Are you suffering from decrease sex drive or inability to sustain erection then you may be suffering from male menopause otherwise called Andropause. You thought menopause was something women went through when they reached the age of 50, didn’t you? Well, apparently men go through it too. But Andropause, unlike the female menopause, which is related to female reproductive function, affects male sexual function instead.
Other symptoms of Andropause are erectile dysfunction, decreased libido, mood disturbance including depression, irritability, feeling tired, loss of muscle size and strength, osteoporosis, increased body fat, difficulty with concentration, memory loss and difficulty sleeping.
The word Andropause is formed by combining two Greek words- andro (male) and pause (stop). Men suffering from may well feel that their manliness has indeed stopped or declined. Although medical practitioners have studied andropause since the 1940s, it is still a controversy, and many men still deny its existence. However, it is becoming more widely accepted in the scientific world as something that does indeed happen to men as they age. It is described by Jed Diamond, a California psychotherapist and author of Male Menopause as “puberty in reverse”. Since like puberty, andropause wreaks “hormonal, psychological, interpersonal, social, sexual and spiritual changes in aging men just as puberty does for teenage youths”.
According to researchers in the Department of Urology, Queens University, Kingston General Hospital, Ontario, Canada, andropause happens to 1 in 200 Canadian men. A study conducted in 2003 by Dr. A. Festus and others of the University of Ife in Nigeria, found that 44% of men aged 30 to 70 suffer from erectile dysfunction and out of these 8% was severe and 36% moderate.
Needless to say, the researchers found that the incidence of erectile dysfunction increased as men got older from 38.5% for men aged 31-40 years to 64% for the older age group of 61-79 years. Of social significance is that the researchers found that most men deny the existence of andropause. 39% regard it as a myth while another 24% attribute it to various non-scientific causes which they usually blame on their wives. They therefore use this excuse to look for younger partners, only to discover that the problem has not gone away. They may stop looking for younger partners but the denial of its existence and not realizing that andropause has a medical foundation stops men from seeking appropriate medical help.
Andropause is due to changing hormone level in men which progressively decline with age. Andropause is characterised by loss of testosterone, the hormone that makes men act like men. Most men’s testosterone levels drop as they age. However, some men are affected more than others are. The rate of decline varies from individual to individual. The loss of testosterone, which can happen to men as young as 35, is gradual with testosterone levels dropping by 1% to 1.55 annually starting at about age 30. Testosterone levels drops by about 10% every 10 years. At the same time, another hormone in the body called Sex Binding Hormone Globulin or SBHG traps much of the testosterone that is still circulating around the system and makes it unavailable to the body’s tissues to make them function properly.
The testosterone that is remaining to assist the tissues to function as they should is called “bioavailable testosterone levels.” Every man experiences a decline of bioavailable testosterone, but some men’s levels dip lower than others. It is estimated that 30% of men in their 50s will have testosterone levels low enough to cause andropause symptoms. Testosterone is one of the hormones forming the androgen panel or make hormones. According to World Health Organization (WHO), total androgen levels, not just testosterone also affect male andropause as these hormones decline as men age. The WHO study found that androgen levels of men aged 70 were only 10% of that of men of 25 years. For this reason, some have described andropause as ADAM (Androgen Deficiency of the Aging Male).
Unlike women, men do not have a clear cut signpost such as the stopping of menstruation to tell them they are in andropause. Instead it comes as a gradual and distressful decline in their sexuality, overall energy with increasing moodiness. By the time most men are 40-45 or middle aged, they have experienced some symptoms of andropause, which range from energy loss to depression to sexual dysfunction. The bodily changes occur gradually in men and may be accompanied by changes in attitudes, moods, fatigue and a loss of energy, sex drive and physical agility. Muscle mass and bone density decreases, and just like women, men are prone to broken bones and osteoporosis.
Although andropause is a normal part of aging, that does not mean men should accept it as an inevitable fate. If left untreated, it can have severe medical consequences that go beyond the loss of libido. For starters, it can lead to osteoporosis and broken bones. Testosterone is a hormone that is not only essential for normal sexual behaviour and for producing erections, but it also has many functions in a man’s body. It helps to build protein and it affects many metabolic activities such as the production of blood cells in the bone marrows, bone function, lipid metabolism, carbohydrate metabolism, liver function and prostrate gland growth. If testosterone levels are not adequately replaced, then many body functions may be adversely affected, leading to premature aging and an unhealthy old age.
There is a need for all andropause sufferers to undergo a complete medical examination that includes laboratory tests and measurement of the male hormone panel to indicate the level of testosterone replacement that is needed. The principal hormones that would be tested are testosterone, thyroid, dihydroepiandrosterone and growth hormone. Treatment will include a combination of testosterone replacement therapy, psychotherapy, herbs, diet and exercise, reduction in the intake of grapefruit, alcohol and fats since, according to Dr Stephen Suiatra, a cardiologist specializing in medicine, and author of “Heartbreak and Heart Disease”- the body’s aromatose enzyme turns testosterone into the female hormone oestrogen when certain substances like grapefruit, alcohol and fat are ingested. These catalysts- grapefruit, alcohol, and fat, turn on the aromatose enzyme, which decreases the testosterone level. On the other hand, to help increase testosterone production, Suiatra, who heads the New England Heart and Longevity center in Manchester, suggests that taking zinc, vitamin E and such herbs as muirapuama, an L-arginine help to increase libido.
In the first line of treatment, multivitamins and vitamins A, B, C and E may be prescribed as well as 1000mg of calcium tablets a day to guard against osteoporosis. The calcium should however be taken with plenty of water to prevent kidney stones. The best form of calcium supplements are the liquid effervescence tablets or the capsules. Exercise with a diet low in fat along with adequate sleep of at least 8 hours a night will certainly be part of the doctor’s prescription as well as herbs containing pasuma and maca.
The gold standard in andropause management used to be testosterone replacement therapy if it is indicated by the results of the androgen panel test. This will be administered by one of several methods that include injection, patches, gel or tablets. Experienced doctors knowledgeable in this type of treatment must perform these replacement therapy treatments as inappropriately balanced prostatic antigen (PSA) levels can increase the risk of prostatic cancer. Other risks associated with hormone supplementation particularly with injections, include the risk of stroke, increase in liver toxicity and breast development not to mention the ironic shut down of sperm production that can result from testosterone supplementation.
The recent increase in prostatic cancer has made many men to shy away from the use of testosterone replacement therapy. This has now been replaced by a combination of protocols necessary to help restore good health and then re-energize the body system to achieve the desired goal of feeling youthful with increase vigour, vitality and erectile energy.
Such protocol will include the initial assessment of the health status, food intolerance and other system disturbance. This is followed by the blood analysis of the various hormonal panels and cardiac panels. The individual is now made to go through an customised individual body cleansing and detoxification which will improve the efficiency of the alimentary system and restore more energy. The protocol will include the use of additional equipment to improve the circulation to the reproductive organ such as the Physiotherm and the scenar in addition to regular execise. Once this is done the individual is given a number of orthomolecular supplements such as the bioidentical hormone replacement and herbal cream and capsules as well as vitamins. Most individual will have been able to report a much improved erectile activity following such protocols in Mayr spas.