Also known as the male menopause, the andropause is the gradual reduction in testosterone levels in a man’s body. Testosterone is the major male hormone. In your late teens your testosterone levels are at their highest and will usually stay there for at least the next ten years. From the age of 30 the levels begin to fall.Sometimes this is rapid but in most it is a gradual lifelong process. Once testosterone levels fall below a certain level then symptoms will develop. Eventually nine out of ten men will experience these.
Symptoms may be fairly non-descript and include loss of muscle mass, loss of bone density resulting in fractures, skin changes, depression, lacking motivation and energy. Indeed the andropause may even precipitate the classic mid life crisis. The most significant effect is on sexual performance – loss of interest, problems getting sexually aroused and erection difficulties. The resulting anxiety results in loss of self confidence, frustration and may eventually lead to total impotence.
Your doctor can measure your testosterone levels by a simple blood test. It is usually taken first thing in the morning which is when they are usually at their highest. More than one test may have to be done – the levels of testosterone vary considerably. If they are low then you may be prescribed testosterone replacement therapy. Unfortunately testosterone pills do not work well so the best way of getting it is through regular injections or an implant.