It’s a reality we all face: as you age, you will experience a drop in hormones. And while this topic is most often discussed in relation to women, men do experience a change in hormones, too—the two just experience it in very different ways. Most people are familiar with female menopause, but is there any validity to the idea of “male menopause?”
The two are loosely comparable, but I wouldn’t go as far as saying there is such a thing as “male menopause.” After all, women experience major changes in a relatively short and uncomfortable period of time, whereas male hormonal and bodily changes occur very slowly over an extended period of time.
In fact, men actually start to experience a decline in testosterone once they turn 30. At this point, most men tend to lose about one percent of their average testosterone production per year. This change affects all men very differently because men have varying levels of testosterone to begin with. While some feel the effects and symptoms of low testosterone levels, others will notice only minimal changes, if any at all. The only guarantee is that older men will always have less testosterone than they did when they were younger.
A blood test is the only way to determine whether or not you have low testosterone, and the majority of the symptoms associated with it are also associated with other conditions. Therefore, it’s best not to speculate whether or not you have low testosterone levels. Instead, see your doctor and have your levels measured; this will help you decide what, if any, treatment is necessary.
Some of the potential symptoms associated with low testosterone are changes in sexual function, such as reduced libido, trouble with arousal, infertility, and possible shrinking of the testes.
Symptoms unrelated to sexual function may also arise, including increased sleepiness or trouble sleeping, increased body fat, lower muscle mass and strength, decreased bone density, lower motivation and self-confidence, and—though very rarely—hot flashes or low energy levels.
Testosterone is a hot health topic these days and a number of supplement companies are selling products to boost testosterone. I would avoid all of these, especially if you heard about them on the radio or through an infomercial.
If you’re concerned about low testosterone levels, visit your doctor to discuss the best treatment methods. In many cases, what you think is the result of declining testosterone production actually isn’t, and symptoms can be improved through a healthy diet, exercise, and finding ways to reduce stress.
Source for Today’s Article:
“Male Menopause: Myth or Reality?” Mayo Clinic web site, June 3, 2014; http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/mens-health/in-depth/male-menopause/art-20048056/?linkId=9062022&pg=1, last accessed August 21, 2014.