With the phrase "male menopause," I've got the attention of every female reader, saying, "So that's what's wrong with my husband!"
Male menopause? What is it? Some doctors call it "andropause." Both terms conjure up images of men with hot flashes, guys crying for no reason and more mid-life crises than we can possibly handle.
There are hormonal changes that are a natural part of aging for men. But these hormonal changes are nothing like the plunge women take during menopause. The male hormonal changes are much more gradual, occurring over a period of many years.
For those men who are concerned with andropause here's the major issue: low or declining testosterone. Like most guys, those are fighting words. I want to go out and do something to prove my manhood by hiking up Mt. Whitney or ride a Harley motorcycle at 90 miles an hour down some LA freeway. I'll show you I still got it!
Before you start getting punchy, here are some stats you need to know: older men have lower testosterone levels than do younger men. After age 40, testosterone levels in the blood begin to decline gradually - about a rate of 1% a year. However, Mayo Clinic doctors also tell us that these dropping levels are rarely significant enough to be noticeable in men younger than 60. When you hit your 80's . . . it's another story.
What are the symptoms of male menopause? Let me warn you some of these these symptoms are not pretty:
Reduced sexual desire
Loss of body or pubic hair
Height loss and thinning bones
Hot flashes and sweats
Decreased energy and motivation
Feeling sad or depressed
Poor concentration or memory
Most guys read the first symptom about "decreased sexual desire" and blank out . . . then wonder where to buy a tube of testosterone cream.
How do you treat low testosterone? Answer: Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT). Some physicians claim the benefits of TRT are unclear. It might raise your Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) or increase your risk of prostate cancer or it may not. More studies need to be done. But from the many websites I read, any man who uses TRT should have frequent PSA tests to make sure there is not a rise in the PSA count.
If you suspect you're a candidate for male menopause, the first thing you should do is get a blood test for an objective testosterone count.
If you want to go the herbal supplement route, there are many products that make all kinds of claims to raise aging-related low testosterone. One of the most common supplements to treat this condition is DHEA, which could also raise your PSA level. Speak with your doctor before taking any kind of herbal supplements.
Of course, with a doctor's prescription, you can also purchase a testosterone cream to be applied in measured amounts.
I'll leave you with some steps you can take to prevent or improve some of your symptoms.
Watch what you eat. Exercise and maintain a healthy diet to keep you strong and energetic. Exercising is a big factor when it comes to improving your moods as well.
Speak to your doctor about any suspected sexual problems. You cannot watch a football, baseball or basketball game without watching ads about erectile dysfunction (ED) or prostate related problems. So the cat is out of the bag when it comes to sexual problems. There are many medications and lifestyle changes you can utilize to help your condition.
Seek help if you are emotionally distraught. Many older men suffer from depression --become irritable, isolated or withdrawn - and are often left untreated. But if you take steps for treatment, it can make a major difference in how you feel.