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Symptoms & Treatment

UNDERSTANDING ANDROPAUSE (MALE MENOPAUSE)

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What is Andropause?

Male menopause or Andropause or Androgen Decline in the Ageing Male (ADAM) or late-onset Hypogonadism are all terms which refer to age-related hormonal changes in men around the age of 45-50 years. Although the age- period is not clearly determined by experts, there is a marked decline in testosterone (androgen) levels in the testes (1% per year) with increasing age from 30 years onwards, which is responsible not just for a man’s sex drive but also his male features, his muscle mass, and his mental and physical energy. Also, the andropause process is more gradual as compared to menopause. Underlying medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and obesity also contribute towards andropause. However, it is a little different from menopause in a woman, because it has been seen that not all men undergo male menopause, unlike menopausal women, for whom it is a certainty of the cessation of their reproductive function.

Symptoms

Men undergoing andropause may have some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Weakness and chronic fatigue;
  • Low motivation;
  • Low concentration levels;
  • Difficulty in sleeping;
  • Anxiety and depression;
  • Moodiness and irritability;
  • Reduced muscle mass;
  • Abdominal fat;
  • Hot flashes;
  • Loss of body hair;
  • Dry skin;
  • Reduction in size of testicles;
  • Urinary problems;
  • Low libido;
  • Erectile dysfunction;
  • Gynaecomastia (male breast development in some cases);
  • Reduced bone mass and weak and brittle bones due to lack of testosterone;
  • Infertility and decreased production of sperm – although in some men, the testicles continue to produce sperm well beyond their 70’s and 80’s.

Other underlying risk factors may also contribute towards andropause, such as:

  • Lack of exercise;
  • Heavy smoking;
  • Excessive alcohol consumption;
  • Stress and anxiety.

Diagnosis

  • Blood test: A blood test is done to check T levels by taking a blood sample in the morning when T levels are the highest.

Many medicines like anticonvulsants and steroids, and barbiturates, can lead to temporarily increased testosteronelevels. Opiates artificially decrease testosterone levels. Therefore, before a test, the doctor needs to be informed if one is on medication and substances mentioned above. Also, the above symptoms could be due to lifestyle factors or underlying medical conditions mentioned above, therefore, male menopause is not specifically diagnosable as a health condition.

Managing Andropause

  • Address other underlying medical conditions like heart disease, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, insomnia and depression;
  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle;
  • Consume a balanced diet;
  • Do regular exercise to stay fit;
  • Cut down on smoking and alcohol intake;
  • Get adequate sleep;
  • Counseling

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