Andropause – The Male Version of Menopause

Hot Health
By Hot Health September 2, 2017 10:35

Andropause – The Male Version of Menopause

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Andropause — Understanding Male Menopause

Andropause is a medical term that refers to a condition which results from low levels of testosterone in the male body. To understand it in the general sense, it can be analogised to menopause in women. However, there are quite some differences in the two conditions. Unlike menopause, which is often marked by the ending of the menstrual cycle, Andropause doesn’t have a clear sign. But, it can be recognized by a marginal drop in hormone levels of a male. Men typically begin experiencing this drop between the ages of 40-55.

Like menopause, Andropause accounts for mood swings, change in attitude, loss of energy, fatigue, physical agility and loss of sex drive. A number of studies conducted on men suffering from Andropause have revealed that this condition makes patients more vulnerable to other health conditions such as osteoporosis and heart disease. It can however, become quite difficult sometimes to distinguish between emotional and physical changes in the body since both tend to overlap at the time of Andropause.

The transition of Andropause in men can be termed as gradual as it may extend over multiple decades. Various factors contribute to the age of onset of Andropause including psychological stress, alcohol use, medications, injuries/surgeries, obesity, infections etc. It is perhaps these factors that determine how long the transition of a male will be.

 

History of Andropause

It was in the 1940s that the term Andropause was described for the first time in medical literature. However, it took quite some years for its diagnosis to become available. As would be obvious, the condition did face some rejection in the beginning but in the recent times, physicians are at terms with the fact that Andropause is a fairly common condition and is most likely to occur with increasing age. About 2-5% of men between the age of 40 and 49 suffer from Andropause but the number increases to 6-30% in men between the age of 50 and 59. Once a male reaches the age of 70, the number jumps to 70%.

 

How can Andropause be treated?

The conventional methods of treating Andropause focus on testosterone replacement therapy. However, to this date, the treatment options remain a controversial topic mostly because there have been instances where a bone density loss was experienced in men who underwent testosterone replacement and other cases where remedies such as Viagra and other prescribed medicines did not work.

Also, testosterone replacement is not an easy treatment. Men who want to undergo this treatment must get their PSA levels checked because this treatment may increase the risk of prostatic cancer as well as risk of stroke, breast development, liver toxicity and shutting-down of sperm production.

Andropause is also affected by certain other hormones such as the thyroid hormones and the growth hormones. The latter controls the production of insulin in the body while the former is responsible for body’s proper functioning. The thyroid, stimulated by the pituary gland, releases what’s known as Thyroid Stimulating Hormone. As men age, their ability to produce thyroid slows down and it becomes less reactive. This can lead to hypothyroidism. By many estimates, over 20% of TSH will be reduced as men age due to andropause.

The diagnosis and treatment of this condition still faces scepticism among physicians because of the inability to account for the levels of testosterone that define a deficiency in men after the age of 50. Generally, this age witnesses 2 standard deviations below the normal testosterone levels but there have been cases where the deviation varied with increasing time leading to different levels on different days. This is precisely why regular monitoring of testosterone levels in important.

The studies that support testosterone replacement for men suffering from Andropause are 20 years behind in their times than the studies done for menopausal women. Though these studies showed benefits such as improved sexual and erectile function, lesser mood swings, increased bone density, enhanced body composition and better cardiovascular system.

However, the antiquity of these studies points a major question towards their reliability in the present time. The above-mentioned studies have also showed certain negative effects on the patients of the study. Men going through Andropause who had a history of prostate or breast cancer could not respond to the testosterone replacement therapy because the therapy increases the        growth of the cancer cells. Other negative effects include liver toxicity, fertility problems, increased fluid retention and increased red blood cell concentration. Some men, however, who were treated for andropause have felt some relief from their symptoms.

When a person goes on hormone replacement therapy it might be for life and therefore will require a lifelong commitment. 

If a man has hypothyroidism, he should be treated for this first, as low thyroid levels have been linked with low testosterone levels.

Hot Health
By Hot Health September 2, 2017 10:35
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