We all get older. We become wiser, smarter and with the gift of time, we get better. We refine ourselves, becoming better at doing the things we love, better at knowing ourselves, and better at relating to our loved ones. Middle age, if you’re lucky enough to get here, is a gift.
Even if we may not feel any differently on the inside, our bodies can start to show signs of wear and tear. Hair loss, weight gain, mood disruption, thyroid issues, and decreased muscle mass all can be signs that your body isn’t producing as much testosterone as it once was. If you’re over 40 years of age (or even as young as 30) and these symptoms sound familiar, you may be experiencing andropause, or what’s colloquially called male menopause.
While the symptoms of female menopause are obvious, men go through a change in hormone levels that’s similar to menopause but more gradual. According to the Mayo Clinic, men’s testosterone levels can start to decline around the age of 30 at a rate of 1 percent per year. A man’s reproductive system does not shut down entirely, but the side effects of reduced testosterone levels are often felt. Other factors can add to reduced testosterone levels as well, including sleep apnea, medication side effects, thyroid problems, depression, and alcohol use.
The symptoms of andropause can take a toll on your quality of life, but there are treatments available to help you regain your vitality, including bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT). But how do you know if you’re really going through andropause? Before seeking treatment, let’s take a look at some of the symptoms of andropause. And if you find you’re experiencing these symptoms, you may want to speak to a physician with specialized training in hormone replacement therapy.
What Are the Signs of Male Menopause?
The symptoms of andropause can vary and be experienced differently in each individual. However, there are common signs that many men experience as their testosterone level drops, including:
- Loss of libido
- Difficulty getting and keeping erections
- Depression or mood swings
- Loss of muscle mass or increased body fat, especially in the belly
- Hot flashes
- Hair loss
In today’s high-stress environment, nobody is surprised when a man is tired. Men at the prime point for andropause (their 40s and 50s) often have families, are at the peak of their career, and face many stressors they weren’t facing in their twenties—of course you are tired! But maybe that fatigue is more than being worn out from daily life.
Loss of libido
For many men, one of the most distressing symptoms of andropause is the reduced sex drive they experience as testosterone levels fall. Unfortunately, many men see it as an inevitable part of aging and are reluctant to talk about it, even if it is causing significant distress. But by recognizing loss of libido as a treatable sign of andropause, you can take steps toward regaining your sex drive.
Difficulty getting and keeping erections
Sometimes andropause presents not as a lack of libido, but as difficulty getting or maintaining an erection. With erectile dysfunction drugs being pushed by advertisers, it’s easy to want to reach for a prescription to “fix” your sex life. But what if you could bring your sex life back to life by getting at the source of the issue? There are hormones replacement options that, when taken under the consultation of a local, certified physician, help you restore your sexual health more safely and naturally than is possible with erectile dysfunction medications.
Depression or mood swings
Do you get angry or sad quicker than you used to? Have you lost interest in life or notice unusual fluctuations in your mood? Hormonal changes can affect every part of your body, including your mental health. If you’re experiencing depression or unusual mood swings for the first time, it’s important to talk to a doctor as soon as possible. If you’ve been diagnosed with a mood disorder in the past, it’s time to see professionals about your new symptoms. Whatever the cause, it’s critical to get to get the right treatment to restore your health and improve your quality of life.
Loss of muscle mass or increased body fat, especially in the belly
We’re told it’s natural for men to “go soft” as they age, but just like lack of libido, this is often caused by treatable hormone fluctuations. Testosterone helps keep your body fat low and muscle mass high. As testosterone levels decrease, it becomes harder to sustain muscle mass and you become more susceptible to weight gain. If you’re working just as hard at the gym as you used to (or harder!) and your diet hasn’t changed, there’s a chance andropause might be the cause of your weight gain.
Retaining muscle mass and avoiding excess weight are paramount to health and safety as you age. By reaching out to a physician who understands how to address hormonal changes, you can reverse the effects of andropause and support healthy body composition.
Hormone fluctuations cause hot flashes in men as well as in women. Hot flashes occur due to the impact of testosterone levels on the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is in charge of sleep cycles, appetite, sex hormones—and body temperature. It’s dubbed the “body’s thermostat” for a reason, and hot flashes happen when it wrongly gets the signal that it’s “too hot.” The brain then sends out an SOS to the entire body, urging it to get rid of the heat, which leads to the heart pumping faster and blood vessels dilating. For many men, this is a very uncomfortable phenomenon, but it can typically be resolved with hormone replacement therapy.
Hair loss is a common complaint amongst men, and there are many causes and types of hair loss, including andropause. While hair loss does not have the same significant physical health implications that some other andropause symptoms, it often has a profound impact on confidence and self-esteem. As such, addressing andropause-related hair loss can be vital for emotional well-being.
Exploring Treatment for Male Menopause Symptoms
Andropause doesn’t have to mean the end of your active years or that you have to live the rest of your life feeling tired, depressed, or unhappy with your body. After all, there is so much left in life to do and so much left to enjoy. And through bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, there’s a way you can enjoy it.
BHRT replenishes the hormones your body needs for optimal health by using customized formulations designed to address your individual needs. Unlike animal-derived hormones, bioidentical hormones are derived from plants and are chemically indistinguishable from your own hormones, which means they are uniquely compatible with your body. Not only does this mean that BHRT can be more effective, it also means the risk of side effects is reduced.
At BodyLogicMD, we specialize in BHRT to help you safely treat the symptoms of andropause and make you feel like yourself again. By working with a physician who specializes in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, you can get back to doing what you love and living life to the fullest.
BodyLogicMD can help you transform your life with expert care from a highly-trained practitioner who specializes in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and integrative medicine. The practitioner within the BodyLogicMD network are among the top medical professionals in the nation specially certified to help you address the symptoms of andropause and achieve your health goals. Get started on a customized treatment plan designed to fit your lifestyle and help you reach optimal wellness. Begin your journey — contact a local practitioner in the BodyLogicMD network to schedule your first appointment or take the BodyLogicMD Hormone Balance Quiz today.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. All content on this website is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent diseases.
Charlotte is a patient care coordinator specializing in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. She is committed to helping patients who struggle with the symptoms of hormonal change and imbalance explore their treatment options and develop effective strategies to optimize wellness.