Andropause /an•dro•pause/ (an´dro-pawz) a variable complex of symptoms, including decreased Leydig cell numbers and androgen production, occurring in men after middle age, purported to be analogous to menopause in women.*
Experts say 52 percent of men age 40 to 70 have erectile problems – that’s about 30 million men in the United States. Is the answer a prescription like Viagra, or could it be andropause?
Andropause is referred to as the male menopause, or colloquially as “manopause.” Each of these terms is used to describe the gradual decline of testosterone experienced by many men as they age. Testosterone levels typically peak in a man’s mid-to-late 20s and gradually decline with each passing year. As testosterone production declines, levels of other hormones, such as estrogen, begin to increase. These incessant fluctuations in hormone levels make it increasingly difficult for remaining testosterone to function effectively. The resulting deficiency of testosterone brings on many of the same symptoms that women experience during menopause: hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain, irritability, diminished sex drive, fatigue, hair loss, insomnia and decreased muscle mass.
The key difference between menopause and andropause is that with andropause, hormone imbalances evolve gradually over time causing symptoms to go unnoticed or are dismissed as a normal part of the aging process.
Testosterone assists the male body in building protein and is crucial for normal sex drive, stamina and the ability to achieve erection. Testosterone also contributes to several metabolic functions including bone formation, liver function, prostate gland growth and production of blood cells in bone marrow.
While testosterone is declining in men, the sex binding hormone globulin (SHBG), also called androgen-binding protein, increases in levels. SHGB inhibits a substantial portion of remaining testosterone from working - the remaining working testosterone is referred to as bio-available testosterone or “free T.” Bio-available testosterone declines with time, causing the development of symptoms classically associated andropause.
The risks and benefits of testosterone replacement may be evaluated by a qualified hormone therapy expert. Androgen replacement therapy is not a one size fits all treatment - testosterone replacement therapy is a treatment for men with low testosterone who want to boost their health and overall well-being. Through hormone therapy and a regimented treatment plan, the aches and pains of andropause may be minimized or eliminated – without the risk – testosterone therapy is not linked to prostate cancer and has been shown to improve cholesterol levels and decreases the risk of heart disease.
*Dorland's Medical Dictionary for Health Consumers. © 2007 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.