When you hear the word menopause, the first thought that comes to mind is the time in a woman’s life when her body produces less estrogen and progesterone hormones. Did you know that men also undergo a menopause? As men advance in age, their bodies produce less of the testosterone hormone, the primary sex hormone, leading to age-related low testosterone or hypogonadism. Recent studies reveal that hypogonadism affects about 5 million men in the United States today. Testosterone is crucial to the production of sperms, development of body hair, and muscle growth. Ideally, men begin to experience a decline in testosterone levels in their late 40s to early 50s. Here is everything you should know about male menopause.
Causes of male menopause
The cause of male menopause has been under controversy for the longest time because the testosterone level threshold in men has never been set. Men begin to experience a 1.6% decline in their testosterone every year after they hit their 30s. This decline is usually unproblematic until they are well advanced in age. However, medical experts argue that it is healthy for testosterone levels to fluctuate as you age. Several lifestyle factors such as an unhealthy diet, smoking, insufficient physical activity, and poor-quality sleep could cause low testosterone levels. Some medical conditions and medications such as stroke, chemotherapy, uncontrolled diabetes, and gall bladder surgery could also reduce your testosterone levels significantly and stimulate the onset of male menopause.
Diagnosis of male menopause
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms discussed above, it would be best to visit a nearby healthcare facility and get tested. It is crucial to let your doctor know what medications you are taking to rule out whether or not they are the cause of your declining testosterone levels. Your doctor will check your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar for signs of metabolic syndrome.
The healthcare provider will also check your BMI and weight status and ask you whether your family has a history of low testosterone levels. Since reduced testosterone affects your bone density, your doctor might need to conduct a couple of bone density tests. Other crucial assessments your doctor might perform include follicle-stimulating hormone, MRI, and genetic testing.
Blood tests to determine low testosterone levels
Besides the tests discussed above, doctors will also take samples of your blood to determine whether your testosterone levels are low. Since testosterone levels are highest in the morning, your doctor will request you to arrive for your appointment between 7 am and 10 am. Standard blood tests to determine testosterone levels include luteinizing protein test, A1C blood test, testosterone level test, blood hemoglobin, and prolactin tests. You might need to take these tests more than once before your doctor concludes you are experiencing male menopause.
Signs and symptoms
Common signs and symptoms of menopause in men include low energy, loss of muscle mass, and reduced libido. The individual might also be irritable, have an unstable mood, and have difficulty concentrating on tasks. Male menopause is also associated with memory problems and symptoms such as hot flashes and sweating, which are common in female menopause. However, some men display no visible signs of menopause despite low testosterone levels. The signs and symptoms of male menopause are often subtle and advance slowly over time.
Treatment for Low T
If you are experiencing male menopause, one of the best ways to reverse depleting levels of testosterone. You can start testosterone replacement therapy today as a way to reverse signs of aging. The hormone in TRT is usually administered through pellets implanted in the hip or buttock, injections, daily oral medications, a transdermal gel, cream or patch, or a nasal inhaler. Some of the benefits of TRT include increased bone strength, memory, muscle mass, and libido. That said, ensure you seek guidance from a qualified medical practitioner before using any form of therapy or supplements.
How to cope with male menopause
We understand that male menopause is a difficult situation that could lead to mental and psychological unrest. You could reach out to a therapist to help you unpack the various emotions you are feeling during these trying times. You could also talk to trusted friends and family or join a support group. Listening to other people’s experiences will help you know you are not alone.
Fortunately, male menopause doesn’t affect sperm production. However, symptoms of menopause could reduce the quality of life. Studies have also linked low testosterone levels with cancer, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease, which could be fatal. It is thus vital to monitor and manage your testosterone levels well as you age and use options like TRT to reverse the depleting levels.