What is Andropause?
We’ve all heard of menopause; that dreaded time of life for women, sometimes beginning as early as their 30s. Mood swings, fatigue, mental fog, depression, weight gain, night sweats, low libido, and then eventually, a decade or so later, hot flashes begin and night sweats. But what is Andropause
What is the Definition “Andropause”?
Men’s hormone levels begin to decline on average at age 35, losing 2% of testosterone production per year. Why is that important and what are the effects of that decline? Testosterone is produced primarily by the ovaries in women (yes, women make and NEED testosterone) and the testicles in men, and to a minor degree by the adrenal glands. Even though Testosterone is extremely important for sexual health, it is primarily a BRAIN hormone. As we age and production declines, we feel those cognitive symptoms.
Do You Have Any of These Symptoms?
- Mental or “Brain” fog
- Decreased mental clarity
- Difficulty focusing
- Memory loss (Where did I park the car? Where did I put my keys? Why did I come into this room?)
- Mood swings
- Fatigue (especially in the afternoon around 3-4 o’clock)
- Sleep disturbances
The last symptom that men typically experience is loss of their sex drive, so don’t use that as a marker for your Testosterone level. Women AND men experience varying degrees of these symptoms. Low testosterone can significantly decrease our overall sense of well-being and wreak havoc on relationships of all kinds.
Often, when we seek help from our primary practitioners, we are band-aided with antidepressants, sleeping and anti-anxiety pills, and a host of other medications. These drugs have additional side effects such as weight gain, “zombie-like” state, dependency on sleep, decreased sex drive, and so forth, not a good remedy! Furthermore, they do not address the root problem that is causing the symptoms!
Natural Testosterone Prevents Many Disease States
To name a few: men with low testosterone are 3 times more likely to get Alzheimer’s and women suffer similar risks; in a recent study, men over 55 with higher levels of testosterone showed a significant reduction in coronary artery disease risk and heart attacks; testosterone also builds bone by 8.3% per year, preventing and reversing osteopenia and osteoporosis.
What about that “paunch” that starts to develop after 40? Low testosterone increases cortisol and insulin levels, both of which increase belly fat and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes! Countless studies also show testosterone helps protect women (and men) from breast cancer. Breast cancer tissue can have both estrogen and insulin receptors, natural testosterone has been shown to down-regulate estrogen receptors in the breasts and decrease insulin levels. The more we study this vital hormone, the more we learn it protects the brain, breasts, bones, and heart and decreases the risk of a host of age-related disease states!
If you feel off, pay attention to how you feel and think twice about filling the prescriptions given to quell symptoms if they tell you “your hormones are normal”. What is “normal” for the average population in your age group may not be “normal”, or optimal, for you. For instance, we know an optimal testosterone level in males is around 800-1100 (ten times higher than in women), a “normal” lab reference range can be anywhere from 200-1100 for men, depending on the reporting lab. Men are typically symptomatic under 400 and women under 40, but that’s in the “normal range”!
How Do You Know if Your Hormones Are “Out of Whack”?
If you are experiencing symptoms of decreased Testosterone, you may want to consider a natural hormone balance method that will optimize your hormone levels 24 hours a day. That is where you will see the long-term health benefits mentioned above. Methods that put your hormones on a roller coaster by taking something every day, or a shot every week, won’t provide the benefits of optimized hormones 24 hours a day.