Male Menopause Does Exist

Once they hit middle age, men can experience a phenomenon comparable to menopause. This is referred to as the male andropause.

Between the ages of 40-55, bodily changes and mood shifts begin to occur in men. A decline in sexual desire or libido, erectile dysfunction, urinary difficulties, fatigue, reduced muscle strength and mass, fat gain, memory loss and insomnia are a few symptoms characteristic of this change. A man frequently begins to question his values, accomplishments, and the direction of his life.

Some used to call this a “mid-life crisis” when men become anxious about their mortality. But we now know that there are physiological alterations that promote these feelings and symptoms.

As the body ages, there is a breaking down of bodily systems that makes us more susceptible to disease. One of these changes is a steady reduction in hormone production. Hormones are chemical messengers secreted by various glands that tell our cells what to do. When we are young, our hormones are at their youthful peaks. We bounce back quickly from stressors, renewed and ready to face the next. As we age, however, these hits become harder to absorb and the challenges become more difficult to withstand.

The male andropause is thought to occur because of the decline in the hormones testosterone, which is produced in the testes and DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) produced mainly in the adrenal glands. By age forty, men produce only about half the amount of these substances that they did at age twenty.

Hormones can be tested via the blood or more accurately through saliva analysis. If found to be low, replacement of these compounds by a licensed doctor can often lead to dramatic improvement in a man’s overall wellness.

Hormone replacement is contraindicated in men whom are at risk or have had prostate cancer.

Men going through andropause also benefit from regular exercise and a balanced diet low in animal fats, fried foods, sugar, caffeine, white flour products, alcohol and junk foods.

A whole host of supplements such as zinc, vitamin E, ginseng, saw palmetto, tribulus and l-arginine may also assist in this condition.

Andropause is a real concern for many men, which is not solved by just black hair dye and a red corvette.


Copyright © 2003 by Dr. Garrett G. Swetlikoff

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