Andropause - Male Menopause
Male menopause or Andropause is a name that has been given to a menopause-like condition in aging men. Andropause is primarily due to a decline in the male hormone testosterone. This drop in testosterone levels is considered to lead in some cases to loss of energy and concentration, depression, and mood swings. While andropause does not cause a man's reproductive system to stop working altogether, many will experience bouts of decreased libido, impotence, or erectile dysfunction.
Unlike women, middle-aged men do not experience a complete and permanent physiological shutting down of the reproductive system as a normal event. Andropause is usually caused by a very gradual testosterone deficiency and an increase in sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) that occurs from age 35 onwards. By contrast, women have a sudden onset of menopause around age 51. Testosterone declines 10% every decade after age 30 (1% per year). A steady decline in testosterone levels with age (in both men and women) is well documented.
Premature andropause can occur in males who experience excessive female hormone stimulation through workplace exposure to estrogen. Men who work in the pharmaceutical industry, plastics factories, near incinerators, and on farms that use pesticides are high-risk for early andropause.
About 30% of men in their 50's experience andropause. About 5 million American men do not produce adequate testosterone, which leads to early andropause. The most likely males to develop early andropause are those with diabetes, hypertension, and genetic disorders that produce hypogonadism.
Over the past several years, numerous reports have appeared in the lay press regarding the benefits of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) in healthy aging men. With the arrival of Viagra and other ED products, many men are now trying testosterone to help their flagging libidos keep up with their newfound ability to maintain youth-quality erections. From the medical literature stories continue to appear exalting the muscle-boosting, fat-busting effects of TRT, not only in athletes, but also in sedentary healthy older men.
The decision to start TRT is a personal and complex decision. There are many well-documented beneficial effects of maintaining a youthful level of testosterone, and we believe that the preponderance of evidence supports its use in most aging men.
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