Andropause: do men have a menopause?
As they grow older, many men notice physical, psychological and sexual changes. Between the ages of 45 and 65 a transition seems to be taking place. The medical term for the male menopause is the andropause. Whether the male menopause really exists and is of any significance is disputed. There is no dispute, however, that increasing age brings a natural decrease in sex hormones (androgens), especially testosterone. This process varies from man to man and can last up to seven years. While the experience appears to be similar to the declining oestrogen levels of the female menopause, the andropause and female menopause are only slightly comparable. This is because male gonads remain functional and fertility continues into old age. Nonetheless, from the age of 45 , men often experience symptoms similar to the classic menopausal complaints.
Menopause is a treatable condition
If various symptoms occur and intensify over a longer period of time, it’s worth consulting a doctor. This is because the complaints can indicate a testosterone deficiency.
About 20% of ageing men develop low testosterone levels. This is known in the medical field as the androgen deficit in the ageing male (ADAM) and partial androgen deficit in the ageing male (PADAM).
The condition can lead to serious health problems and a higher mortality risk. Equally, men with low testosterone levels are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular diseases such as cardiac arrhythmias.
Hormonal therapy with medication
Where a testosterone deficiency has been confirmed, hormone therapy with medication can provide relief. In this case, testosterone replacement therapy can be used to improve the man’s quality of life. However, testosterone shouldn't be treated as a lifestyle medication – incorrect use can have serious consequences. Men with low testosterone levels that still fall within the normal range are better advised to change their lifestyle.
It all comes down to lifestyle
Lifestyle has a substantial influence on hormone levels. A few tips:
- Get enough exercise and manage your weight
- Consume alcohol and cigarettes in moderation
- Ensure a healthy balance of stimulation and relaxation, plus plenty of sleep
- Avoid physical and mental stress
It’s good to know that sexual activity also helps to raise testosterone levels. In many cases, doctors also advise taking medication to support erectile function.
Home remedies for minor complaints
- The amino acid L-arginine contained in various foods can have a potency-enhancing effect. Fish, nuts and seeds in particular can be beneficial.
- Nuts, especially almonds and walnuts, can also help prevent loss of body hair. This is because nuts contain the vitamin biotin which strengthens hair structure.
- Lady's mantle, black cohosh and monk’s pepper tea can also provide relief. Sage has an antiperspirant effect.
- Acupuncture may also help in some cases. It can help soothe hot flushes and reduce their intensity and frequency. It will also help you to relax.