Throughout life, the body goes through a number of changes — many of which are unavoidable.
One thing that changes as you grow older is the natural level of hormones produced within the body.
Both males and females experience an alteration in hormone levels once they reach a certain age.
However, hormone changes in men are unlike those found in women. So what happens to men during hormone changes and what is andropause? Below we put to rest common misconceptions regarding menopause and andropause.
What is andropause?
As a woman reaches a certain age, hormone levels drastically decrease, resulting in many unwanted physical side effects such as hot flashes and mood swings.
Similar to menopause in women, andropause marks a cluster of symptoms experienced in a male as a result of a decrease in testosterone levels.
Testosterone changes occur naturally as a result of age, medical conditions, lifestyle choices, and the overall health of a man.
What are menopause and andropause?
Menopause and andropause are similar in that they affect hormone levels. There are many differences between the two, however.
Women, typically in their 40s or early 50s, experience a drastic change in hormone levels known as menopause.
Menopause is an unavoidable part of a woman’s life that marks the end of reproductive abilities, leading to infertility. While andropause causes a significant decrease in hormones such as testosterone in men, it is vastly different than menopause as it does not result in infertility in men and not all men are affected by this condition.
What are the symptoms of andropause?
Hormones help to regulate many vital functions throughout the body. Therefore, when hormone levels are affected and become imbalanced, several unwanted effects may arise.
Symptoms of andropause come in a wide variety and are commonly referred to as testosterone deficiency, late-onset hypogonadism, or androgen deficiency.
Commonly reported symptoms to include:
- A decrease in energy levels
- Lack of motivation
- Decreased self-confidence
- Increased body fat and reduced muscle mass
- Physical weakness
- Gynecomastia - the development of breast tissue and breasts
- Reduced libido
- Erectile dysfunction
More serious symptoms of andropause are a decrease in testicle size, loss of body hair, hot flashes, and osteoporosis.
Many men find themselves too embarrassed to consult a licensed physician in regards to sexual problems, such as decreased drive or erectile dysfunction. As a result, although an andropause diagnosis is easily determined, it is often not found in the early stages.
Andropause is diagnosed by a simple blood test performed in a medical clinic.
Blood is drawn from the vein, sent to the lab for analysis, and it is there that testosterone levels are evaluated. A low level of testosterone is the key factor in diagnosing male menopause.
Male menopause treatment
Andropause treatment depends on the severity of symptoms noticed as well as the drastic level of reduction in testosterone levels.
Andropause natural treatment includes “simple” fixes such as maintaining a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, adequate sleep, and reducing the amount of stress the body is exposed to.
These recommendations have proven beneficial to all men, not just those experiencing symptoms of male menopause.
When male menopause becomes more severe, andropause treatment may include prescription medication. As previously mentioned, this medical condition may result in an increase in depression felt by the patient.
As a result, your medical provider may prescribe an antidepressant alongside therapy.
Although thought to be controversial, hormone replacement therapy can help replenish and regulate hormones lost through andropause. It is important to note that hormone replacement therapy can have negative side effects such as the exacerbation of prostate cancer.
Frequently asked questions
Once thought to be a myth, andropause is a very real, but uncommon, medical condition affecting less than 10% of men between the ages of 30 to 69 years of age. The risk of developing andropause increases as you age.
The short answer is no. Unlike menopause, which affects all women, andropause does not affect every man. Risk factors for andropause include smoking, race, hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, and cerebrovascular disease.
Male menopause most commonly affects men over the age of 40, but it is varies based on lifestyle habits, race, medical conditions, and overall health.
The length of andropause is not clear, however, it is thought that this condition can last upwards of 20 years. It varies from person to person and side effects can be greatly reduced with treatment.
The term andropause is commonly confused with the term menopause. Though these two medical conditions sound similar, and both affect hormone levels, they are vastly different.
Andropause dates back to the mid-1940s. The term “Andras” in Greek means human male and “pause” in Greek means cessation. Quite literally speaking, the term andropause means “human male cessation” and refers directly to the cessation of the human male hormone testosterone.
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Polysleep’s tips to sleep better with andropause
At Polysleep, we understand the unwanted side effects associated with a hormonal imbalance - in regards to both menopause and andropause. We have curated a list of the most recommended tips to achieve better sleep - these include:
Men struggling with andropause may experience undesirable side effects such as insomnia, making it more difficult to fall asleep and/or stay asleep at night.
The Zephyr Mattress is a high-end memory foam mattress designed to help you sleep better night after night. It is made of multiple layers of temperature-regulating hybrid foam, antimicrobial hybrid foam, and highly supportive layers all topped with an organic cotton, nanobionic premium quality mesh cover.
A cooling mattress pad or mattress cover, such as The PolyCool, has proven to combat harmful side effects of male menopause such as night sweats or hot flashes. The PolyCool mattress topper is made of antimicrobial viscoelastic hybrid foam and offers temperature regulating properties sure to keep you cool all night.
A bedtime routine allows your body to better understand the transition from waking hours to bedtime hours. Continuing a routine, such as eating dinner at 7 pm, showering and brushing teeth by 8 pm, and being in bed by 9 pm each night, triggers the brain to slow down its functions, allowing the body to easily fall asleep.
Certain foods, such as those with high levels of caffeine or high sugar levels, can disrupt the body’s natural ability to slow various functions down, allowing you to easily fall asleep. Eating these foods, such as candy, ice cream, or drinking a cup of coffee before bed, can make it increasingly difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep, resulting in poor quality sleep.
Regular exercise can help to regulate hormones throughout the body - many of which provide vital bodily functions. Experts recommend maintaining at least 30 minutes of exercise each day, at least 4 hours before bedtime. This allows the body enough time to return to a calming state.
Many medical conditions, such as andropause/male menopause, can greatly impact the quality of sleep a person receives each night – which is vital in maintaining healthy decision-making skills and reducing the risk of accidents.
While andropause does not affect all men, if you find yourself experiencing symptoms of this medical condition, you must reach out to your primary care physician as soon as possible to have your testosterone levels assessed.
It is nothing to feel embarrassed about as a treatment for the condition, as well as reducing or eliminating symptoms is possible. Andropause is a very real and serious medical condition that should not be ignored.
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