenerative Diseases – increase risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis.
- Low Sense of Well-Being – questioning of values, accomplishments, and direction in life; depression and irritability.
What are the risks?
Since all cells in the body have receptors for hormones, declining hormones are a major contributor to deterioration of the brain, muscle, skin, bone, joints, vessels, heart and the quality of Life. Each hormone has specific roles in the normal bodily functions. Specifically, testosterone builds protein and is essential for normal sexual behavior and producing erections. Additionally, each hormone affects numerous metabolic activities such as the production of blood cells in the bone marrow, bone formation, lipid metabolism, carbohydrate metabolism, liver function, brain function, prostate gland growth. Therefore, in addition to the symptoms described, declining hormones increase the risk of deterioration of organs, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.
Andropause and Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is not just a disease of women. In men, Lifestyle, nutrition and hormones such as testosterone and growth hormone play critical roles in the maintenance of bones. As these declines, between the ages of 40 and 70 years, male bone density falls by up to 15 percent. What is more, approximately one in eight men over age 50 actually have osteoporosis, increasing fractures of the hip, wrist and spine. Therefore, the incidence of hip fractures rises exponentially in ageing men, as it does in women, but starting about 5 to 10 years later. After a hip fracture, up to one third of patients never regain full mobility.
Andropause and Cardiovascular risk
It is now well accepted that women’s risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and cardiac events increases after menopause, New evidence suggests that a similar phenomenon occurs in men as their testosterone levels diminish with age. Research thus far point to a strong association between low testosterone levels and an increase in cardiovascular risk in men.
How do you know if you are in Andropause?
Although, Andropause was first described in medical literature in the 1940’s, it is generally under diagnosed and under treated since sensitive tests are new. Under diagnosis is also due to often vague symptoms which can vary a lot among individuals. Some men find it difficult to admit that there’s even a problem. And often physicians do not think of low hormone levels as a possible culprit, attributing symptoms to medical conditions and normal aging. Accurate diagnosis and treatment requires a thorough clinical history, physical evaluation and lab work to measure hormone levels.
What Are my Options?
You could obviously accept the natural decline of testosterone as you age, or you could explore all your options to optimize your quality of life. Any strategy to reduce the symptoms and risks of andropause should be based on lifestyle approaches, such as optimal diet, regular exercise, nutritional replacement, stress management, and the reduction of tobacco, alcohol, and electromagnetic fields. We suggest using the five-point restorative model to address your unique andropause conditions.
- Measure and optimize hormones. Testosterone levels between 250 to 1100 are considered “normal,” but studies show that men feel their best with levels above 700. Talk to your holistic health provider about hormone replacement therapy for men.
- Measure and optimize nutrition. The most common nutritional deficiencies that affects testosterone levels include magnesium, zinc, and B12. Meet with your doctor to measure your exact nutritional status and discuss supplement options for boosting testosterone.
- Reduce exposure to toxins. To aid in your hormone replacement and nutritional supplements, detox the body to rid yourself of preservatives, plastics, heavy metals, and GMOs. Make sure to support your bowel, liver, and gallbladder functions.
- Balance the mind. Reduce stress, which can cause a drop in testosterone, by simplifying your life and renewing your energy. Try going 12 weeks with minimal commitments.
- Balance the body. Integrate exercise into your daily activities and focus on restorative physical moves with yoga and breathing routines.
What is the role of Viagra/ Cialis in Andropause?
Testosterone replacement therapy works differently from Viagra or Cialis, which act on the penis only to maintain an erection. Testosterone works on the whole body, brain and all aspects of the sexual response including erectile quality and sexual desire.
What are the benefits of hormone replacement (Hormonal Restorative Medicine)?
Clinical studies support the use of exercise, nutritional replacement, testosterone and growth hormone to treat the symptoms and prevent disease. Hormone replacement (Hormonal Restorative Medicine) with testosterone and growth hormone has been shown to significantly improve sexual performance, libido, energy, mood, memory, brain function, heart disease, vessel disease, muscle strength, muscle tone, muscle mass, abdominal fat, bone density and overall sense of well-being. These effects are usually noted within just a few weeks.
What are the risks of hormone replacement (Hormonal Restorative Medicine)?
A 2004 study in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that there were no long-term risks of replacement therapy which aims to restore normal hormone levels. Historically, testosterone use has been associated with aggression and hypersexuality. These effects stem from the use of testosterone by men with normal testosterone levels who took testosterone at doses which were much higher than supplementation doses that are used in men going through Andropause.
There are several conditions in which you should never use testosterone replacement therapy. These include:
- Breast cancer (in males)
- Prostate cancer
In some other cases testosterone replacement therapy may not be right for you. If one of the conditions below is applicable to you, your doctor will decide whether (in your specific case) testosterone replacement therapy is the right solution.
- Liver disease
- Heart or blood vessel disease
- Edema (swelling of face, hands, feet, or lower legs)
- Enlarged prostate
- Kidney disease
- Diabetes mellitus
To help your doctor determine your best treatment plan, you should also discuss the following:
- If you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to androgens or anabolic steroids. If you are an adult male who plans to have children; high doses of androgens may cause infertility.
- If you are bedridden.
- If you are now taking any other prescription or nonprescription (OTC) medicine, especially anticoagulants (blood thinners).
Treatment for Andropause consists of replacing lost hormones with natural hormones that are molecularly equal or bio-identical to those produced naturally within the body. By choosing hormones from sources that are bio-identical to our own bodies naturally produced hormones, one can receive the optimal benefits of therapy while reducing the risks associated with chemical agents.
Women are not the only ones who suffer the effects of changing hormones; many doctors today are recognizing the need to address testosterone decline in males during andropause. It’s important to discuss your options for optimizing your wellbeing as you age to prevent degenerative diseases due to hormone imbalance.
The team at the SaJune Institute for Restorative and Regenerative Medicine is ready to answer any questions or concerns you have about restoring your testosterone levels.
Request an appointment: https://www.sajune.com/book-now/ today to make a huge impact in your health tomorrow.