What Is Andropause?

No doubt you have heard of menopause. But what do you know about andropause? Who does it affect and what is it exactly?

Andropause is often called male menopause. It occurs in older men much like menopause occurs in women of a certain age. Men would probably prefer the term andropause to male menopause. It is characterized by low testosterone levels.

Testosterone is the main male reproductive hormone. During puberty it is responsible for the growth of the genitals, male hair growth and changes in the tenor of the male voice for a start.

As men age, their testosterone levels do decrease. But the question is whether or not they are naturally being lowered or if the low testosterone levels that a man is experiencing are a symptom of andropause. The answer to this question is as important for men as for the women who love them.

Andropause occurs more gradually in men than menopause does in women. Because of the slower rate of change, the signs and symptoms can often be attributed to other conditions. While men do experience testosterone decline in their 50s, the process may start earlier than that.

One noticeable symptom is erectile dysfunction. For a husband, this can seem like the end of the world. To make matters worse, his sex drive may have dropped a notch or two as well. Sexual prowess and skill is often a sign of manhood and difficulties with these can trigger all sorts of emotions.

Along with the sexual issues is the loss of muscle. After age forty, muscle decreases in both men and women. Signs of weakening may not be noticed if the man is sedentary in his lifestyle. Bone density also falls. Men are not as markedly affected by osteoporosis as women but it does occur.

Lack of testosterone also affects mood. Feelings of irritability, anger and depression are evident in some men. A good night’s sleep can be difficult to achieve when other mood issues are present.

Tiredness can result in less activity but that doesn’t necessarily mean a loss of appetite. So, when activity goes down and eating habits stay the same or increase, so does the body fat. This is not a favorable position because an increase in body fat, especially around the abdomen, can lead to a host of unhealthy conditions:

* Heart disease
* Diabetes
* Stroke
* High blood pressure
* High cholesterol

If you thing that you might be affected by andropause, talk to your doctor. The stigma of the condition has kept many men from seeking help for their condition. If any answers are going to be found, it will be because sufferers have come forward. Your doctor can help but only if you make the first move.