What is Andropause?
Andropause is associated with a decline in the so called male hormones.
The hallmark of puberty for boys is the sudden increase in testosterone production responsible for secondary male sex characteristics including increase in muscle mass, sexual organ maturation, development of pubic hair, acne, and other features. Increased production of other androgen hormones like growth hormone and DHEA also takes place.
Andropause is Puberty in Reverse
Andropause is sort of puberty in reverse (that’s my definition) where testosterone levels and other androgen hormones decline, but with one important difference. Unlike puberty where there is a rapid rise in hormones, andropause is associated with a slow decline in hormones, so slow in fact, that andropause sneaks up on you. And, then it is on top of you before you know what happened. You wake up one day and say, “What happened to me? How did I get here? I don’t feel the same”. Welcome to andropause. Like a thief in the night, andropause strips you of your youth and vitality.
At first you don’t even notice any signs or symptoms, but eventually, just as sure as the sun is going to rise in the morning, POW! You take that first hit to the body. The initial symptoms can vary from one man to the next, but with the time the symptoms become virtually universal. Besides dying young enough, you cannot escape andropause, but andropause can be managed.
What Are the Symptoms of Andropause?
You may notice that you’re getting love handles around the belly that perhaps once sported a 6-pack. Your libido may wane, and even it doesn’t you may find that you can’t bring your “A” game in terms of sexual performance. You lose muscle strength. Where you once exercised regularly summing up the energy to do a 12 ounce curl even becomes challenging.
You begin to notice some difficulty remembering a name, phone number, or title of a song. You sometimes have to read a sentence or paragraph two or three times, because you’re concentration and focus is not the same.
Your wife, kids, girlfriend, or co-workers ask you if anything is bothering you, because you don’t seem the same. You’re moody. Previous little frustrations and aggravations now ruin your day. You have no motivation and worse yet, you may not care that you have no motivation. You go to a doctor and he tells you’re depressed. He’s right, but the antidepressant you’re prescribed works for a while, but never addresses the root cause of the problem. You are testosterone deficient and you suffer from andropause.
What Can I Do About Andropause?
There are effective treatments for andropause. It’s essential to be fully evaluated by a doctor to rule out other possibilities that can cause the symptoms discussed above. Blood work should be done, including a measurement of your hormone levels. If your testosterone levels are low testosterone replacement should be considered.
What follows is IMPORTANT! You can have “normal” hormone levels and still be suffering from andropause. Some men require hormone levels in the upper aspect of the normal range while others can function quite well with levels in the lower part of the normal range. It seems reasonable if you suffer many symptoms of andropause with hormone levels in the low to mid normal range to consider a trial of hormone replacement.
This normally includes testosterone and DHEA (DHEA levels decline significantly in most men and women with aging). Ask your doctor to consider this if he says, “Well, it’s not your hormones, because your levels are normal”. Politely say, “Well doc, my body says otherwise”. Don’t let anybody tell you how you feel.
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