What is Andropause?
Andropause is roughly the male equivalent of menopause in women. It refers to an age-related decline in male hormone levels and is sometimes called testosterone deficiency or androgen deficiency. The decrease in hormones and onset of symptoms in men, however, is slower and subtler than it is in women.
Testosterone is the primary male hormone; it gives men deep voices, muscle mass, and male facial and body hair patterns. As you get older, the level of testosterone in your body gradually lessens — about 1% per year from age 30 onward. This is very normal, but you may start experiencing physical and psychological symptoms from low testosterone levels beginning in your 50s.
Like menopause, andropause can have a variety of symptoms, and not all men will experience the same problems. Some have no symptoms at all. Low hormone levels may raise your risk for other health conditions such as osteoporosis (brittle bones) or heart disease.
Symptoms of andropause can include:
- Low sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Sleep disturbances — insomnia or increased sleepiness
- Sadness or depression
- Lack of motivation, decrease in self-confidence
- Irritability and mood swings
- Trouble concentrating
- Loss of strength or muscle mass
- Increased body fat
- Loss of body hair
- Lack of energy
- Hot flashes. (Yes, men can get these too!)
Causes of Andropause Symptoms
Andropause is not a disease. Remember that it is a natural process your body is going through.
A major cause of its symptoms is the testicles’ decrease in testosterone production, but other hormones can be involved. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a steroid hormone that your body makes and turns into sex hormones, including testosterone. Your DHEA levels decline naturally too, starting at about age 30. Also, as you age, your level of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) begins to increase. SHBG deactivates some of the testosterone circulating in your blood, lowering your level of usable — bioavailable — testosterone.
Men who suffer from andropause symptoms typically have less bioavailable testosterone in their blood. This means there may not be enough to adequately supply the cells and tissues throughout the body that use it.
If you have symptoms that suggest andropause, discuss them with your doctor. There is a blood test that measures the level of bioavailable testosterone in your blood.
Some of the symptoms of andropause can also be caused by other factors, including medication side effects, thyroid problems, depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, and excessive alcohol use. Your doctor may want to check some of these possibilities too. There also are underlying conditions such as obstructive sleep apnea that can affect testosterone levels. If these conditions are identified and treated, your testosterone can return to a normal level on its own.
Testosterone levels vary greatly among men. Some men have a lower than normal testosterone level without signs or symptoms. In this case, no treatment is needed. However, if you are having uncomfortable symptoms of andropause, your doctor may prescribe medications to replace the hormones you are lacking. Testosterone replacement is the most common treatment. It may provide relief from your symptoms. Your doctor will help you decide if testosterone treatment is right in your situation.
Testosterone replacement therapy may be accompanied by the addition of pregnenolone, DHEA, aromatase inhibitors, chrysin, and other supplements.
Making simple lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, exercising regularly, and reducing stress can help support your treatment and may be recommended by your physician as well.
How Belmar Can Help
Belmar compounds bioidentical hormones in a variety of dosage forms, strengths, and combinations to help you feel more like yourself again. Dosage forms include injectable pellets, regular and sublingual tablets, blended creams, and injectables. We also dispense other medications that target specific issues like hair loss, dry skin, or low sex drive. We’re focused on ensuring your doctor has the right medication available to fit your specific needs so that you can enjoy the best health and lifestyle possible.
If you are going through andropause, or are concerned about any of the symptoms on this page, contact us for more information and start a conversation with your doctor. Together, you can decide if a compounded prescription might be the right treatment for you.
Contact Belmar Pharma Solutions
If you’re a patient, we’re here to help you fill prescriptions or provide you the information you need to work with your doctor to help decide if a compounded prescription might be a good treatment for you.
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