Just like women, men also experience hormonal fluctuations as they age. In women, age related hormonal fluctuations is known as menopause. Further, while it is not commonly known, men can undergo a menopause like experience. This experience, or phenomenon, is known as andropause, or “male menopause”.
Generally, in older men, testosterone levels slowly start declining. Testosterone is responsible for regulating sex drive (libido), initiating physical changes during puberty, contributing to mental and physical energy, maintaining muscle mass, bone mass and strength and helps to produce red blood cells.
There are key differences between menopause and andropause. First, many men do not experience andropause. Second, menopause leads to infertility but andropause, on the other hand, may not lead to infertility. However, a key similarity between menopause and andropause is that sexual complications can arise from both, as both involve a lowering of hormone levels.
Andropause can cause physical, sexual, and psychological symptoms. These symptoms can include but are not limited to, low energy, sadness, or depression, decreased motivation, lowered self-confidence, difficulty concentrating, difficulty sleeping, increased body fat, reduced muscle mass, physical weakness, development of breasts, decreased bone density, erectile dysfunction, reduced libido, and infertility.
There are many lifestyle factors that contribute to the onset and progression of andropause. These factors include poor sleep, an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, poor self-esteem, and a lack of social connectedness.
Fortunately, it’s possible to prevent the onset of andropause and slow or even reverse its progression. This can be done by improving one’s lifestyle, diet and supplementing with vitamins, minerals, and botanicals.
It is important to remember that it is normal for testosterone levels to decline as you age. For many men, the symptoms can be managed without treatment. However, if you are experiencing symptoms and struggling, you can speak to your doctor.
Naturopathic doctors have extensive training in lab work, which includes blood work, prescribing supplements and botanicals, and recommending lifestyle modifications. As a result, Naturopathic doctors can help you address symptoms related to andropause.
Contact the Sage clinic for a free 15-minute discovery call to speak with one of our Naturopathic doctors.
Dr. Sanam Arora, ND