Male menopause? Is that even a thing?
You’d be surprised. Because similar to women, men also experience hormone imbalances and waning levels of testosterone that result in a range of symptoms. Women going through menopause is a much-hyped and talked about phenomenon. But, men also face their own set of challenges that they are very likely not to talk about openly. If you’ve just turned 45, know that it is normal to sense that your body is starting to slow down. Like this feature on WebMD describes, the symptoms have a medical term – andropause, and no, it is not just “in your head.”
Can You Identify with Any of These Symptoms of Male Menopause?
Science now recognizes that men show signs that the levels of the testosterone hormone are declining in their bodies. As the expert consultants at the Beverly Hills Rejuvenation Center for hormone replacement treatment explain, these hormones are released by the testes and responsible for a range of normal functions. In the absence of adequate levels of chemicals, you may notice both physical and psychological effects. Some of the symptoms include:
- Fatigue and low energy levels with feelings of weakness
- Difficulty in falling and staying asleep with disturbed sleep patterns
- Softer muscles and reduced muscle mass
- Weight gain and higher levels of body and belly fat despite following the same diet and exercise plan you have followed for the past 3 decades
- Loss of scalp and body hair
- Hot flashes
- Osteoporosis and lower bone density
- Chronic aches and pains
- Erectile dysfunction and lack of libido
- Development of swelling and tenderness in the breasts also called gynecomastia
- Infertility and problems with ejaculation
- The decrease in the size of the testicles
- Type 2 diabetes
- Depression, anxiety, and irritability
- Lower levels of motivation to perform daily tasks including getting up and going to work each morning
- Lack of self-esteem
- Brain fog and difficulty in concentration
If you can relate to a few or many of these symptoms, you could be going through male menopause.
Treating Hormone Imbalances in Men:
Should you check this discussion published by the Mayo Clinic, you will learn that andropause initiates at about age 30 years when testosterone levels start to drop at rates of 1% each year. If you have been noticing health issues, it is advisable to consult your medical practitioner. The exact levels of hormones can be assessed with a simple blood test. If the results show that you need help, you can choose from the many treatment options available today.
Hormone Replacement Therapy as an Option:
Just as synthetic progesterone and estrogen are recommended with caution for women because of their many side effects, doctors are hesitant about prescribing them for men also. For instance, supplements like DHEA, the acronym for dehydroepiandrosterone can be taken for male menopause, but they are known to have adverse effects and remain controversial. Some of the possible side effects include:
- Raised risk of heart attack
- Formation of clots in the blood vessels
- Development of benign growths in the prostate
- Stimulating the growth of existing cancer in the prostate
- Sleep apnea
- Increase in the frequency of urination
- Acne and breakouts
- Fluid retention and bloating
- Raised cholesterol and number of red blood cells
Conventional hormone replacement therapy for male menopause can be taken in three forms, so you can choose the channel that fits in best with your lifestyle.
- Testosterone patches that can be applied on the abdomen, buttocks, back, or arms (You’ll use a new patch each day and rotate the sites where you apply it)
- Testosterone injections administered in the buttocks every 2 to 3 weeks by your medical practitioner
- Testosterone gel that is applied on the shoulders, abdomen, or arms in prescribed amounts every day
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy:
If you aren’t quite confident of conventional hormone replacement therapy (HRT), try other natural methods that can replace the hormone levels in your body, but without the risk of side effects. A good option is to try bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. While you will receive the hormones in supplement form, the key difference is that the chemicals are sourced from plants and customized to match your needs. The doctors will conduct a blood test to evaluate the exact deficiencies. Next, they will formulate an HRT program that matches the imbalance and works to replace the required chemicals. Rest assured that the program has absolutely no side effects and gives you the results you want naturally.
Lifestyle and Dietary Changes to Restore Hormone Balances:
Rather than pump chemicals into your body, you might want to consider using natural methods to deal with the male menopause. HealthLine advises adopting the right lifestyle changes to stabilize your body. You can also add certain foods that mimic the effects of testosterone in your body.
Consider adopting these lifestyle rules to compensate for the declining hormones:
- Recognize the fact that your metabolism slows down with age and gaining weight could affect your health. Get regular exercise and eat smaller portions that are easy to digest.
- Get adequate amounts of sleep and focus on sleeping for at least 8 hours every night. Cut back on digital time if you have to.
- Lower stress levels by taking on fewer responsibilities at work. Understand that you have limitations and take up techniques for serenity like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga, to name a few.
- Keep your brain active by playing mental games and have regular interactions with family and friends.
- Go over the prescription medications you’re taking with your doctor and identify the ones that could be accentuating the hormone decline. Ask for substitutions that cause less damage.
Certain foods help raise the levels of testosterone in the body. Consider adding them to your diet and watch your health improve.
- Egg yolks
- Seafood like tuna, oysters, and shellfish
- Beans, legumes, and fortified cereals for vegetarians and vegans
- Low-fat milk supplemented with foods containing vitamin D for easy calcium absorption
Aging and male menopause is a natural process of life, and the best way to deal with it is to accept the process and adapt to it. Make the necessary changes to compensate for the symptoms and if needed, try plant-based supplements that will help you cope and have a better quality of life.