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ANDROPAUSE….It’s Not Just “Low T”

What is ANDROPAUSE? Is it real? 

The existence of Andropause has been debated for years, but has gained recognition as a very real physiological state of hormone decline/deficiency in men.  Most agree that Andropause is the result of a very gradual, age-related decline in hormones such as testosterone, DHEA, and others.

ANDROPAUSE Facts:

  • Testosterone begins to drop by 10% per decade between the ages of 25 and 50
  • By the time a male reaches the age of 60, testosterone can yield over a 50% reduction
  • Andropause can be difficult to detect due to the nature of a slow decline and widely varied symptoms
  • Men do not discuss symptoms as readily as women
  • During testosterone decline, men’s estrogen levels can increase by almost 50% drastically changing their hormone balance. This change may help explain why some men begin to feel more family oriented and nurturing as they age.

Common Symptoms of ANDROPAUSE:

Effects of Andropause are not uniform and each man’s response is unique.  There are commonly reported symptoms, some of which are considered part of the “normal” aging process, but which are also accelerated by a hormonal deficiency. They tend to fall into one of four categories, with some symptoms overlapping:

  • PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS

Balding head, reduced body hair, decreased muscle mass w/ increased body fat, reduced strength and stamina, feeling weak or tired, decreased testicle size, enlarged prostate, urinary discomfort or difficulty

  • CARDIOVASCULAR SYMPTOMS

Increased abdominal fat – increasing risk of heart attack, increased insulin/cholesterol/triglyceride levels, elevated blood pressure, diminished coronary artery elasticity, weakening heart muscle

  • MENTAL SYMPTOMS

Moodiness, irritability, insecurity, inner rest, lack of concentration, memory failures, reduced intellect and critical thinking

  • SEXUAL SYMPTOMS

Decreased sex drive and arousal, reduced organ sensitivity or pleasure, fewer orgasms, erectile dysfunction

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Factors that accelerate Male Hormone Decline (testosterone and DHEA):

  • Excess weight, especially abdominal obesity – check for high Estrogen Levels
  • Insomnia, anxiety, sugar cravings, tired but wired – check for High Cortisol Levels
  • Tobacco consumption or drug and alcohol abuse
  • Chronic fatigue, low energy, cravings, poor exercise tolerance or recovery – check for Low Cortisol
  • Depression, low libido, fatigue, erectile dysfunction – check for Low Testosterone Levels
  • Excessive need to urinate, hair loss, acne – check for high DHT and/or signs of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) which include high estrogen/low testosterone levels
  • Thyroid Imbalance – commonly missed in men and may mimic symptoms of low testosterone

Labs should be obtained prior to initiation of hormone replacement therapy & as a diagnostic tool to distinguish between primary and secondary hypogonadism.

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