Andropause: What It Is and How to Treat It | Reader’s Digest

Posted: March 3, 2020 at 4:41 pm

"Male menopause" doesn't always need a fix. Here's how to know if your symptoms are due to changing hormones as you age.

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Even if you havent heard the term andropause before, you probably know what it is. Thats because medical marketers use another, more popular term for the condition: Low-T or low testosterone. Cant blame them: It sounds far more fun and as if theres an easy solution.

Essentially, andropause is male menopause. Its not exactly the same thing as menopause, which occurs in females who are, on average, 51 years old. Thats when women go through hormonal changes in which the ovaries stop making estrogen, stopping the menstrual cycle. Men, on the other hand, have a rather gradual decline in testosterone levels that naturally happens with age. After age 40, testosterone levels decrease about 1 to 2 percent every year, according to Harvard Medical School.

Many guys are totally fine as testosterone begins to dip. Others might notice symptoms, like lack of sexual desire, erectile dysfunction, problems sleeping, losing muscle and gaining fat, depression, or memory problems, says the American Urological Association (AUA). They point out that there are so many other explanations for the above symptoms that go beyond lower testosterone levels, so its always important to have a very thorough chat with your doctor before assuming you need to be treated.If your sex drive is the issue, check out thesenatural ways to boost your libido.

First, ask yourself if your symptoms might be the result of another problem like poor blood circulation, heart troubles, or even digestive issues. Your doc will want to give you an exam and a blood test. According to the AUA, male menopauseLow-Tis a score of below 300 nanograms of testosterone (per deciliter of blood). Just about 2 percent of men may have what the AUA considers testosterone deficiency. The numbers are low enough that Low-T makes the list of conditions people think they havebut probably dont.

If you have diagnosed Low-T and you have some of the symptomsand they cant be traced to another conditionthen your doc may recommend testosterone therapy to bump up your levels. The delivery methodsinclude via skin patch, topical gel, oral tablets, skin implants, or injections. As Harvard points out, the results are pretty quick: Symptoms begin to subside and you start to feel like more of your vital self again within four to six weeks.

Unlike the implications in ads for low-T therapy, not all men need to be on testosterone replacement therapy. Its also a controversial treatment that comes with real risks, like sleep apnea, acne, breast enlargement, decrease in sperm production, and blood clots, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you have prostate cancer, the treatment can also fuel cancer growth. Thats why its not something to take lightly or be looked at as a quick fix.

Whats tricky about testosterone is anyone, no matter what their testosterone starts at, will feel better when you put them on testosterone. That doesnt mean that everybody should be on testosterone and I think thats a real challenge, mens health expert James Hotaling, MD, at the University of Utah, said in an interview with University of Utah Health Sciences Radio.

Testosterone isnt the only solution: Its key that you stay on top of your health. Men are more likely to have Low-T if theyre overweight or have diabetes. Beyond staying at a healthy weight, you should also get exerciseespecially focusing in on strength work to build and maintain muscleand eat well, two things that can also improve mood problems. Seeing a therapist can also help with anxiety, depression, stress, or anger. If youre curious about testosterone and male menopause, here are the 10 questions you should ask your doctor.

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Andropause: What It Is and How to Treat It | Reader's Digest

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