People joke about men having a mid-life crisis and going through menopause like women do, but it is no joke; male menopause is real. Doctors usually refer to it as androgen or testosterone decline.
Male menopause occurs when the hormone testosterone declines with aging. It can also happen in conjunction with certain diseases like diabetes. The symptoms associated with male menopause are nothing to scoff at. They can include: fatigue, weakness, depression and sexual problems. The sexual problems can be as serious as infertility and erectile dysfunction.
According to doctors at Stanford University a small percentage of infertility cases are caused by male menopause, but when it happens it can be hard to treat. Infertility can be further intensified by excessive exercise, alcohol, medications, stress, and poor diet. While healthy testosterone levels are vital in order to avoid infertility issues, so many other factors have to be considered. The University of Maryland Medical Centre reports that about a third of infertility problems are due to male infertility and another third are due to female infertility. In the rest of the cases, infertility impacts both partners or the cause of the infertility is unclear.
It is estimated that about 30 million men around the world suffer from erectile dysfunction. Just how many of those erectile dysfunction cases are due to male menopause in unknown; however, we do know that only about 40 per cent of those diagnosed with erectile dysfunction are over the age of 40 so age is not the only risk factor. There has been growing research in recent years to suggest that low testosterone can lead to erectile dysfunction.
According to British research a tenth of men in their 40’s have male menopause symptoms. Many don’t get an early diagnosis because they are uncomfortable talking to their doctors about their sexual problems, especially erectile dysfunction. Younger men tend to have higher testosterone so the researchers point out that early diagnosis is important. After all, it could be a warning sign of diabetes or heart disease. Currently, male menopause affects about 2 million Brits. London is home to the Andropause Society, a group that does extensive testosterone deficiency testing and education.
Over 20 million men in North America between the ages of 35 and 55 are experiencing menopause. Aside from infertility and erectile dysfunction concerns, low testosterone levels can have an impact on other aspects of a man’s health, including…
• Bone density
• Fat distribution
• Muscle strength and mass
• Red blood cell production
There is treatment available for male menopause; however, just like female menopause remedies, the male menopause treatments can be controversial. For example, hormone replacement therapy is available through absorbable pellet implants, injections, topical ointments and patches. Female hormone therapy has been linked to an increase in the risk of some forms of cancer.
Studies show that diet can play a big role in the treatment of male menopause and anti-aging in general. The Mayo Clinic recommends fruits, vegetables and plant-based proteins. The Journal “Nutrition” has published reports that suggest testosterone levels fluctuate in men who consume more zinc, so you can include foods like oysters, crab legs, chickpeas and cashews in your diet. The herb fennel has also been used for treating male menopause.
As we age hormone levels are sure to decrease so if you want to be prepared there are some anti-aging tips you can consider; options that will help you maintain a good testosterone level. Weight training, eliminating a lot of fat from your diet, avoiding a lot of drugs that impair liver function and managing stress are a few examples. Your family doctor, certified nutritionist or naturopath can provide you with anti-aging tips as well.
The more you learn about male menopause, the more confident you will feel about aging.