The hormonal changes woman experience during the aging process is well known. Menopause is the most significant physiological factor affecting healthy women in their late 40's and 50's.
Middle-aged men also experience physiological changes while navigating through and beyond middle age. Andropause is a condition relating to the reduction of hormones dehydroepiandrosterone and, most notably, testosterone.
Unlike menopause, which is a cessation of reproduction capabilities; andropause is more gradual and occurs along the lines of a decrease in Leydig cells. Leydig cells are located in the testicles and play a crucial role in producing hormones that secrete testosterone. Under normal conditions, men will not lose the ability to reproduce.
Andropause has also been called male-menopause and "man-opause" because of the similarities with menopause. Many experts believe that andropause should not be officially classified as a medical condition because men do not lose the ability to reproduce.
Proponents, however, believe andropause is a real condition that presents with valid medical deficiencies which can directly affect quality of life. What is not debatable is the fact that men do experience reduced testosterone production as they age and there are symptoms associated with that process.
Symptoms of andropause can range in severity and do not occur quickly. In fact, distinguishing symptoms relating to low testosterone from other stressors in life can be difficult to recognize initially.
Often times, men are eager to blame symptoms associated with andropause on the normal aging process. Nationally recognized health organizations have stated that andropause symptoms should not be considered only a normal part of aging and those symptoms should be addressed in such a manor.
Although the decline is testosterone is not an overnight process, the levels can be drastically lower than levels were at younger ages. It is believed that most men will have lower testosterone production as early as 30 years old.
Other factors such as hypogonadism, which is a decreased function of the testicles, will also contribute to lower testosterone levels. The continual reduction in testosterone levels will occur at different timeframes for different men and the symptoms will vary on a case by case basis.
In many experiences, early andropause symptoms are subtle. Men commonly describe feeling less energetic and more fatigued. Those symptoms are the types often confused with aging, stress or lack of proper sleep.
Further decreases in testosterone production can certainly lead to a lower libido. Some men even experience a complete loss of interest in sex which may be complicated by erectile problems.
Lower testosterone levels can lead to a reduction in lean muscle mass, bone density and cardiovascular complications. Medical experts have also noted changes in mood and mental health. Men experiencing andropause might feel depressed and easily agitated. Some have described being "mentally worn out" and "forgetful." In most cases, multiple symptoms occur at the same time and progress with greater reduction in testosterone levels.
Different paths can be pursued for help with andropause. There are andropause natural treatment options for men not wanting direct, medical intervention.
Exercise can not only slow the decline in testosterone secretions, but even stimulate testosterone production. Lifting weights will off-set any potential loss of lean muscle mass associated with lower testosterone levels.
Eating a good diet rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals will help with testosterone production and, along with exercise, raise energy levels. A variety of different herbal andropause supplements are available to add to diet plans and provide additional, natural support for relief from andropause.
Androgen Replacement Therapy
Medical intervention usually involves androgen replacement therapy. Androgen is another word for male hormones. Often, testosterone is the central hormone used for these treatments.
Testosterone gels and creams must be obtained through physician prescriptions due to the severity of possible side effects. The use of androgen replacement therapy will help the body return to normal hormonal levels and decrease symptoms associated with andropause. Replacement therapy can also stimulate natural hormone production.
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