Low Testosterone Levels : Is There Such A Thing As The Male Menopause?

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There is substantial evidence to suggest that the ageing male starts to see a decline in their natural testosterone levels. Declining testosterone is a natural process that happens in both healthy and less healthy men, this is because men simply don’t need as much testosterone the older they get. As men reach 40 years of age their testosterone levels begin to gradually decline because they are generally past their mating prime, meaning they are less likely to produce children, despite many men having children much later in life.

 

Does Declining Testosterone Induce The Male Menopause?

So technically the ‘male menopause’ isn’t actually a recognised condition, but it is a theory that many researchers are starting to take a little more seriously. Many ageing males complain of feeling irritable, low in energy, poor concentration, man boobs (or moobs), as well as suffering low libido, erectile dysfunction and impotence! When a women’s sex hormones begin to decrease they are deemed to be entering the menopause, and are therefore offered a form of hormone replacement known as Hormone Replacement Therapy or HRT. So when the male’s sex hormones drop, why is it they are not deemed to be entering the male equivalent of the menopause? It’s pretty much the same thing, right?

 

Testosterone therapy

The practice of prescribing testosterone is nothing new, but it has to be prescribed and not bought over the counter. Many people can and do buy testosterone or prohormones on the black market, but this is not strictly legal and is a little risky because it is often impossible to validate the source of the testosterone, or its quality. More recently though, male hormone replacement therapy is gaining ground with prescriptions for testosterone gels and injections doubling to 300,000 a year. Despite this fact, many health professional suggest that the rise in interest for male hormone therapy is simply a result of aggressive pharmaceutical company marketing. Pharmaceutical companies want people to buy their drug therapies and will therefore find any data they can to substantiate their claims. Is this the case with male hormone therapy? Quite possibly.

The U.S released figures of around £2.5 billion a year being spent on testosterone. The testosterone being bought is actual testosterone and not to be confused with testosterone optimisers, the likes of which we sell here at Discount Supplements. The testosterone optimisers that we sell work indirectly by delivering nutritional components such as zinc and magnesium, or herbal remedies such as tribulus (which is now considered a pharmaceutical) and fenugreek. These are all known precursors to testosterone production and serve to increase the production of testosterone, rather than the risky practice of administering out and out testosterone yourself i.e. from the black market. Prescription testosterone is a different matter, this can be validated and prescribed by health professionals.

 

So is there really a ‘male menopause’?

Maybe this drop in mood, irritability, reduced libido, low energy and concentration is a result of general poor health and quality of life claims Professor Fred Wu, director of the Andrology Research Unit in Manchester. He prefers to look at it from the perspective that if you’re testosterone is low, then there’s a good chance it’s because you haven’t been looking after yourself properly. Professor Wu explains that obese men with low testosterone normally find their levels return to normal once they lose weight. There are a number of other factors that can effect testosterone levels other than ‘the male menopause’ including depression and excessive alcohol consumption, says Professor Gary Wittert, head of medicine at the University of Adelaide, Australia.

So if you’re male, should you be concerned about the ‘male menopause’, or should we accept that it is natural for testosterone levels to decline as we age? Well, testosterone levels will decline, but there are measures people can take to minimise the drop in levels such as improving lifestyle and quality of life e.g. healthy diet, regular exercise and a healthy social life. Specialists agree that only around 2 in 100 men actually have low enough levels of testosterone to warrant testosterone therapy, and this is because they have a condition known as hypogonadism which is where the testicles don’t produce enough testosterone to meet requirements.

With this said though, British researchers agree that men with low testosterone, who also suffer from low libido and erectile dysfunction may benefit from male hormone replacement therapy in order to improve quality of life and an overall feeling of well- being. According to Dr Geoffrey Hackett, sexual health specialist at Good Hope Hospital in Birmingham, calling low testosterone levels in men the ‘male menopause’ may not be accurate, and definitely not comparable to the female menopause which effects 100% of women, whereas the so- called ‘male menopause’ only affects 20% of men.

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Source

Mail Online, (2015). Grumpy and lethargic with a low libido. How YOUR man may have hit the male menopause. Retrieved 27th March, 2015, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3003472/Grumpy-lethargic-low-libido-man-hit-male-menopause.html#ixzz3VaOIbGPK

 

About the Author

Job Role Qualified Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist Qualifications BSc (Hons) Sports Science | BSc (Hons) Dietetics Tom has always participated in sport both recreationally and competitively which led to an unquenchable thirst for information on anything health, nutrition and fitness. After leaving school Tom went on to play for a football academy during which time he studied Sport and Exercise Science. From here he went on to study a BSc (Hons) Sport Science at UEA followed by his second BSc (Hons) degree, this time at the University of Hertfordshire studying Dietetics. Tom has worked in the fitness, educational and clinical nutrition industry starting out at David Lloyd Health and Leisure Clubs. He then went on to work as a Dietitian (RD) in the NHS, during which time he conducted clinics for healthy eating, weight loss and weight gain, as well as specialised consultations on Diabetes, IBS and Coeliac disease to name a few. He has vast amounts of experience at devising diet plans and supplement regimens, as well as working in the community with schools and competitive athletes. As Head Nutritionist and Supplement expert at Discount Supplements Tom is here to provide current and evidence based health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals!
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