Andropause or Male Menopause, a hidden epidemic that effects men at midlife.
It is both scientifically documented and socially accepted that when a woman reaches her mid 40’s to 50’s, she will experience a “change of life” or menopause. But did you know that mid-life can also affect men? This article explores the condition known as Andropause.
Can you imagine what it would be like to suffer from a hormone deficiency and have no one to talk to about it? What if this condition lead you to suffer from fatigue, anxiety and depression, your muscles lost tone and strength and turned to fat, you put on weight and your libido and sexual function went out the window?
Worse still, it affected your work performance, changed your relationships with your family and friends and left you in a state of utter confusion and despair.
Although these symptoms may sound extreme, Andropause (male menopause) affects every male over the age of 40 to varying degrees, and up until a decade ago, there was considerable debate as to whether it even existed. Colloquially, men experience a midlife crisis and may eventually develop “grumpy old man” syndrome. These somewhat derogative notions are well entrenched in our understanding of male behaviour. Now at last, we have a medical condition to make sense of it all.
Andropause is an androgen (testosterone) deficiency. Testosterone peaks at 20 and is relatively stable until 40, it then begins to decline at about 1% to 2% per year. Unlike menopause which leads to a sudden withdrawal of progesterone and a steep decline in estrogen, testosterone tapers off more gradually but its affects are profound.
There is a huge lack of awareness of this condition. If a man does seek help from his Doctor he will be given a blood test for “total testosterone” and the results of this test will invariably come back indicating that his testosterone levels are fine. This is because Andropause causes more of a man’s testosterone to be bound to Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) which is not available for use in the body.
The blood test merely shows that there is plenty of testosterone. However, only “free testosterone” which is not bound to SHBG is available for use in the body, therefore “free testosterone” is the only effective marker of Andropause. When screened for “free bioavailable testosterone” a man with these symptoms will typiÂcally show a testosterone deficiency.
In the past Doctors have been reluctant to screen for “free testosterone” because the early tests were not very accurate and the results were too variable. Today, there are excellent manual screening techniques which can be done with either blood or saliva. This is achieved as a non-invasive pathology test can be done with a take home kit and results are usually available within 7 days. So diagnosis is as simple as that.
Medical research papers such as “Andropause, An Old Concept in New Clothing,” and “Recognizing Androgen Deficiency in Aging Men”, published in 2003, clearly show that our testing techniques for testosterone deficiency need to be changed to ensure that men experiencing these symptoms are properly identified.
Just remember, awareness and understanding are the key but there in the end there is no substitute to addressing it in a positive manner and seeking help.
If you are a man (or have a man) in your life experiencing the symptoms of andropause ( male menopause ) there are numerous natural treatments which we can implement can help him to regain his health and vitality.
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