By Waldo Acebo, MD
Andropause is to men what Menopause is to women.
Also known as Male Menopause, or Partial Androgen Deficiency in the Aging Male (PADAM), this process is gradual and expands over decades. In fact, starting at about age 30, testosterone levels drop by about 10 percent every decade. Attitude, psychological stress, alcohol, injuries or surgery, medications, obesity and infections can contribute to its onset.
Testosterone is a hormone produced in the testicles and adrenal glands; it is to males what estrogen is to females. Testosterone is essential for normal sexual behavior and erectile function. It also helps to build protein, and affects metabolic functions such as production of blood cells in the bone marrow, bone formation, lipid and carbohydrate metabolism, liver function and prostate gland growth.
There is a great variability in testosterone levels among healthy men, so not all men will experience the same changes to the same extent. But typical responses to low testosterone levels include low energy and sex drive, feelings of sadness and irritability, decreased muscle mass, loss of muscle strength, increased upper and central body fat, osteoporosis and back pain, and cardiovascular problems.
It is as important for men to know what their hormone levels are as it is for women. Salivary and blood hormone level tests that reveal low testosterone can help a physician to determine whether or not a man is suffering from hypogonadism, a syndrome characterized by decrease in erectile function, libido, muscle mass/strength and bone density.
Viagra or Testosterone?
Viagra is not a man’s only option to erectile dysfunction, or even the best one, since impotence is only one symptom of low testosterone levels. As described above, low testosterone encompasses way more symptoms than impotence. It is more adequate, natural and beneficial to overall health to replace testosterone, instead of only relying on an anti-impotence drug for sexual dysfunction such as Viagra, or undergo surgical interventions like penile implants.
Studies show that supplementing testosterone levels in men is highly effective in increasing libido, sexual performance, mental and physical energy, quality of sleep, lean body mass, and muscle strength. It decreases anger, irritability, sadness, tiredness, nervousness, body fat, and risk of heart disease. These effects are usually noted within 3 to 6 weeks.
In addition, any ongoing strategy to reduce the symptoms and risks of Andropause should incorporate lifestyle approaches such as optimal diet, regular exercise, stress-management and reduction of tobacco and alcohol intake.
Men are more concerned than ever about their health, and are looking for ways to reverse the signs and symptoms of aging and Andropause. These therapies, however, are not for every man and depend on degree and severity of Testosterone Hormone levels. You should discuss with your doctor if you would be a good candidate for Natural Testosterone Replacement Therapy.
For more information and treatment options, please contact Dr. Waldo Acebo at (305) 403-1035.