What is Andropause?
- As men approach middle age and beyond (40 and older) they may
experience a phenomenon similar to female menopause, called
Andropause. Unlike women, men do not have a clear-cut external
signpost to mark this transition, such as the cessation of
menstruation. Both menopause and andropause, however, are
characterized by a drop in hormone levels. Estrogen in the
female, testosterone in the male. Resulting bodily changes occur
gradually in men and may be accompanied by changes in attitude
and mood, fatigue, a loss of energy, sex drive and physical
- What's more, studies show that this decline in testosterone can
actually put men at risk for other health problems such as heart
disease and weak bones. Since all this happens at a time when
many men begin to question their values, accomplishments and
direction in life, it's often difficult to link the changes that
are occurring to more than just external conditions.
- Unlike menopause, which generally occurs in women during their
mid-forties to mid-fifties, men's "transition" may be much more
gradual and spread over many decades. Attitude, psychological
stress, alcohol abuse, injuries or surgery, medications, obesity
and infections can contribute to its onset.
- Although a decline in testosterone levels will occur in
virtually all men as they age, there is no way of predicting who
will experience Andropausal symptoms of sufficient severity to
seek medical help. Neither is it predictable at what age
symptoms will occur in a particular individual. Also, each man's
symptoms may be different.
Is Andropause a new phenomenon?
- Yes and no. In fact, Andropause
was first described in medical literature in the 1940's. So it's
not really new. But, our ability to diagnose it properly is.
Because sensitive tests for bio-available testosterone weren't
available until recently, Andropause went through a long period
of being underdiagnosed and undertreated. Now that men are
living longer, there is heightened interest in Andropause, and
this will, in turn, help improve the way this important
transition period is treated.
- Another reason why Andropause has been underdiagnosed over the
years is that symptoms can be vague and can vary a lot among
individuals. Some men even find it difficult to admit that
there's a problem. And physicians didn't always consider low
testosterone levels as a possible cause. Doctors often concluded
that symptoms were related to other medical conditions (e.g.,
depression) or were simply due to aging, and encouraged their
patients to accept 'the inevitable.' Fortunately, this situation
has changed dramatically. New testing methods and an increased
interest in men's aging among medical researchers has focused so
much attention on Andropause that major efforts are underway to
quickly share emerging scientific information with Canadian
Andropause: Pg 1 | 2 |
3 | 4 |
Treatment Options: Pg 1 |
Healthy Lifestyle: Pg 1 |
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