You’re getting older – you admit it. You’ve gained some weight in the middle, your sex drive isn’t what it used to be, and you’re starting to lose your hair. Maybe you feel depressed. And every once in a while, you get what you swear are hot flashes.
You’re not the first man to experience these things, and you’re certainly not alone.
Chances are, you’re going through andropause, or male menopause. Quit laughing – this is a very real condition that affects most men as they age.
Andropause is the version of male menopause (andro means “male”), and just like its female counterpart, has everything to do hormones. It’s sometimes referred to as LOH (late onset hypogonadism) or ADAM (androgen decline in the aging male).
As men age, their testosterone levels start to decline. After you turn 30, your testosterone starts to drop by 10% every decade – that’s 1% a year.
And in case you didn’t know, testosterone is the hormone responsible for your deep voice, your muscle mass, and your body and facial hair.
When testosterone levels start to taper off, it can produce both physical and psychological symptoms.
Unlike with menopause, andropause comes on slowly. Women, on the other hand, experience a sudden drop in female hormones, which make menopause rather uncomfortable.
Only about 30% of men in their 50s will experience symptoms of andropause. But about half of men in their 80s experience symptoms of male menopause.
What Causes Male Menopause?
Andropause is age-related. As you get older, your body naturally starts producing less testosterone. It’s a difficult condition to prevent without the help of medication or OTC supplements.
Men under the age of 40 have testosterone levels of 1000 ng/dl or higher. By the time they reach 80, their testosterone levels will have dropped to about 200 ng/dl – a big difference.
Not all men will experience male menopause. In fact, some will maintain normal testosterone levels well into old age. But most men will go through this at some point, and many won’t even know it.
That’s right – you can have low testosterone and not even realize it.
A blood test is the only way to confirm whether your testosterone levels are normal or not.
Common Andropause Symptoms
There are many symptoms associated with male menopause, but some are more obvious than others. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Low libido
- Weight gain
- Fewer spontaneous erections
- Muscle loss
- Urinary issues
- The development of male breasts
- Hot flashes
- Hair loss
- Sleep apnea
- Height loss
- Shrunken testes
- Memory loss
- Poor concentration
The symptoms are a mixed bag of both physical and psychological effects that can have a serious impact on your life.
It’s important to note you may not experience all of these symptoms. You may have just one or two, or you may have more than half. That’s why it can be difficult to determine whether men have low testosterone, or some other medical condition.
If you’re experiencing one or more of the symptoms above, consider talking to your doctor about getting your testosterone levels checked.
You may be surprised to find that your chronic fatigue or depression may actually be the result of andropause.
Conventional Treatments for Low Testosterone
You just found out that your testosterone levels are low – i.e. you’re going through male menopause. Great! Now what?
The conventional approach is to start replacing testosterone in the blood through hormone therapy. This type of therapy can help alleviate many of the symptoms you’re experiencing.
There are numerous different ways to boost testosterone levels in the blood, with some of the most common being: gels, injections, skin patches and pills.
Some doctors recommend using topical testosterone gels, which are applied directly onto your skin. Arms are a great place to apply the gel because it will enter the bloodstream more quickly than other spots on the body.
The biggest issue with using gels is that they can transfer to other people. Always wash your hands after applying the gel to minimize the risk of transferring the gel to another person.
Testosterone can also be injected into the muscles every 2-4 weeks as an easy way to boost hormone levels. But there’s a downside to injections: they can cause serious mood swings.
Injections may also be a bad idea for men with kidney disease, heart disease or too much calcium in the blood.
Skin patches are similar to gels, but they work a little differently. The patch is worn on the skin, and a gel-like solution allows testosterone to enter the bloodstream. The nice thing about patches is that hormone levels are raised gradually, so you don’t experience a sudden change in mood or other side effects.
Patches can be applied once per day to the back, thighs or the upper arm.
Pills are one of the most common ways to treat low testosterone, and they’re typically taken twice a day after meals.
While convenient, pills should not be taken by men who have poor liver function, liver disease, kidney disease, heart disease or too much calcium in the blood.
We do find testosterone pills as the easiest options and a great entry point into TRT. If you respond well to OTC t-Boosters, you might want to dig deeper to treat the root cause.
How to Manage Andropause the Natural Way
There are numerous conventional treatments for andropause, but what if you’d rather take a more natural approach?
Men have been using herbs, plants and spices for thousands of years as a way of boosting testosterone and preserving their virility.
OTC supplements are one of the most effective ways to fight back against male menopause, and they tend to come with far fewer side effects. Some of the best low testosterone treatment options include:
The Tongkat Ali root has been used as an aphrodisiac for centuries, and it’s also been used as an ancient treatment for sexual disorders in men.
What’s so special about this root?
For one thing, Tongkat Ali has unique compounds that have been shown to boost semen quality, stimulate libido and support muscle growth.
Researchers believe that the root’s testosterone-boosting properties are responsible for these effects.
In one study, 76 men, 36% of which had normal testosterone levels, were given Tongkat Ali.
By the end of the trial, the number of men with normal testosterone levels soared to 90%.
But as with any other natural supplement, you’ll need to make sure that you’re getting the real thing if you want to see these kinds of results. Always buy Tongkat Ali from a reputable supplier with a reputation for quality.
Grown at high altitudes in Peru, maca root has long been praised for its unique healing properties. Men have been consuming this root for hundreds of years as a way to boost energy levels, improve sex drive and balance hormone levels.
You’ll typically find maca root in powder form at most health food stores. It has a pleasant taste and is incredibly nutrient dense.
Maca is considered an adaptogen, which is a group of foods that help the body naturally adapt to daily life stresses.
These are two of the most common – and most effective – natural treatments for andropause. Both have been used for centuries as a way to treat age-related sexual disorders in men.
They’re natural, safe and offer you a way to finally return to your old self without having to battle side effects along the way.