What Is ‘Male Menopause’?

I can’t believe it’s already November!  In honour of ‘Movember’ or Men’s Health Awareness Month, I wanted to bring some attention to ‘Male Menopause’ (or ‘Man-opause’ as some would call it) – a men’s health issue that is quite common, yet under-recognized.  For women – please bring this article to the attention of any men in your life!  

‘Andropause’ is the term that describes ‘Male Menopause’, and it refers to a transitional period for men, whereby testosterone levels can start to decline Andropause will typically occur between 40 – 50 years of age for men; however, testosterone can even begin to decline for men in their 30’s.  There are many similarities between Andropause and Menopause, but there are two important differences that make it harder to recognize in men:

1) Women have a steep drop in hormones at menopause, so it’s easier to spot symptoms.  With men, however, testosterone decreases more slowly, making andropause difficult to detect.
2) At menopause, women have hot flashes or night sweats that signal more obvious hormone changes.  At andropause, men experience more non-specific symptoms (i.e. fatigue, lower stamina, etc.) that are often passed off as “normal signs of aging”.

Testosterone is a key hormone for both women and men, but I will list the important functions of testosterone as it pertains to men’s health:

– Testosterone helps to preserve muscle mass
– Testosterone increases bone density
– Testosterone reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease
– Testosterone helps to maintain a healthy weight
– Testosterone improves energy levels and libido
– Testosterone is essential for brain health
– Testosterone helps to improve cognition, focus, and memory
– Testosterone is important for mood and mental health

As you can see, testosterone is much more than a hormone that increases muscle mass – it plays a critical role in all aspects of men’s health!  If testosterone levels become low, you may notice the following symptoms:

– Fatigue
– Decreased strength or stamina
– Loss of muscle mass
– Irritability
– Hair loss
– Erectile dysfunction
– Low libido
– Depression or mood swings
– Poor memory or focus
– Weight gain
– Sleep issues

These symptoms significantly impair the quality of life for many men.  Since these symptoms are non-specific, and since some men don’t like to discuss health issues until it’s an emergency, men will often sweep these symptoms under the rug.  I try to detect these symptoms as early as possible for men!  After a detailed review of your symptoms and medical history, we will run specialized saliva or urinary hormone testing to detect any male hormone imbalances, including testosterone.

Here are some important health and lifestyle factors that you can follow to maintain healthy testosterone levels:

1) Weight Loss: Increased body fat stores can convert your testosterone to estrogen, leading to lower testosterone levels, which also makes it easier for you to gain more weight and store more fat.
2) Exercise: Rigorous exercise will help boost your natural testosterone production!  Strength exercise is very important for boosting testosterone and muscle mass.
3) Reduce Stress: Elevated stress hormones, such as cortisol, can also contribute to lower testosterone levels, so its imperative that you learn to manage your stress effectively.
4) Reduce Alcohol: Alcoholic beverages can cause testosterone to be converted to estrogens more efficiently.  It’s best to minimize alcohol consumption as much as you can to preserve testosterone levels.
5) Detoxify: We encounter many toxins every day and many of these are ‘hormone-disrupting chemicals’.  These toxins, especially those found in plastics, can interfere with our hormone levels (including testosterone).
6) Follow A Healthy Diet: Testosterone production is reliant upon having a good supply of nutrients.  Having optimal levels of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids, etc. will ensure your body has all the help it needs to produce more testosterone.  We can use specialized testing to identify any of these nutrient deficiencies.

If you have been experiencing any of the symptoms of ‘Andropause’ or low testosterone, don’t hesitate to contact our Naturopathic Clinic so we can assess this further and develop a natural treatment plan to correct any hormone imbalances you may have!

Yours in health,

Dr. Michael Morsillo, H.B.Sc., N.D.
Newmarket Naturopathic Doctor

16655 Yonge St., Newmarket, ON
905-898-1844 ext. 135