The human body goes through a vast array of changes as it ages. Changes in your hormones are a natural part of the aging process. Unlike the dramatic decline in reproductive hormones that women experience during menopause, the changes in the sex hormones in men have a more gradual decline. What this means is, male menopause is a reality, it simply follows a different path than you may have thought. So, what is male menopause? Here’s some information about what the symptoms are and what to do when it happens.
What is Male Menopause?
When females go through menopause, their ovulation stops and the production of hormones quickly plummet in a fairly quick time period. In males the production of hormones, including testosterone, declines over a longer period of time; in most men, so the end result isn’t always immediately known. The process of declining hormones is known as menopause, so the term male menopause is often used to describe the age related decrease of testosterone levels in men. Medical professionals often use the term testosterone deficiency syndrome, androgen deficiency or andropause when discussing the age related process of hormonal changes in men. It’s important to understand male hormones in order to fully understand what “male menopause” really is. The testosterone levels among men vary and these levels become gradually reduced throughout their adulthood, so older males typically have a lower testosterone level than younger males.
Symptoms of Decreased Testosterone Levels
The only way to diagnose low testosterone levels is with a blood test. Many men may have a low testosterone level, but they do not have any apparent signs of symptoms. Some of the most identifiable symptoms of low testosterone levels may include:
- Physical changes, such as reduced muscle strength and bulk, loss of body hair, increased body fat, less energy and a decrease in bone density. In rare situations, you may experience hot flashes.
- Emotional changes, which may cause a decrease in self-confidence, decrease in motivation, depression and/or difficulty concentrating.
- Disruption in sleeping patterns which may include insomnia or an increase in sleepiness.
- Changes in sexual function, which may include erectile dysfunction, a reduction in sexual desire, a decrease in spontaneous erections, infertility and the testes may become smaller.
It’s extremely important to keep in mind that some of these symptoms may also be due to underlying factors not related to low testosterone. For instance, thyroid problems, depression and the side effects of some medications may display many of the same symptoms. If the symptoms are related to something else, once the condition is treated, the testosterone levels will return to the normal levels.
If you are experiencing symptoms that may be caused by a low level of testosterone, it’s important that you schedule an appointment with your physician, so they can do an examination and evaluate the possible causes for your symptoms as well as explain the treatment options. Although you cannot increase the natural production of testosterone, there are some things you can do, including being honest with your physician. Working with your physician in order to identify and treat health problems is the easiest way to determine what is causing the symptoms and what the best solution to ease the symptoms is. It’s also important to eat a healthy diet and stay physically active; both of which will help to maintain your energy, strength and lean muscle mass as well as improve your sleep and improve your mood. Be wary of supplements that you are unsure about and you shouldn’t take any supplement that has not been proved to be safe and effective for age-related low testosterone.