Andropause, also known as the male menopause, refers to a time when there are hormonal changes in men. These changes relate to age. Andropause symptoms can interfere with daily life and men’s well-being; therefore, identifying these symptoms and knowing how to deal with them is important (1).
Andropause occurs due to decreased testosterone levels in men, so it usually happens when they reach their 40s or 50s. Unlike women during the menopause, andropause symptoms in men are not so obvious, as hormonal production declines slowly and gradually over the years. Because of this, its exact duration is not possible to determine (1,2,3).
In addition, there are other factors that lower testosterone levels, for example, some medications. These include tranquilizers, antidepressants and antihypertensives. Also, certain habits have an impact, such as: lack of sleep, physical inactivity, and unhealthy eating (2,3,4).
What are the symptoms of andropause?
Signs and symptoms begin to manifest as testosterone levels decline; however, it is important to clarify that not all men experience them. That said, we can list the main ones (1,2,3,4):
- Low energy.
- Mood changes: irritability, depression, or deep sadness.
- Decreased motivation.
- Low self-confidence.
- Difficulty concentrating and reduced short-term memory capacity.
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping.
- Increased body fat.
- Reduction of muscle mass and a feeling of physical weakness.
- Gynecomastia; i.e, enlargement of the size of the breasts in men.
- Decreased bone density: bones lose minerals and become weaker.
- Erectile dysfunction.
- Decreased sexual desire and loss of fertility.
In menopause, women often experience pain during intercourse and difficulty reaching female orgasm. On the other hand, during andropause, erections can last less time and lose strength, which can affect sexual health (1).
Additionally, some men may experience complications or other signs and symptoms. These include decreased testicle size, loss of body hair, and hot flushes (1).
What treatment is there for andropause symptoms?
As in menopause, the main treatment for the relief of signs and symptoms is hormone replacement therapy. It should be noted that this procedure must be ordered by a physician, after performing a blood test that measures testosterone levels (3).
The therapy aims to correct the hormone deficiency by replacing testosterone. This can be through pills, patches, gels, implants, or injections (3).
Recommendations for managing the signs and symptoms of andropause
There are some lifestyle changes that can help relieve symptoms. Among them:
Incorporate a balanced diet
Diet has a direct impact on hormone levels in the body, including testosterone. Eating a balanced diet, including whole foods, a balance of healthy fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, helps regulate testosterone levels. In this way it is possible to reduce andropause symptoms (1,2,5).
Get regular physical activity
Regular exercise helps increase testosterone levels. All types of exercise can help increase testosterone; however, strength training and HIIT are the most effective. In addition, physical activity is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of developing some diseases associated with lifestyle (1,6,7).
Get enough sleep to reduce andropause symptoms
Another of the essential recommendations for facing this stage and reducing symptoms is getting a full night’s sleep. Sleep is as important to health as diet and physical activity. Several studies show that when you get 7-9 hours of high-quality sleep daily, your testosterone levels stay in a healthy range (3,6).
Learn to control stress and anxiety levels
Finally, you should try to keep relaxed and reduce stress and anxiety levels. Increased stress causes testosterone levels to decrease proportionally. In other words, if stress levels go down, testosterone levels go up. Guided meditation is recommended, breathing techniques and dedicating time to the things you enjoy most to keep stress and anxiety at bay (3,6,8).
If you find yourself experiencing andropause symptoms, avoid self-medicating; see your physician and talk to them about the signs, tests, and possible treatments. Only your physician can guide you on what is best for you.
- Krans B. What is male menopause [Internet]. Healthline; 2018 [cited 2022 Oct 10]. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/male
- Mayo Clinic Staff. Male menopause: Myth or reality? [Internet]. Mayo Clinic; 2022 [cited 2022 Oct 10]. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/mens-health/in-depth/male-menopause/art-20048056
- NHS. The ‘male menopause’ [Internet]. 2022 [cited 2022 Oct 10]. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/male-menopause
- HCH. What is male menopause? (Andropause) [Internet]. 2020 [cited 2022 Oct 10]. Available from: https://www.henrycountyhospital.org/news-events/news/2020/may/what-is-male-menopause-andropause-/
- NHS. Eating a balanced diet [Internet]. 2022 [cited 2022 Oct 14]. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/how-to-eat-a-balanced-diet/eating-a-balanced-diet/
- Mawer R. 8 Proven Ways to Increase Testosterone Levels Naturally [Internet]. Healthline; 2022 [cited 2022 Oct 10] Available from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/8-ways-to-boost-testosterone
- NHS. Benefits of exercise [Internet]. 2021 [cited 2022 Oct 14]. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/exercise-health-benefits/
- NHS. Stress [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2022 Oct 14]. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/feelings-symptoms-behaviours/feelings-and-symptoms/stress/