Andropause, sometimes referred to as ‘the male menopause’ occurs as testosterone levels decline with age. Although this happens naturally in men from the age of 30 onwards, it can lead to some troubling symptoms if your testosterone dips below a certain level. To complicate matters, this level is different for each man! These fluctuations in individual hormone balance mean that it’s important for you to get to know your own hormones, and pay close attention to any changes in physical or mental symptoms. Keep reading to find out more about the signs of andropause, how they might affect you…
What are the symptoms of andropause?
The ‘male menopause’ typically affects men at the same age that menopause affects women. It often causes physical, sexual, and psychological problems as there are a variety of symptoms that accompany fluctuations in testosterone levels. Some of the primary indicators of a hormone imbalance in men include fatigue, erectile dysfunction and low sex drive, as well as mood swings, decreased muscle and bone mass, or weight gain.
There have been lots of different suggestions as to what causes andropause – unlike menopause (which affects all women to some degree), it’s not something every man will necessarily experience, and symptoms may be exacerbated or caused entirely by external factors such as stress and anxiety. It’s approximated that around 30% of men in their 50s will experience some symptoms of andropause.
What causes andropause?
Potential causes of andropause are wide ranging, and can include psychological problems (as we mentioned earlier), or issues such as a lack of sleep, consistently poor diet, not doing enough exercise, or drinking too much.
In some cases, a drop in testosterone levels could also be a secondary symptom of other health conditions. One such condition is late-onset hypogonadism, in which the testes produce few or no hormones (sometimes this condition can be present from birth, but if this is the case it’s generally spotted well before middle age). Hypogonadism can occasionally develop later in life, in particular in men who are obese or are suffering with type-2 diabetes. However – this is a specific medical condition, and not a normal part of aging.
“If you’re noticing you’re around middle age, and you’re noticing some troubling symptoms, it might be a sign of andropause. It’s worth visiting a doctor to check on your hormone levels. We often see that men might feel embarrassed or self-conscious about going to a doctor with these kinds of issues, but they’re totally normal, and you shouldn’t have to suffer in silence.”
Dr Haleema Sheikh, Marion Gluck Clinic
Andropause and BHRT
If you are suffering with some inexplicable symptoms, and you think it might be related to a hormonal imbalance – we can help. At the Marion Gluck Clinic, you’ll undergo a consultation in which we’ll get a full picture of your health and medical history (in order to make sure our treatment is tailored to you). After this, we will use BHRT (either with or without DHEA), to help get your testosterone levels back under control, and get you back to your happiest, healthiest self! We also recommend that our patients take a look at some of their lifestyle choices – proper nutrition, rest, stress management, and exercise can also all play a part in keeping your testosterone levels healthy.
It is important to note that some of the symptoms that are associated with andropause are a normal part of aging – they may not necessarily be reversible or treatable. However, if you’re really struggling, and you feel that your day to day life has been affected, it’s a good idea to seek treatment.
If you want to learn more about the signs of andropause and how it can be treated, check out our Happy Hormones podcast. If you’d like to book a consultation to talk about your hormone health or to discuss any signs of andropause, please get in touch with us. We’ll be happy to help.