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Men: Watch Out for Male Menopause

Women are not the only ones who end up developing menopause later in life. That's right -- men get menopause too. When men get menopause, it is actually called andropause. The symptoms of andropause are quite similar to the symptoms that women experience before or during menopause.
11/21/2015 01:57pm ET | Updated November 21, 2016
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Women are not the only ones who end up developing menopause later in life. That's right -- men get menopause too. When men get menopause, it is actually called andropause. The symptoms of andropause are quite similar to the symptoms that women experience before or during menopause.

So what is andropause? Andropause is a gradual decline in testosterone. However, this is different from the type of menopause women go through. Menopause in women occurs when the production of hormones suddenly declines. This differs from andropause in that the hormone decline is gradual. In women, the ovaries run out of what it needs to make testosterone. This does not happen when it comes to the male's testicles. Therefore, andropause is often treated by looking at the condition as having low testosterone, which occurs with age.

Men's testosterone levels gradually decline as they get older. This happens about one percent a year after the age of 30 on average. The decline in testosterone is often not noticeable in men younger than 60. Once a man is about 80 years old, about 50 percent have low testosterone.

In the past, having low testosterone levels has been thought of as somewhat a controversial topic. This is due to the fact that the symptoms of low testosterone are often seen with other conditions, such as diabetes. If low testosterone symptoms are occurring as a result of an underlying health condition, then it is important to treat that underlying condition rather than just try to normalize the testosterone levels.

The symptoms of low testosterone include a decrease in libido, difficulty getting or maintaining an erection, reduced energy, depression, irritability and moodiness, loss of strength or muscle mass, increased body fat, and hot flashes.

A simple blood test can check your testosterone levels. If it turns out you do in fact have low testosterone, there are a few options to treat it. First, it is important to determine whether the low testosterone is a result of a more serious underlying condition. If not, then testosterone replacement therapy may an option to help relieve some of the symptoms of male menopause. However, men should discuss this with their doctor as studies have shown that testosterone replacement therapy may be linked to prostate cancer.

How to fight male menopause

Check your testosterone levels. When you reach the age of 50, check your testosterone levels before 9 a.m. The range can be anywhere from 300-1000 but more is not better. Optimal levels of testosterone should be between 400-600. If the first test is low, be sure to repeat it. We should never treat or diagnose low T based on one test.

Consult with a urologist. A urologist will evaluate your medical history, changes in sexual function, low libido, infertility issues, changes in sleep pattern, muscle strength, bone density and weight gain and work on the best treatment path from there.

Mind your dietary habits. If you lose weight, especially that belly fat, you will see your testosterone levels increase dramatically. Your weight should be your height in inches divided by 2. For men, it should be less than 40 inches.

Get more vitamin D. Vitamin D is a big secret to healthy testosterone levels. Foods like shellfish, tuna, salmon, egg yolks, beans and others work great. You can also look into taking vitamin D supplements, 1,000-2,000 IU per day and monitor your levels after that. Vitamin D levels should be between 30-60.