What is Andropause?
Andropause is a term used to define the period in a man’s life where there are symptoms related to a decline in active testosterone. These symptoms may include fatigue, increasing weight especially around the middle, mood swings and depression, decrease in exercise tolerance, decline in sexual interest and erectile problems.
It is a natural phase that all men eventually come to, just like women come to the menopause. But this change is more gradual in men than in women, and is more likely to be attributed to “ageing” than a decline in hormone levels.
When does Andropause occur?
Andropause starts to occur as early as 40 years of age. The decline in testosterone levels may however, be accelerated by poor diet and lack of exercise, as well as a genetic predisposition. Twenty percent of men between the ages of 60 to 80 years of age have a lower than normal testosterone level.
How does Andropause affect me?
Some of the symptoms experienced due to Andropause include:
- Loss of sexual interest or erectile dysfunction
- Increase weight around the waist
- Poor concentration, memory loss and reduced work performance
- Depression, anxiety and irritability
In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, andropause is also associated with an increased risk of chronic diseases. A man with a suboptimal but still normal testosterone level may already be at increased risk for coronary heart disease and diabetes, and this risk increases even further with an abnormally low testosterone level. Low testosterone levels also increase the risk of osteoporosis, a disease that is often considered a woman’s disease. A third of osteoporotic fractures actually occur in men.
Can I have Andropause if my blood testosterone results are normal?
Symptoms are usually a more accurate assessment of testosterone insufficiency and they may occur even when testosterone levels fall within normal range. Measurement of active levels of testosterone in the blood is more important than measuring total testosterone levels.