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While not as prevalent and as universally known as menopause in women, andropause is a condition that afflicts men in their middle ages.
Andropause, commonly referred to as “male menopause” refers to age-related changes that are related to the gradual reduction of testosterone levels in men. Unlike menopause, andropause is not abrupt but rather a gradual decrease in male-specific functions.
One hormone that plays a key role in testicular function is testosterone. Testosterone plays several important roles in the body, including maintaining good muscle mass, improving libido levels, and stabilizing mood.
As you grow older, typically in the years beyond your 30s, your body’s metabolism slows and testosterone levels begin to dip.
If blood testosterone count falls below 300 ng/dL, this would be a case of testosterone deficiency—which can have several consequences and side effects.
These consequences, if left untreated, can lead to future health complications. This is why it’s important to nip low testosterone in the bud and treat it as soon as you can.
That said, it can be difficult to recognize the symptoms of low testosterone immediately, or even differentiate symptoms of andropause from other health conditions.
If you’re facing that exact dilemma, this article will give you the true signs of andropause so you can treat it accordingly. It’ll also outline ways you can treat your condition, both in a natural and clinical setting.
Let’s jump into it.
What Causes Andropause, Exactly?
Before diving into the signs of andropause, it’s important to know how testosterone interacts in the body.
Testosterone is a male sex hormone (or an androgen) produced in the testes that performs several key bodily functions, including:
- Regulating libido
- Maintaining muscle mass
- Enhancing red cell production
- Lowering fat stores
- Improving bone mass
- Improving mood
For the body to reap the full benefits of testosterone, there needs to be ample amounts of it circulating in the body. Healthy levels of the male hormone testosterone are typically pegged between 400 ng/dL to 1,000 ng/dL.
Men in their late teens to their twenties typically experience the full effects of normal testosterone production. However, once men reach the age of 30 and beyond, testosterone levels undergo a gradual but steady reduction.
At a molecular level, this gradual reduction of testosterone occurs when there’s not enough bioavailable testosterone circulating in the blood.
Bioavailable testosterone is usually low in older individuals because the body produces more sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) with age.
SHBG typically binds with testosterone, which is then circulated and used up by other parts of the body.
If there’s not enough free testosterone for the body to use, this can cause various physical and psychological health problems.
Let’s look at these signs of andropause, or late-onset hypogonadism, in more detail.
5 Glaring Signs of Andropause in Men
Here are some common symptoms of andropause in men.
1. Low Libido
Men with low testosterone tend to feel less sexually aroused than men with normal testosterone levels.
This is because testosterone directly plays a hand in both cognitive function and sexual function in the body.
If testosterone levels fall below the normal baseline levels, men won’t want to engage in sex as often, which can lead to sexual dissatisfaction or acute sexual incompatibility with their partner.
Testosterone is a key hormone when it comes to maintaining healthy energy levels and muscle strength. If there are not enough testosterone levels in the body, this can signal age-related cellular degeneration and impaired cellular efficiency which may lead to low energy levels.
Furthermore, testosterone decline can also lead to reduced testosterone synthesis in various muscle fibers throughout the body. This can cause muscles to degrade over time, which can consequently also lead to decreased energy levels and increased body fat.
3. Erectile Dysfunction
While there’s no direct evidence that suggests low testosterone leads to ED, testosterone deficiency can cause functional inefficiencies that can indirectly lead to erectile dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction is a condition that’s marked by a persistent inability to maintain or get an erection. Andropause often leads to blood circulation problems and hormonal imbalances that can directly impact the body’s ability to get an erection.
4. Cognitive Changes
Patients with andropause may also experience cognitive impairments over time. These impairments can include sudden memory loss, reduced ability to focus, and impaired decision-making skills.
Furthermore, this condition can also lead to psychiatric disorders like depression and stress.
5. Physical Changes
The easiest way to tell if you have andropause is by looking at the mirror and recognizing changes in your body.
If you see yourself gaining weight faster than you normally would, or if you notice a sudden onset of hair loss or muscle mass, this could signal the presence of andropause. Shrunk testicles may also be a result of andropause.
Treating Andropause in Men
Diagnosing andropause usually entails a blood test to count testosterone levels. If andropause is identified, doctors will administer a relevant treatment plan to treat your condition.
Testosterone replacement therapy, or TRT, is a type of testosterone treatment that’s performed in clinics to restore low testosterone levels. It involves a combination of gels, patches, injections, and tablets to help maintain stable hormone production.
This therapy is a lifelong treatment that has been proven to be effective in bringing good results to patients.
Besides TRT clinical treatment, doctors may also suggest aging male patients undergo new health and lifestyle factors. This includes revamping your diet, engaging in cardiovascular activities regularly, and reducing stress sources.
Access Andropause Treatment and More at St. Louis, Missouri’s Top Men’s Health Clinic
Andropause can be an insidious health condition, starting slow but potentially leading to lasting consequences if left untreated.
As such, it’s important to get the right testosterone therapy to ensure your good health.
Need support? The medical professionals at Paramount Men’s Medical Center are more than happy to help you restore your testosterone levels and bring your health and sex life back on track.
Schedule an appointment with us today, your initial consultation and first treatment are completely free.