Female menopause is frequently spoken of. Men also experience depression, loss of sex drive, and erectile dysfunction in their late 40s to early 50s. Male menopause or andropause is characterized by declining testosterone levels in aging men.
These hormonal imbalances lead to increased body fat resulting in a large belly or breasts, irritability, mood swings, lack of enthusiasm and motivation, and difficulty falling asleep, which are also the symptoms of male menopause.1 In addition to low testosterone levels, lack of sleep and exercise, poor diet, alcohol, smoking, low self-esteem can be blamed for these symptoms.
Male Menopause: To Treat Or Not To Treat?
The treatment for male menopause involves testosterone therapy. Although the benefits and risks of this therapy are still uncertain, testosterone therapy is discouraged in older men unless they showed significant symptoms and the levels of testosterone are consistently low. However, regardless of a man’s age, if he is tired all the time, has no strength, is unable to have sex, or has lost his libido, in addition to considerably low testosterone levels, he should go for the treatment.
So, if you are showing only mild symptoms that can be taken care of without a testosterone treatment, save some money and opt out of the treatment. Some of the potential risks of testosterone therapy include:2 3
- Prostate cancer
- Heart diseases
- Sleep Apnea
- Breast enlargement
- Testicles shrink
- Drop in sperm count
- Excess duration of penile erections may occur.
- Water and sodium retention that can result in edema.
Ways To Ease Symptoms Of Male Menopause
To ease the symptoms of male menopause, certain changes in lifestyle can save you the risk of the treatment, unless you have very low testosterone levels.
- Reduce alcohol intake: In addition to increasing the risk of several diseases, excessive alcohol intake can lower the testosterone levels.4 The body releases endorphins when you consume alcohol that can impact the testosterone production. 5
- Exercise: It is the most effective way to boost your testosterone levels. If you are overweight, it is important for you to get some exercise and lose weight to increase the testosterone levels. Intermittent fasting and short intense exercises can boost testosterone.
- Reduce stress: Stress can be one of the major reasons for your low testosterone levels. Lowering your stress levels can help you bring back the levels of testosterone in the body. Meditation and yoga can help you reduce stress, and in turn, reduce cortisol that blocks the effects of testosterone.
- Eat nutritious food: A balanced diet can not only help you maintain your overall health but also regulates the testosterone levels in the body. Zinc and vitamin D can positively influence testosterone levels in men.6 7
- Get enough sleep: Not getting enough sleep and irregular circadian rhythm can be associated with low testosterone levels.8 Getting quality sleep every day can help you regulate testosterone production.
Note: There are conflicting results on whether testosterone therapy is beneficial and if it increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Ensure that you consult your doctor to know what is best for you.
|↑1||The ‘male menopause’. National Health Services.|
|↑2||Is testosterone therapy safe? Take a breath before you take the plunge. Harvard Health Publications.|
|↑3||Swartz J.M; Wright Y.L. MEN’S HORMONES MADE EASY!. Lulu.com, 2015.|
|↑4||Apter, Susanna J., and C. J. Eriksson. “The Effect of Alcohol on Testosterone Concentrations in Alcohol‐Preferring and Non‐Preferring Rat Lines.” Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 27, no. 7 (2003): 1190-1193.|
|↑5||Frias, J., J. M. Torres, M. T. Miranda, E. Ruiz, and E. Ortega. “Effects of acute alcohol intoxication on pituitary–gonadal axis hormones, pituitary–adrenal axis hormones, β-endorphin and prolactin in human adults of both sexes.” Alcohol and Alcoholism 37, no. 2 (2002): 169-173.|
|↑6||Pilz, S., S. Frisch, H. Koertke, J. Kuhn, J. Dreier, B. Obermayer-Pietsch, E. Wehr, and A. Zittermann. “Effect of vitamin D supplementation on testosterone levels in men.” Hormone and Metabolic Research 43, no. 03 (2011): 223-225.|
|↑7||Oluboyo, A. O., R. U. Adijeh, C. C. Onyenekwe, B. O. Oluboyo, T. C. Mbaeri, C. N. Odiegwu, G. O. Chukwuma, and U. F. Onwuasoanya. “Relationship between serum levels of testosterone, zinc and selenium in infertile males attending fertility clinic in Nnewi, south east Nigeria.” African journal of medicine and medical sciences 41 (2012): 51-54.|
|↑8||Wittert, Gary. “The relationship between sleep disorders and testosterone in men.” Asian journal of andrology 16, no. 2 (2014): 262.|