Sometimes called “puberty in reverse,” male menopause – or Andropause as it is clinically diagnosed– is the period of a man’s life when production of a vital number of hormones – primarily testosterone – begins to decline. Similarly, women experience a reduction in estrogen and progesterone production during menopause. But not everyone buys into the idea that males have their own version of menopause. The public perception is that men of a certain age are having “a mid-life crisis” that will pass eventually.
Decline usually begins in the 30s but becomes significant by ages 45 – 60, but varies from man to man. There are men who remain virile into their 80s with no visible signs of reduction in the hormone, but this is extremely rare.
Common signs and symptoms of low/diminishing testosterone levels:
- Diminished libido
- Erectile dysfunction
- Muscle wasting, weight gain & decrease in lean body mass
- General lack of energy
- Mood swings, depression and anxiety
- Memory loss
- Elevated cholesterol
- Anemia and osteoporosis in the later stages
It becomes evident from all these possible symptoms that testosterone plays an extensive role in male health beyond just muscle building.
If you have several of these symptoms above you should schedule an appointment with Dr. Stanton to further investigate the possibility of low testosterone and if so develop a treatment plan to get you feeling lean, strong, energetic, sharp, and sexually active again.
Measuring testosterone levels is a simple blood test that can yield significant information. It is important to measure the bio-available or “free” testosterone in the body. Bound testosterone is ineffective because it is not available to the testosterone receptors throughout the body, thus only ‘free’ testosterone will give you an accurate measurement. Unfortunately, this test is not ordered as often as it should be by most physicians.
Low levels of available testosterone are easily treated through a regimen of testosterone hormone weekly injections or daily gels and patches applied directly the skin. For most men, the results are dramatic and immediate.
While effective, testosterone replacement therapy should be administered only under strict medical supervision. Physicians familiar with testosterone therapy know many tricks for optimizing results while at the same time minimizing side effects – such as those related to acne, estrogen conversion, and mood swings. Candidates should first be screened for the prostate specific antigen, as prostate cancer can actually grow under testosterone therapy if the patient is predisposed. The therapy doesn’t cause the cancer, but it can exacerbate it if the condition already exists.” Blood and liver enzyme levels also need to be monitored throughout the course of treatment.
Under no circumstances should a patient self-medicate such as with over-the-counter ‘natural’ products often advertised in the back of men’s magazines. These are not regulated by the FDA, and actually cause can more harm than good – for example many of these products are pro-hormones that actually convert more frequently to estrogen than testosterone. Real testosterone products are tightly regulated by the DEA and labeled as “Class III” controlled substances.
Patients on Viagra or the like may also be candidates for testosterone therapy, and the treatments can be prescribed simultaneously. Viagra does nothing to stimulate hormone production or the libido; it is used only to treat erectile dysfunction, which is different from low sex drive. In fact, getting testosterone levels back to normal actually may alleviate the need for that little blue pill!
Exercise is a valuable tool in staving off depletion in testosterone. Exercise and working out actually stimulate production of testosterone in the body. Inactive men who gain considerable weight may have more estrogen in their bodies, because testosterone is converted into estrogen in the peripheral fat of the body if not ‘burned off’ through a regular course of exercise.”
Whatever the case, there is an answer and a treatment. “Women have benefited greatly from hormone therapy. Men deserve the same consideration to prolong quality of life.”