In men, testosterone production decreases with age, which can lead to andropause. Andropause is inevitably age-related and usually occurs after age 50. However, in some people, it can occur as early as age 45.
Women are not the only ones who suffer from hormonal disorders closer to the age of 50. Some men also experience andropause (often referred to as male menopause), when testosterone production decreases, which affects daily life and especially sexuality.
We would like to tell you more about this little-known pathology to the general public.
Andropause is male menopause
Many people compare andropause to female menopause, but in fact they are two completely different conditions. In men, 90% of testosterone is produced in the testicles and some by the adrenal cortex. From the age of 30, testosterone production begins to gradually decline. Despite this, men are able to produce offspring for the rest of their lives, while in women the menopause signifies the end of estrogen production, and therefore of fertility.
It is worth noting that men do not often experience a decrease in testosterone to the point that it affects their daily life. In this case, the diagnosis must first be confirmed by a blood test, which will reveal a decrease in testosterone synthesis. Signs of andropause can be confused with the onset of diabetes or the result of a poor lifestyle or even obesity.
It is also important to know that lifestyle has a huge impact on the onset of andropause. Of course, there are genetic factors involved, but not only that! Being overweight or obese, alcoholism, stress or even depression exacerbate testosterone deficiency and thus increase the risk that one day you will experience andropause.
Symptoms of andropause
- weight gain ;
- decreased sexual desire ;
- depression ;
- irritability ;
- erectile dysfunction ;
- loss of energy or fatigue ;
- sleep disturbances;
Andropause can be diagnosed in the presence of low testosterone levels in the blood.
Since there are several possible causes of testosterone deficiency, it is important to determine the exact cause of testosterone deficiency and choose an appropriate treatment.
Measuring testosterone levels
Testosterone levels are determined by a simple blood test. Sometimes low blood testosterone levels are detected late in the day due to the natural circadian rhythm, so it is better to test in the morning.
Total blood testosterone is divided into 3 types:
- Free testosterone
- Ttestosterone bound to globulin binding sex hormones
- Testosterone bound to albumin (weakly bound testosterone).
Total testosterone is a measure of all the testosterone in a blood sample. However, because some of this testosterone is thought to be inactive due to its binding to certain blood components that increase with age, total testosterone gives a biased result in men over the age of 18. The free testosterone test and bioavailable testosterone test give a more accurate indication of the actual amount of active testosterone in an older man. Your doctor can help you decide whether to measure free or bioavailable testosterone. However, measuring total testosterone is usually recommended initially.
If andropause is diagnosed, testosterone hormone treatment in the form of gel, pills, patches, or intramuscular injections may be prescribed. Erectile dysfunction or other severe symptoms caused by this hormonal disorder may also be treated. Regular medical monitoring is necessary during treatment. This is because male hormones can contribute to prostate cancer under certain conditions. Clinical examinations and blood tests should be performed frequently.
Should you take testosterone?
Whether or not to take testosterone is a personal decision that many men will have to make as they age. Over the past 20 years, studies of testosterone treatment in men with low serum levels of this hormone have shown positive effects on well-being, improved bone density and sexual function, increased libido and increased muscle mass and strength.
If you think you have symptoms of andropause, ask your doctor to measure your testosterone levels. Every man is unique. It’s worth getting more information about andropause and discussing different aspects of treatment with your doctor.
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