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Andropause: What Is It And What Can You Do About?

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The Real Deal about Andropause

Let's admit it: We don't talk about andropause as often as we do about menopause. But it is a condition or a state – depending on how you view it – that should be taken seriously because it can lower a man’s quality of life. Male Symbol

Definition of Andropause

Andropause is one of the most common health concerns among men in midlife. It presents with symptoms similar to menopause, but it does not completely end the functions of a male’s reproductive system. This simply means that men who are in the stage of andropause can still father children. (This is as opposed to women who are in their menopause stage.)

The term andropause came from the Greek word 'andro', which means male, and the English word 'pause', which is synonymous to 'stop'. The main feature of andropause is that it comes with a dramatic decrease in the level of testosterone in the male body. When testosterone hits below average levels, the horrible symptoms start knocking. This is the reason why andropause is often associated with hypogonadism, a condition in which the testosterone level goes below the normal range (even for an aging male).

There have been numerous arguments on whether or not andropause must be acknowledged. Since it was discovered in the 1940s, different parties have debated on whether it should be viewed as a health condition and treated as such.

Causes of Andropause

The direct cause of andropause is the decline in testosterone levels. As men age, their body's ability to produce testosterone gradually goes down. At some point, when their testosterone level dips to a certain level, symptoms will begin to manifest in their body.

At first, andropause is asymptomatic, which means that it occurs without any symptom. (This is another huge difference from menopause. Women who go through menopause experience abrupt changes.) Then, all the symptoms can come in a sudden manner. In the case of andropause, the reduction in testosterone level occurs in a gradual manner.

Symptoms of Andropause

Andropause can cause a variety of changes in the male body – physically, sexually, emotionally, and mentally. Osteoporosis, especially in aging males, is often associated with andropause. A low level of testosterone may cause a decrease in bone density in the majority of aging males. Aside from that, decreased muscle mass and strength may also be experienced. Andropause can likewise lead to more body fat, decreased agility, loss of energy, and hair loss.

Sexual issues are commonly associated with andropause. Erectile dysfunction and decreased libido are the most common grievances of men in their middle age and beyond. Men who experience sexual disturbances frequently experience emotional and mental stress as well.

Other warning signs of andropause include mood swings, depression, irritability, nervousness, anxiety, and sleep difficulty. It can also impair memory and decrease the ability to concentrate.

Treatments for Andropause

Men who suffer from the symptoms of andropause are often treated for the specific condition they complain about. If the sexual problems are what bother them most, they will be taught sexual strategies and even be prescribed medicines to cope with them. If their sleep is an issue, they might be given sleeping pills.

Since it is not recognized as a medical condition but only a state in life, continued debates regarding its diagnosis and treatment continue to cloud the issue of andropause. It is still not clear for medical experts if they should acknowledge the existence of andropause and treat men who are diagnosed for it.

In rare cases, testosterone replacement therapy is suggested. This is for extreme cases only because it comes with numerous side effects and may therefore do more harm than good. Testosterone replacement therapy has been associated with an increased risk for prostate cancer. It is also shown to cause stroke. Occasions that require treatment include that when a man's sexual-related complaints could not be addressed by prescriptive drugs such as Viagra. Testosterone replacement therapy is also recommended for patients with extremely low bone density since they are candidates for osteoporosis.

While testosterone replacement therapy is not advisable, there are a lot of things men can do to counteract the effects of andropause. Many of the remedies involve a change in pattern. First, aging men (and even women) should avoid the two things they most frequently abuse: alcohol and cigarettes. These two can exacerbate the horrible signs and symptoms associated with andropause. Ideally, men should totally quit smoking and drinking alcohol, although moderate amounts of the latter can still be accepted.

Next, men should learn to eat right. Loading up on fatty and oily fast food would not do them any good. Middle-aged men are advised to consume more complex carbohydrates such as whole grains while avoiding processed foods. They should also eat more fish, soybean products, tomato-based products, fruits, and vegetables. Eating right should be complemented with enough rigorous physical activity. Diet and exercise go together leading to a healthier life.

Finally, men should be able to stay positive and cheerful especially at this stage of their life. Andropause inevitably occurs to every man who lives long enough. It is a fact of life. So it is best to accept this truth and deal with it in a mature manner. One can still live life to the fullest despite andropause.


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