That’s right, it’s not just for the ladies. Men suffer from changes which occur in midlife too. So I thought it time to share what we know to help them muddle through a challenging period. You know, share the misery!
Does male menopause exist?
Male menopause, or andropause, occurs after the age of 50 when a man’s testosterone starts to significantly diminish. This often happens in tandem with hypogonadism, which simply means that the sex glands (gonads) stop or produce very small amounts of sex hormones. This affects both men and women, with the sex glands being the testes for the former and the ovaries for the latter.
Testosterone drops not only affect a man’s sex drive, they also fuel the physical and mental abilities and maintain muscle mass.
How is andropause different from menopause?
The biggest difference is that not all men get andropause, but all women will experience menopause. The second is that while menopause shuts down the reproductive organs of women, andropause does not. However, men still suffer from sexual, psychological and physical symptoms, just like women do. Some of the symptoms are:
depression or sadness
insomnia or difficulty sleeping
increased body fat
reduced muscle mass and feelings of physical weakness
gynecomastia, or development of breasts
decreased bone density
and they worsen with age. Some men also exhibit breast tenderness, body hair loss, decreased testicle size, and even hot flashes and osteoporosis (brittle bones). But these symptoms are rare.
Don’t be disheartened, your testosterone was low before puberty and has been decreasing by 1% every year since you hit your 30th birthday. This is natural, just like menopause, and should be treated as such.
Meaning, get a blood test to confirm low testosterone and talk to your doctor about how to manage. I was recently asked what I thought might help increase testosterone (I won’t say who asked me) and here are some things that you can do to increase your levels naturally:
Get enough sleep
Maintain a balanced diet*
Take vitamins and supplements**
Don’t abuse drugs or alcohol
Check your medications for side affects
When it comes to diet* make sure you are eating healthy omega-3 fats like avocados, almonds, coconuts, and protein rich meats. Other testosterone-boosting foods are eggs, milk, garlic, ginger, honey and cabbage. You also want to eat zinc-rich seafood like shellfish, oysters, beans, beef, spinach and mushrooms to help you produce more testosterone. Another way to maintain or increase your testosterone is to cut the sugar from your diet, which can result in a 25% increase.
Another interesting option regarding diet is to try to limit the window in which you eat your meals to 6 to 8 hours, which can increase testosterone levels by 200-400%. It is worth a try to give intermittent fasting a shot. I will be hosting an Intermittent Fasting workshop on Tuesday, November 10. Find all the details here.
Regarding vitamins and supplements**, last week I shared the benefits of Vitamin D, which can also help with testosterone levels. Getting outside in the sunshine helps too. You may want to check out zinc supplements, DHEA, creatine and magnesium as well. However, the best bets are always whole food such as shellfish, pumpkin seeds, salmon, and tuna.
And finally make sure you stay active*** as it will not only increase your libido, it will help you stay mentally and physically fit for years to come. Try HIIT (high intensity interval training) to boost testosterone and strength training to help you build and maintain muscle. Try heavier weights and lower reps.