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Unlike women, men don’t experience a complete decline in sex hormones. But there is a lesser-known syndrome known as andropause – when a man experiences a decline in testosterone and develops symptoms as a result.

So what does andropause look like, and what can be done to alleviate symptoms? Let’s take a closer look at ‘male menopause’.

What is andropause?

Think of it as a more subtle version of menopause. Over time, men can experience a decline in the function of the HPG axis (the axis that links the brain and reproductive organs). This can cause testosterone levels to drop.

In studies of men aged 75+, the average testosterone levels are 35% lower than young men. They also found that over ¼ of men over 75 were classified as testosterone deficient.

The symptoms of male menopause

How do you know if your partner is experiencing this decline? The interesting part about this syndrome is that not all men will experience symptoms, even if their levels are dropping. This is because the threshold for symptoms varies from person to person.

However, some of the common symptoms you might spot include:

  • Decreased libido
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Impaired memory and concentration
  • Lack of motivation
  • Sleep disturbances and insomnia
  • Weight gain and/or muscle loss
  • Hot flushes (yes, men get them too!)

So to put it simply: while we women rage against the machine (or the patriarchy that constrains us & keeps us busy with busy work) in menopause, men seem to go quiet, put on weight & slump on the couch! It might also explain why so many women get frustrated with their partners around this point in life.

Health risks associated with andropause

The symptoms are one thing, but there are also health risks that come with declining testosterone levels. Like oestrogen and progesterone are protective for women when in balance, testosterone helps to prevent many serious health concerns.

Low testosterone and/or andropause have been associated with:

  • Osteopenia and osteoporosis
  • Cognitive decline
  • Dementia
  • Abdominal weight gain – this feeds into heart disease, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes risk

If your partner is looking to be around and healthy for decades to come, any sign of andropause needs to be addressed ASAP to reduce their risk of serious chronic conditions.

How to tackle the symptoms of male menopause

Now that you know what is happening, what can be done about it? There is a lot that can be done, but to keep it simple, I recommend these key steps:

Get their blood sugar levels under control – this will help to control the weight gain, reduce fatigue and decrease the risk of multiple long-term health conditions

Address the underlying inflammation – as with any health risk, inflammation control is a must. Low testosterone is linked to higher systemic inflammation, but with some diet and lifestyle tweaks, you can bring it back down to a manageable level.

Add in some physical activity – studies show that exercise can boost testosterone levels in older men. There is evidence for both resistance training and HIIT for its testosterone-boosting effects, so he can add one, other, or both!

Manage the stress (don’t just ignore it!) – another way that testosterone can drop is through elevated stress. Unfortunately, men have a tendency to ignore or suppress their stress rather than coping with it in a healthy manner! But to beat andropause, he will need to find a way to process stress that doesn’t involve drinking, eating junk food or playing on the X-box!

Drop the excess kgs – this is a bit of a catch-22, as low testosterone can increase weight gain, but weight gain can suppress testosterone. One study found that an increase of 4-5 points in BMI was linked to the equivalent testosterone drop of 10 years of ageing. So if a man wants to maintain a good level of testosterone for longer, losing any excess body weight can help.

Suspect your man is battling andropause?

If your man is snoozing on the couch more often than not and losing his interest in anything other than beer & TV, maybe his body needs some TLC to help buffer the changes in hormones. After all, we can empathise with what changing hormones feels like!

Many couples find it beneficial to work together on their health, thanks to the extra accountability and support it provides them. If you, your partner, or both are keen to stop feeling crummy, I’m here to support you.

Book in for a free discovery call today, and we can explore how you can feel better naturally.