Andropause in men is similar to the menopause in women. Andropause is also referred to as male menopause. It is characterized by reduced production of testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone. Symptoms experienced by middle-aged men during andropause are - fatigue, memory loss, erectile dysfunction, prostate problems, osteoporosis, weight around the belly and lowered sex drive.
The decreased concentration of the testosterone levels does not follow a gradual time span and hence there is no affirmative evidence of the abrupt drop in the testosterone levels. Some studies describe the drop in testosterone levels by symptoms such as decreased sexual activity, increase in body fat, decrease in the muscularity and also cognitive impairment. However the decrease in testosterone levels may also result in lesser bone mass, lack of energy, lethargy, mood swings and irritability. The decreased bone mass due to the andropause may also result in hip fractures in older men.
Symptoms of Andropause
Prolonged refractory period
Lack of enthusiasm
Decrease in muscle strength, mass and endurance
Decreased bone mass
The physiological factors that lead to andropause are poor hypothalamic activity, hormonal deficiencies, hypertension and obesity. Testosterone levels vary from person to person. An average value of serum testosterone levels are taken to facilitate the treatment. The average value of testosterone is greater than 200ng/dl. Any value less than the average are considered as low serum testosterone level. Analog free testosterone method is used for the diagnosis. In order to obtain accurate values of serum testosterone levels, the diagnostic blood tests should be done before 10 am in the morning.
Testosterone replacement therapy
It is employed for andropause which is proven to be the most effective treatment. The objective of this treatment methodology is to improve the libido, erectile function, muscle and bone mass restoration and also improving mental health of the individual. The apparent methods include oral sustained release medications, injections and also through transdermal patches. The advantages of testosterone replacement therapy is that it is gradual, effective and also increases the testosterone levels in a significant manner such high during the morning and gradual decrease during the course of the day.
Disadvantages of testosterone replacement therapy include conditions such as hypertension, pedal edema, liver toxicity, sleep apnea, breast enlargement in older men etc. In addition to these negative effects, inducing testosterone in to the body from external source may hinder the natural spermatogenesis process of the testes.
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Bibliography / Reference
Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: May 14, 2021