Male climacteric, not so unusual

Male climacteric, not so unusual

Like all women who go through menopause between the ages of 45 to 50, men also experience some physiological changes occurring in their life. Unlike their female counterpart, andropause will not affect all men. Both however are distinguished by a drop in hormone levels -- estrogen in the female and testosterone in the male.

Andropause is also known as male menopause or male climacteric. It can be defined as a physiological phenomenon. Most men undergo this between the ages of 40 to 55. Here, there is deficiency of testosterone resulting in decreased physical, mental and sexual activity.

Background

Andropause was first described in medical literature in the 1940s, but the ability to diagnose it is relatively new. Sensitive diagnostic tests, available until the last decade, allowed andropause to remain a topic of debate among doctors. Today, there is an increased interest among doctors in the physical and psychological changes found in men.

The research is incomplete and more investigation is required clearly understanding the aging process.

Role of testosterone

Testosterone hormone is produced in the testes and adrenal glands and then distributed throughout the body. Internally, it is responsible for building protein, regulating the metabolic system, producing blood cells in bone marrow, assisting in liver functions are extremely important for maintaining a healthy body.

 It is absolutely essential in producing erections and regulating the male libido.
The effect of andropause depends on how much testosterone the sufferer is losing or lost.

It is estimated that testosterone level drops by 10 per cent every decade after the age of 30. Some men loose the testosterone level at a faster rate. These men land up in premature andropause.

Signs and symptoms

Unlike menopause in women, men do not have a clear cut signpost. Such as the cessation of menstruation to mark the onset of andropause. Some of the signs and symptoms of andropuase are -- Loss of muscle mass and energy; obesity, gynecomastia (enlarged male breast);     osteoprorosis, cardiovascular problems; erectile dysfunction; loss of libido; premature ejaculation and anejaculation and decreased penile size; baldness (Alopecia), varicocele and protastic hypertrophy; emotional and behavioural changes or mood changes; and loss of interest in daily activities like sports, business, home Improvement and profession.

Cause of Andropause

For all men when they reach their thirties, testosterone production begins to slow down and the production of sex hormone binding globulin increases. Rather than stopping, production of testosterone simply traps and prevents it from being used by the body. Most men produce more testosterone hormone to combat the trapping effects of SHBG. But some men cannot overcome the SHBG. They will suffer from andropause.

Predisposing factors causing premature Andropause: Obesity, diabetes, alcoholism, drug abuse, smoking, lack of exercise or sedentary life style

Diagnosis

Andropause routinely escapes diagnosis because symptoms can be vague and can vary greatly among individuals.

Production of the male hormone begins to decline as early as age 30 and proceeds over several decades until death. Physical examination, measuring the level of testosterone. SHBG 7 semen analysis will reveal the onset of andropause.

Treatment

Medical science is coming up with a number of potential treatments for andropause, all of which revolve around some sort of hormone replacement therapy which can further help to overcome the gaining process.

Side effects of treatment

Some may experience few side effects with the hormone replacement therapy especially when they take excess doses of testosterone.

They may usually develop acne, baldness, breast enlargement, liver damage etc.

Precautionary measures

Naturally, living an unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle with little physical activity and a poor diet greatly increases chances of andropause.

So those in white-collar positions that require little physical activity must follow the below mentioned measures to prevent premature andropause.

* Check the weight and body mass Index (BMI) regularly
* Undergo annual health check up
* Check the level of testosterone
* Do regular exercise, sport activity and yoga
* Include vegetables and fruits in the diet
*Avoid sweet, oily food and high calorie food
* Avoid tension and stressful conditions
* Avoid smoking, alcohol, injuries, surgery and unnecessary medication

- Dr C Sharath Kumar

Director, Mediwave Fertility and Research Hospital

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