Andropause (Manopause): A term used to describe suboptimal amounts of testosterone. Andropause is the male equivalent to menopause.
Testosterone is the single most important hormone for a male. As we age our testosterone levels decline. Additionally, men have estrogen which can rise as we get older or as we develop changes in our bodies from accumulating more cellulite (fat). As our testosterone declines or estrogen increases, we get out of balance. When this happens our health is negatively affected.
Testosterone is responsible for everything from deepening of the voice to muscle mass, energy, mood, mental clarity, strong bones and the health of your libido and genitourinary system.
The changes of low testosterone typically occur gradually, usually over the course of years. This is in stark contrast to menopause which usually occurs over a shorter period of time, resulting in more prominent symptoms. This is not to say that menopause cannot start early and last years. It can and does sometimes.
The symptoms of Andropause typically are slow to develop and thus may be overlooked, unnoticed or attributed to just “getting older.” We live in a world punctuated by new chemical exposures through our food, the water and even the air we breathe. These things work together to influence our health, including our hormonal health. In particular, we are exposed to synthetic estrogens which initiate a hormone imbalance even before a testosterone deficiency. This exposure to and accumulation of xenoestrogens results in “estrogen dominance.” It is not uncommon for men to begin to experience testosterone imbalance if not frank deficiency as early as 30 years of age.
Estrogen dominance is characterized by changes in your libido (sex drive) as well as your urinary habits. Additionally, men (and women…yes they can be estrogen dominant) will suffer from gut gain (gaining weight in the abdominal region), depression, decreased energy, decreased concentration or foggy thinking. As your testosterone balance or absolute level diminishes, you will be at increased risk for diabetes, stroke & heart attack.
When evaluating a man with symptoms of low testosterone, we look at the whole patient. We take into account his background, stress and a variety of other factors. The evaluation includes his adrenal gland function as well as his thyroid. These systems are commonly linked and dysfunction in one area can cause dysfunction in another. Our evaluations can include consultation with a functional medicine dietician. Additionally, our bodies function based on the presence or absence of critical nutrients which we evaluate for deficiency and supplementation as needed.
Finally, when replacing testosterone, we work with the client to identify a regimen appropriate for him. We also work to restore optimal physiologic levels. While on therapy, we routine check lab values for testosterone and estrogen as well as blood counts and other related studies.