Myth or reality? The truth about male menopause
Mood swings, hot flashes, fatigue, decreased sex drive… you may be all too familiar with those symptoms. Problem is, your wife isn’t the one going through “the change”… you are.
Before you go crying in your beer, take a deep breath. No, your manhood isn’t in question——but your testosterone levels are.
I know you typically think of testosterone as a sex hormone. But this pony has more than one trick up its sleeve. One 2007 study showed that men who have low testosterone levels are more likely to die prematurely from all causes. That’s because this hormone plays a role in everything from muscle strength and healthy bones, to energy and positive mood.
Another study published in the Journal of Urology showed that low levels can play a part in metabolic syndrome, a condition that can lead to heart disease and diabetes. Having low testosterone can cause men to gain belly fat, which can cause a domino effect of bad health——starting with an increased risk of diabetes, and ending with cardiovascular disease (or worse).
On the other hand, healthy levels of testosterone have the opposite effect. Because testosterone helps get rid of excess sugar, it helps keep your gut in check——and that’s not just good for your waistline. It also helps control diabetes and helps keep your heart healthy.
But ignoring the problem isn’t going to make it go away. And like it or not, by the time you reach 40 years old, all of your hormones begin to decline, and testosterone isn’t an exception to the rule. Some people estimate that we lose about 1 percent a year. But for men suffering from testosterone deficiency syndrome (TDS), that slow leak is more like a broken dam.
Even if a man loses testosterone at twice the typical rate, he’d have the hormone levels of a 90 year old when he was in his 60s. And trust me, I know all too well that you’ve got a lot of living——and a whole lot of loving——left to do once you hit that “60” mark. But like it or not, according to a study conducted at the University of Sheffield, if you’re over 50 years old…
You have a 1-in-10 chance of having low testosterone
And if you’ve also been diagnosed with diabetes, your odds are even worse. According to a study presented at the Diabetes UK Annual Conference, 50 percent of diabetics suffer from low testosterone.
The problem is that TDS isn’t on the radar of most general practitioners. Dr. Geoff Hackett, Consultant in Sexual Medicine, Good Hope Hospital, Sutton Coldfield said, “Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome is more common than [general practitioners] realize, particularly among men with type 2 diabetes. Erectile dysfunction has been shown to be a robust predictor of [coronary heart disease] risk in men with type 2 diabetes and yet neither testing for low testosterone nor ED assessment are part of the [standard testing procedures].”
It’s no wonder recent figures suggest that only 43,000 men are receiving some kind of hormone treatment. Doctors aren’t testing for it!
Not all countries are in the Dark Ages, though. Recently, the European Association of Urology, the European Society of Endocrinology, and the European Academy of Andrology all published recommendations that include identifying, treating, and monitoring TDS (or, hypogonadism, as they call it on the other side of the pond).
Take a look at these common symptoms of testosterone deficiency syndrome to see if you might fall into the one-in-ten category.
- Weight gain, especially around the midsection
- Loss of body hair
- Mood swings and irritability
- Hot flashes
- Reduced muscle mass
- Erectile dysfunction
- Loss of sex drive
- Mental fogginess
If you have one or more symptoms, head to your urologist to get your testosterone tested.
Reverse the damage from low testosterone
Because testosterone levels can very greatly with age, there’s no standard level that doctors can agree on. In my opinion, it should be between 500 and 1,000ng/cc. Some drop off is normal, but if your testosterone has plummeted to below 500ng/cc, you should consider supplementing with testosterone.
If you do need supplemental testosterone, don’t settle for the synthetic crapola. You’re better off with low testosterone than with that junk.
As always, when it comes to hormones, you should stick with bio-identical. To find a doctor who will give you the good stuff, contact the American College for Advancement in Medicine at www.acamnet.org.
The quicker you get your testosterone back up to speed, the quicker your life (yes, your love life too) will be back on track.
The good news is that with testosterone therapy, you can get your hormone levels back to normal, and all of those life-sapping symptoms will be a thing of the past.
Increased muscle mass? Check.
Improved mood? Check.
Increased sex drive, sexual function, and stamina? Check, check, and… check.
Just remember: I can help you with your testosterone levels, but once they’re up to snuff… the rest is up to you.