As men age, hormone levels start to decline, leading to symptoms frequently associated with andropause. This typically results in symptoms such as low libido, hot flashes, irritability, fatigue, and even hair loss. But, andropause can also manifest in erectile dysfunction problems, depression, urinary problems, and muscle loss.
The key to managing andropause symptoms relies on understanding how to maintain balanced hormonal levels.
Age-related muscle loss, also known as sarcopenia, can start as early as 25, but as we continue to age, it continues to become more prevalent. Andropause often manifests with the loss of muscle strength in conjunction with an overall loss of muscle mass.
The muscle loss attributed to andropause is a result of declining testosterone levels, which is vital to muscle strength. When testosterone levels drop, your body lacks enough hormones to bind to your muscle cells and keep up with building strong muscles.
Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is one of the most commonly known signs of andropause. Hormones are responsible for many functions in your body, so when they start to deplete symptoms such as erectile dysfunction are more prominent. Low cortisol levels can have a detrimental effect on testosterone, which plays a crucial role in ED.
Sex drive in men starts with the release of testosterone, which is responsible for stimulating androgen receptors. When testosterone levels begin to become lower with the onset of andropause, low libido is often a result of this hormonal imbalance. Typically, when men don’t have an adequate testosterone count, low sex drive becomes relatively common.
While the cause is still not clear, there is a high connection between weight gain in men and andropause, which is most likely related to hormonal imbalances. Weight changes are attributed to low testosterone and high cortisol levels, which have been linked to body fat and decreased muscle mass. Weight gain, especially in the mid-section is a common symptom many men experiencing andropause.
Urinary problems are not exclusively related to andropause, as many men suffer urinary issues including urinary incontinence and painful bladder as they age. Testosterone, estrogen, and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) imbalances are all related to urinary problems commonly experienced by men going through andropause.
Hormone fluctuations that occur during andropause impact the body’s ability to regenerate hair follicles and maintain healthy hair. In addition to stress, nutrition, and medication, hormonal imbalances can produce thyroid-related hair loss. Men experiencing andropause also notice changes in hair’s texture, often turning dry and thin.
Sleep apnea affects men differently than women. With andropause, the low testosterone levels can contribute to sleep apnea, leading to insomnia, sleeplessness, and tiredness. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) could restore testosterone levels to an optimal range and improve sleep.
Gynecomastia (Male Breasts)
Enlarged male breasts is often the result of hormonal imbalances, which is why this is a symptom commonly experienced during puberty and andropause, when hormonal irregularities are more likely to occur.
In essence, an imbalance in testosterone and male estrogen levels are responsible for gynecomastia in men experiencing andropause.
There Is Relief to Andropause Symptoms
With a functional approach to medicine, andropause symptoms can be managed with bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Other treatments, such as Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) and male sexual health treatments can help improve symptoms.