Unlike the female menopause, the male menopause, also called andropause, is a condition that is correlated with the decrease in the male hormone testosterone.
Andropause may result in notable alterations in the quality of life and adversely affect the activity of many organ systems. It is also associated with hypogonadism.
Testosterone, a hormone produced by the testicles, is one of many factors involved in the development of muscle. Also, studies have concluded that men with lower levels of testosterone stand a greater chance of suffering from heart disease. In addition, this hormone plays an important role in fat metabolism, helping men to burn fat more easily.
Nearly 30 percent of men in their 50s will experience symptoms of male menopause caused by low testosterone levels. Symptoms include:
- reduced muscle strength and bulk;
- decreased bone density;
- difficulties getting erections;
- low libido;
- changes in sleep patterns;
- poor concentration;
- emotional exhaustion;
- facial and body hair loss;
- lack of motivation and loss of confidence.
Men who experience symptoms connected with andropause have lowered amounts of testosterone in their blood.
Low testosterone causes
Consumption of animal products and estrogen
Animal-based foods can increase estrogen (the primary female sex hormone) in the body, which lowers testosterone. The scientists from Cancer Epidemiology Unit, Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford, United Kingdom conducted a study about IGF-1 levels in vegetarians, vegans, and meat-eaters, but also monitored testosterone levels, as well.
What they established was that vegans and vegetarians had average testosterone 6 percent and 16 percent higher than the carnivores, respectively.
Foods that reduce estrogen in the body include – kale, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, parsley, cauliflower, spinach, dandelions, celery, Swiss chard, oranges, lemons, bananas, grapefruits, limes, melons, berries, apples, oats, beans, sesame and flax seeds.
Furthermore, fermented soy products (such as tofu) do not contain the same high levels of estrogen as unfermented soy products.
Alcohol in general, especially beer, increases estrogen levels and decreases testosterone.
In 2005, scientists from Reproductive Endocrine Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, United States have found that as males age, their testosterone output is strongly associated with the mitochondrial function (the most important function of the mitochondria is to produce energy) leading to insulin resistance.
Therefore, mitochondrial health is critical to decelerating andropause.
Watch your weight
Excess body fat is connected to excess estrogen. In addition, the connection between excess estrogen and certain cancers is clear.
Nicotine and other additives in cigarettes decrease testosterone production.
Buy natural personal care products that are free of parabens and other chemicals, and avoid (as much as possible) plastic food containers.
These chemicals are very much alike in structure to natural sex hormones, thus interfering with their normal activities.
Spiritual causes of Andropause (Male Menopause)
The changes caused by male menopause can substantially affect a guy’s spiritual and emotional well-being and may create challenges to one’s sense of self.
More importantly, these challenges can help us better understand the physical challenges that females face throughout life or the problems of adolescents as they experience puberty.
Give yourself ample space and time to recognize these changes, and be willing to go with spiritual callings.
Testosterone replacement therapy
TRT or testosterone replacement therapy is the main treatment for the low levels of testosterone, but has many side effects, such as:
- an increase in body weight related to fluid retention;
- limit sperm production;
- a decrease in testicular size and in sperm production.
- higher risk of heart disease;
- acne or other skin reactions.
Men who have breast or prostate cancer and severe lower urinary tract symptoms should not consider TRT.
How to increase testosterone levels naturally
Regular physical exercise
Physical exercise is one of the most effective methods to prevent many chronic diseases but it can also boost your testosterone, especially high-intensity interval training, and weightlifting.
Furthermore, studies found that physical exercise helps an individual achieve a more stable emotion.
It is crucial to get at least 7 hours of quality sleep. Sleep decreases your stress levels, helps you lose weight, and increases the secretion of testosterone as well as growth hormone, both of which help to build and repair muscle mass.
In a 2011 study by the Department of Medicine, University of Chicago, Illinois, USA, young healthy men were restricted to five hours of sleep per night, and it decreased their daytime testosterone levels by 10 percent to 15 percent. Hence, the more sleep you get the more testosterone you will have the next day.
Stress reduction methods
Your body reacts to stress by producing a hormone named cortisol, which is highly catabolic and which can interfere with testosterone production. Some good techniques are to practice slow breathing or mindfulness meditation.