Andropause is an actual phenomenon and considered the equivalent to female menopause. When you look at the stats, the prevalence of andropause varies considerably however, it is estimated that greater than 50% of men over the age of 60 years have a decline in serum testosterone levels thus classifying them as suffering from andropause. Controversies debate whether andropause is a physiologic adaptation to aging or a pathological event, however, ask any male that has been diagnosed and they will tell you quite clearly – regardless of definition they feel pretty awful. Imagine sailing through life with a steady supply of a potent hormone – testosterone. This hormone makes you feel strong, virile, manly and energetic. When you get older it declines and then everything starts to behave differently.
When males reach 30 years of age their levels of testosterone slowly begin to decline – similar to the female’s experiences with oestrogen. The main difference between the male and female version is that females lose oestrogen quite rapidly in a short period whereas males find their testosterone declining slowly over a period many years. Most importantly, the process is very individual. Some men will lose testosterone faster than others. You can blame your parents for that one as genetics are the strongest influencing factors.
Other contributing factors that increase the loss of testosterone include obesity – too much fat especially around the abdomen; your diet – being a vegetarian has been shown to reduce testosterone levels compared to an omnivore; excessive endurance sports as they appear to decrease bioavailable testosterone; excessive stress and some chronic diseases; certain medications such as sleeping pills, blood pressure lowering meds, certain antidepressants and others.
Common symptoms include a decrease in the general wellbeing, reduced libido and virility, erectile dysfunction, lowered energy, depression, decreased muscle mass and strength and decreased bone mass. Other symptoms may include sleep problems, abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, atherosclerosis, fatigue and surprisingly – hot flashes.