What is Andropause?
We know what women experience as they age. At about age 45 or older a woman starts menopause. But men are also vulnerable to changes later in life, and often what men experience, mirrors what women go through, except for the woman’s monthly cycle. When a man reaches about 50 years of age, he will start to see changes in his body as well as emotionally. What a man goes through is called, Andropause.
The major hormone in a man’s body is testosterone. Testosterone declines about 1 to 5 percent a year, and by age 70 a man only has about 20% of what he started with at age 20.
Today, it has been widely accepted by the medical community that males encounter Andropause.
Symptoms of Andropause:
There are several signs or symptoms a man will notice when Andropause occurs. They are:
Decline in energy levels
He will notice a general decline in energy levels. Men, who have testosterone levels that dip too low, often report feeling fatigued and weak. However, there are other health problems that can cause these symptoms, so it’s important for a man not to ignore warnings his body is giving him.
Feeling depressed or down
He may also notice feeling depressed or down. Testosterone is the main hormone responsible for libido in both men and women. When a man’s levels are too low, his desire for sex may decrease.
Changes in sleep patterns
He may also notice a change in sleep patterns. This can occur in a few different ways, either he may sleep less and have to deal with insomnia or feel more tired and sleep more.
There will also be some physical changes. For example, he may put on more body fat and see a decline in muscle tissue. He may also notice his hair thinning and possibly falling out.
Gynecomastia is another physical sign of low testosterone levels. Gynecomastia is the increase in male breast tissue sometimes referred to as “man boobs”. With this increase in male breast tissue, there may be swelling and tenderness in the chest at times.
Some men have even report experiencing hot flashes, though this isn’t a common symptom for men.
Some of the symptoms caused by lowering testosterone levels could be due to more serious health problems. This is why it is important to consult with a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis.
The doctor is more than likely to order some tests from a blood draw. The testosterone levels will need to be measured to see if they are in the normal range for the man’s age at the time of the doctor’s visit. The doctor may also have other tests done to rule out any other medical conditions that could be causing the man’s problems.
Treatment for Andropause
1. Testosterone Therapy
There is hormone replacement therapy. Some men who participate in testosterone replacement do get relief from their symptoms. This is especially true if he’s middle-aged. But as he gets older, the benefits of this type of therapy seem to decrease.
Testosterone therapy carries some risks with it. For example, men who undergo replacement therapy have an increased risk of prostate cancer, and cardiac failure. If a man has a family history of these illnesses, this may not be the best option for him.
There are natural options to boost testosterone levels other than synthetic medications.
2. Raising Testosterone Levels Naturally
As a man, if you’re not sure whether hormone replacement therapy is right for you or not, then it’s important to consider some natural alternatives that can help you to feel better as you age. There are several considerations that help to boost testosterone without medication.
Vitamin-A increases the production of testosterone, and as reported by the Weston A. Price Foundation, it also decreases estrogen production in the male testes.
Eating plenty of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower, will provide all the A you need. Other cruciferous vegetables to include are Brussels sprouts, bok choy, radishes, turnips, collard greens, and kale.
Vitamin B-5 plays its role in the formation of testosterone. It also helps the body fight stress and increases overall physical endurance. Vitamin B-5 deficiency can include numbness, insomnia, depression, restlessness and lower sex drive. Good food sources with vitamin B-5 includes eggs, beans, beef, broccoli, whole grains, nuts and poultry.
A lack of vitamin B-6 has been linked with an increase in prostate cancer. Foods to consume that are rich in vitamin B-6 include whole grains, vegetables and nuts.
Avoid stress as much as possible. Too much stress can increase cortisol levels and decrease testosterone. Vitamin C has been shown to lower cortisol levels allowing the body to make more Testosterone.
The best way to get more vitamin-C is eat plenty of berries, garlic, and citric fruits, like oranges, and grapefruit. If you want to take a vitamin-C supplement, a 120 mg per day supplement is recommended. It is advisable not to rely on a vitamin-C supplement solely, eat more natural fruits.
Vitamin-E can prevent erectile dysfunction. This vitamin helps to circulate the blood and the increase of testosterone. Foods rich in vitamin E- are beans, seeds, nuts, spinach, asparagus, peas, olives, and avocados. Include in your diet both avocado oil, and olive oil; both are rich in vitamin-E.
Zinc and Magnesium
Zinc is a critical mineral for producing testosterone in the body. If there is a deficiency of zinc or the levels are too low, this will prevents the pituitary gland from releasing the hormones that aid in testosterone production. Foods that are rich in zinc are raw oysters, cheese, turkey and brown rice. If taking a zinc supplement, be sure it is at least 15 mgs a day.
A study published in 2011 in “Biological Trace Element Research,” magnesium may play an important role in testosterone production. The study reported that supplementation with magnesium (400 mgs daily) was able to increase total free testosterone in both athletes and sedentary individuals, although athletes saw greater increases.
– Ginseng is a supplement that’s been used in Eastern medicine for centuries. This is a supplement made specifically to help the body stay balanced. This includes hormone balance and can help you feel re-energized.
– Horny goat weed is another herbal supplement that is known for success. This can be used to improve your testosterone levels and to improve your sex drive.
In addition to these herbs, there are several herbal formulas in the market specifically created to support a man’s healthy hormonal balance. These are generally a combination of herbs to boost testosterone production and balance out estrogen hormones. Talk with your healthcare provider before trying any new supplements.
Products to Avoid
– Avoid products that can actually mimic female hormones in the body. Eating a diet high in soy can actually cause testosterone levels to go down and that’s because soy is high in estrogen.
– Another product to avoid is xenoestrogen, which are found in plastics, soaps, lotions, and household cleaners. Read more here about How to Avoid Exposure to Xenoestrogen.
With a healthy lifestyle of eating the right foods, medical support and taking supplements, you can lessen the impact of Andropause.