By Matt Cusano, Clinical Director
The endocrine system controls everything from sexual function, mental health and wellness, to physical growth and maturation through a series of glands that produce hormones. As we age, the levels of hormones we produce change; we produce more of some hormones and less of others. In women, a decrease in the production of testosterone, progesterone and estrogen leads to what we call menopause, but what about hormone down regulation in men? It turns out, both men and women will suffer the effects of hormone decline as they age. For males, we call this age-related decline in testosterone, andropause.
As men age over 35, they can develop andropause, which is a decrease in the production of testosterone which then leads to clinically low testosterone levels. In some ways, andropause is similar to menopause, but it’s not exactly “male menopause” because it is not guaranteed to happen to all men. Another difference between menopause and andropause is that women stop producing estrogen and progesterone completely, whereas men’s testosterone production continually declines over time. While a small percentage of men will never have to experience andropause, current data shows that up to 70 percent of men over the age of 80, as well as 50 percent of men over the age of 50, currently suffer from andropause.
What are the symptoms of Andropause?
- Decrease in strength and muscle mass
- Erectile dysfunction
- Decrease in libido
- Decrease in bone density
- Cognitive impairment
- Weight gain
- Hair loss – body and facial hair
- Decline in sense of well-being
- How do we diagnose Andropause?
- Physical Exams
- Blood tests to determine testosterone levels
- Assessment of symptoms
- Medical tests to rule out other possible causes
What treatment options are available for men with Andropause?
Although changes in lifestyle, diet, and exercise are typically advised, testosterone replacement therapy is one of the most common treatment options for andropause, and it can help to relieve many of the symptoms associated with it, including depression, fatigue, muscle wasting and a decreased libido. What many men don’t realize is that there is more than one kind of testosterone therapy option. The tried and true application of testosterone injections is the preferred route due to exact dosing and optimal absorption in the body, however, we know that not every male is prepared to do weekly injections. At Rejuvenate HRT, we have various TRT options for men including injections, oral troche’s, or topical creams.