What Is Andropause? Is It Real?
I often see many women in the practice for menopause related issues but did you know that the male version exists? The male version of menopause is andropause. In menopause, women experience a drastic drop in female hormones that can create mood swings, depression, and even suicidal thoughts. Our poor men get to watch us suffer. However this article is not about women and menopause but about men and andropause.
What is Andropause?
Andropause is the equivalent to menopause, except men have a gradual drop in the production of the androgen hormones, testosterone and DHEA. Some other changes in hormones include androstenedione, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and progesterone. Symptoms often come on gradually and most men won’t make the connection with hormones.
Common Andropause Symptoms:
Gradual loss of stamina and initiative
More fat in the chest and hips
Higher blood sugar levels, triglycerides, and cholesterol levels
Harder to build muscle
Extended recovery from physical activity
What’s the real problem with Andropause?
So let’s face it, there will be a decrease in androgen hormones that can affect some men as they age, however others won’t. This is not just only an older man issue. I have personally seen this in my practice with young men in their 20’s and 30’s.
Besides suffering with symptoms, men also have the challenge that most doctors will over look the symptoms as part of andropause, especially in younger males. Typically, when a male patient presents with these symptoms, he will be treated for each health issue separately instead of looking at the body as a whole. The biggest challenge is that managed care does not routinely measure hormone levels or make the connection of the symptoms noted above with andropause.
Are exogenous hormones the answer?
The buzz word today is low T therapy, in which exogenous hormones are administered in order to increase testosterone levels...however, this may not always be the solution. Testosterone can aromatize into estrogen! Andropause is a more complex issue that involves other body systems and many other factors that affect hormone production.
Some of these include:
Blood sugar balance
Gastrointestinal bacteria activity
A lifestyle approach
Diet – A paleo-keto template is a great foundation for improving hormone balance and over all health for men. This eating template consist of lots of organic green, leafy, and cruciferous vegetables; hormone free chicken, beef, eggs, bison, lamb, and wild caught fish; and nuts, seeds, as well as organic low sugar fruits like berries.
Exercise – The best exercise and most effective exercise for improving testosterone levels are weight training, cross fit, whole body weight movements, in addition to short burst of exercises like sprinting.
Sleep – Getting sleep dialed in for men is important for muscle growth, blood sugar balance, and recovery.
Stress management – Most men are taught to toughen up and suck it up, which results in an implosion instead of explosion! Spending time outdoors, group sports, working out, and have time with the guys are some strategies to manage stress. An overlooked activity because of it’s association with the feminine are yoga and meditation that have amazing health benefits.
Focus on eating cruciferous vegetables that contain indole-3-carbinol and DIM, which assist in estrogen metabolism. They also support healthy liver function. Other plant based support for healthy hormone function include:
The best method to address andropause is to first test hormones through salivary testing or with the new advance method dry urine testing for comprehensive hormones (DUTCH). Most doctors utilize blood tests for testosterone and DHEA, which has its limitations and usually don’t test other important markers for a broader perspective of hormone health. The DUTCH method includes:
Liver detox pathways
What to do
If you suspect a hormonal imbalance, implement the dietary and lifestyle changes suggested, inform your health care provider, and ask for the proper hormone testing. In our office we offer an up-to-date innovative approach to health, which is Functional Medicine. It’s a holistic, whole body approach using advance testing methods while minimizing the need for medication to reverse the disease process naturally while improving and maintaining health. Schedule a complimentary 15 minute phone consultation to see if we can help.