Understanding Men’s Issues: Testosterone & Andropause
TESTOSTERONE is considered to be the hormone of desire. This article as well as several to follow will be devoted to TESTOSTERONE (T) and its incredible health benefits for both men and women. Historically there has been more research devoted to the effects of testosterone in women, than research on the effects of testosterone in a man’s body. Some of this research with women started back in the early 1940’s. This probably has something to do with man’s constant curiosity and fascination with women. It hasn’t been until recent years that “T” has become of worldwide interest to most men, especially to the aging adult male.
For years hormone replacement therapy for women has dominated the market place in both sales and research. Women have always seemed to possess a more conscious awareness about their health and take better care of themselves than men. But times are changing. Never before have we seen such an increase in the interest and sales of “T” and related hormone replacement therapy for men. “T” the abbreviation referring to testosterone is generally well understood by most men to be testosterone. Men have finally figured out what their female counter parts have known for years. Life can be much more enjoyable and fulfilling with some self awareness and knowledge about the changes they will experience with the aging process.
THIS ARTICLE WILL BE DEVOTED TO A BETTER UNDERSTANDING ABOUT MEN AND
ANDROPAUSE is the term that is used to describe a man’s menopause-like condition. Andro meaning “androgen” and pause “to stop”. Thus andropause refers to that time of a man’s life when he will experience several changes in his body both dramatic and subtle, due to the drop in androgens primarily “TESTOSTERONE”. Androgen, also called “androgenic hormone” or “testoid”, is the generic term for any natural or synthetic compound, usually a steroid hormone, that stimulates or controls the development and maintenance of male characteristics in vertebrates by binding to androgen receptors. Androgens were first discovered in 1936. Androgens increase protein synthesis within cells which results in a buildup of cellular tissue especially in the muscle. The term “anabolic” generally refers to having a positive effect on growth in the body. Androgens are also the original anabolic steroids and precursor of, all estrogens…the female sex hormones.
Testosterone is therefore the androgen precursor (or starting hormone) which can be metabolized (metabolically or chemically changed) in a man’s body toestrogen. This conversion also occurs in a women’s body. The problem with this conversion in a man’s body is that estrogen is not a man’s primary sex hormone. Testosterone is a man’s primary sex hormone not estrogen. As a man ages, typically testosterone levels drop while estrogen levels increase. Thus we see the onset of andropause, or the symptoms of low testosterone, which can be accompanied with elevated estrogen levels. In essence a man can become less “manly”.-
DO YOU HAVE LOW TESTOSTERONE?
“ADAM”… ANDROGEN DEFICIENCY IN AGING MEN
- Do you have a decrease in libido (sex drive)? Yes No
- Do you have a lack of energy? Yes No
- Do you have a decrease in strength and/ or endurance? Yes No
- Have you lost height? Yes No
- Have you noticed a decreased enjoyment of life? Yes No
- Are you sad and/or grumpy? Yes No
- Are your erections less strong? Yes No
- During sexual intercourse, has it become more difficult to maintain your erection to completion of intercourse? Yes No
- Are you falling asleep after dinner? Yes No
- Has there been a recent deterioration in your work performance? Yes No
If you have answered yes to question #1 or #7, or at least three of the other questions you may have low testosterone levels.
Morley JE. J Gend Specif Med. 2001; 4(2): 49-53, St. Louis University School of Medicine.
The “ADAM” test is a short heads-up awareness test for all men to take to become aware of some of the symptoms of andropause. If you are experiencing these symptoms of andropause it should be a wake-up call. Take this opportunity to contact a health care professional who specializes in hormone replacement for men. This might be the appointment that can change your life. This article and articles to follow will address many, many more symptoms and their ramifications to the health of the adult aging male.
A personal note: When I turned 50 years of age, I had reached another decade or milestone in my life. It seemed that all of a sudden I was not sleeping very well. I was waking up with miserable night sweats, to extent that I would have to get out of bed and get a towel to dry off. What a disruptive night’s experience. At this point in time andropause was not well defined much less talked about. With a little time, some lab work, a little research and a self awareness of symptoms I finally figured it out. I was in andropause. Although my labs were in the “normal” range they were too low for me as an individual to control my symptoms. To my dismay with the aging process, I had become less “manly”. Now, after 12 years of “T” supplementation, I have returned to my more “youthful self” at 62 years of age. I believe that this personal experience has prepared me to be a much more effective Pharmacist Clinician, through my consults, to help other men with their andropause and related hormone imbalances. Tom White
When a man starts into andropause the symptoms can be very subtle and it may take years to manifest into issues that are more significant. Typically women are much more sensitive to the changes that a man is experiencing than the man himself. This is likely because his changes are probably having an impact on her life as well.
It is important to recognize symptoms with any change in the body and especially as we age. However sometimes more important are the silent diseases we are not aware of. Testosterone in men as their primary sex hormone, like estrogen in women, is what keeps a man healthy. More and more research and articles relating to the aging process are being published each year that substantiate the notion that the benefits of hormone replacement for the aging population could be very beneficial to preventing many age related problems, such heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis. When we look at the statistics for osteoporosis alone and its economic impact on our society, the numbers are staggering. We know that the anabolic or body building effect of androgens can be very significant. Testosterone, as one of the most potent androgens of the body, plays a vital role in the aging process. As testosterone levels diminish, degenerative processes set in.
I’ll continue this discussion of Testosterone in my next article.