As men age, they experience a gradual reduction in levels of testosterone, an important reproductive hormone that regulates many functions in the body. These hormonal changes can cause a variety of symptoms in aging men and are sometimes collectively referred to as andropause, male menopause, low testosterone or androgen deficiency.
What Causes Andropause?
Men experience andropause due to a reduction in the body’s production of testosterone. Testosterone, is responsible for regulating:
- Sex drive
- Brain function and cognition
- Sense of well-being and confidence
- Heart health and cholesterol levels
All men produce less testosterone each year beginning around the age of 30. Though not all men lose testosterone at the same rate, men can lose about 50 percent of their testosterone by age 50. Research also shows that stress can be a major factor in reducing testosterone levels.
What are the Symptoms of Andropause?
Low testosterone levels can cause symptoms like:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Low sex drive
- Loss of muscle strength, bulk and/or endurance
- Decreased bone density
- Increased body fat
- Loss of confidence or competitiveness
- Memory and concentration problems
Some men experience only mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. But for others, these symptoms can begin to negatively affect job performance and quality of life.
How is Andropause Diagnosed and Treated?
Testosterone levels can be measured with blood tests. Low testosterone levels can be corrected by using transdermal rods, gels and patches that deliver testosterone directly to the bloodstream and keep it at consistent levels.
However, the normal range for testosterone varies widely between men, and each man has a testosterone level that he functions best at. Those who are more aggressive and athletic tend to function best at a high level of testosterone, while those who are more passive tend to function best at a lower level.
Because of this variance, having your testosterone levels measured at the peak of health can make it easier to determine the appropriate level to restore testosterone to. For most men, ideal testosterone levels occur in the early to mid-30s.
If this information is unavailable, testosterone levels can be restored to a healthy level with careful adjustment until the symptoms of andropause are resolved.