Any woman who has ever experienced her time of the month knows the agony all too well. It starts with some aching of the lower back, which leads to stomach cramps, excruciating headaches, and many other side effects.
Most women assuage their symptoms with a heating pad and some medicine, but any male in their life just simply doesn’t seem to understand.
Many women assume that men have no understanding of the menstrual cycle and what it must feel like, but did you know that men might actually experience their own menstruation cycle?
Have you ever felt like your man is on his time of the month? Does it seem like your man goes through his menses, too?
Are you a man who sometimes feels a little hormonal, like your lady during her time of the month? The term “andropause” is one that many throw around, but does this term actually have validity?
Read on as we discuss the term “andropause” and whether or not it is fact or fallacy.
Your Man and Andropause
The term “andropause” refers to the idea of a male menopause cycle. Similarly to a woman experiencing menses, many claim that men go through the same process with, of course, different side effects.
Andropause occurs whenever there is a large decrease in testosterone, which is a type of androgen. Typically, men begin to experience decreases in testosterone levels around their mid-thirties.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, millions of men report side effects associated with low testosterone levels. Currently, the World Health Organization does not officially accept the term “Andropause.”
Why Does A Drop in Testosterone Cause Andropause?
Testosterone is responsible for being both a male sex hormone and an anabolic steroid. The biological responsibilities of testosterone include producing sperm, activating various cells to promote spermatogonia, regulating the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenals and regulating cognitive and physical energy. Other functions of testosterone include spiking libido and sexual arousal.
Testosterone levels naturally drop with many later-in-life occurrences. Age, in general, causes a drop in testosterone.
Long-term relationships, believe it or not, also tend to cause a drop in testosterone. Actually, it’s not so much that the levels drop. It’s just that they return to normal.
Falling in love tends to cause testosterone to rise, so as soon as a man is comfortable with his partner, then the male sex hormone levels drop again.
There are also a few external reasons as to why testosterone levels may be dropping, such as new medication, a poor diet, lack of sleep or sex, illness or excessive alcohol consumption.
So, what is the exact correlation between testosterone and andropause? Well, andropause occurs whenever testosterone levels drop drastically.
Does He Get Hot Flashes, Too?
Have you ever caught yourself wishing that your male cohort could experience your monthly pain just once? If this has ever been you, then you may actually get what you have wished for.
Men experiencing andropause experience some symptoms that are similar to menstruation symptoms. Reportedly, men experience shooting back pain, especially in the lower lumbar area while suffering from andropause.
Men also claim to suffer excruciating headaches. Mood swings, irritability, and moments of extreme anger are common in men experiencing low testosterone levels, and hot flashes are common, as well.
In addition to these physical symptoms, men also claim to gain weight, have low libido and be rather anxious during andropause. Ladies, do these side effects sound familiar? That’s right—many of the symptoms women feel during perimenopause, menopause and menstruation, men feel during andropause.
Andropause as a Medical Condition
Low libido, nervousness, insomnia, hot flashes, and similar symptoms are conditions of low testosterone. However, the term “andropause” still remains vague in the medical world.
Many doctors are beginning to link andropause with Alzheimer’s disease and osteoporosis. In fact, many primary care physicians are beginning to see this connection quite clearly.
While not widely accepted, quite a few medical professionals are fighting to have andropause accepted as a disorder. Because this is a biological change occurring around mid-life, many claim it is a disorder. After all, female menopause is a disorder, so why shouldn’t male menopause be, too?
How Can a Man Deal With the Symptoms of Andropause?
So, will a box of bon-bons and a great chick flick help a man alleviate his andropause symptoms? Our answer is technically no, but it could just depend on the chick flick.
In all seriousness, a man can seek hormone replacement therapy to help enhance the testosterone levels, and thus assuage the negative side effects.
Since the drop in testosterone always occurs gradually, hormone replacement therapy can be a great alternative.
The term “hypogonadism” refers to testosterone levels dropping below a particularly low level, and anyone experiencing “hypogonadism” can receive hormone treatment therapy in the form of testosterone injections.
How Does Hormone Replacement Therapy Work?
When seeking options for hormone replacement therapy, one has quite a few options:
- Transdermal Patches and Gels
- Slow-Release Patches
Regardless of the form, most hormone replacement therapy option helps to easily alleviate the side effects associated with low testosterone levels.
In fact, most hormone replacement therapies help the body mirror the actual production of testosterone. The body produces most of the testosterone in the morning, and this dwindles as the day progresses.
Does Hormone Replacement Therapy Work?
Even though hormone replacement therapy studies have primarily been conducted on women, the efficacy of the therapy on men experiencing andropause appears to be promising. Studies show that hormone replacement therapy is helping men with andropause by:
- Improving Mood: Studies are showing that men older in age who seek hormone replacement therapy tend to have an enhanced sensation of well-being and general mood. In addition to a completely rejuvenated mood, men also claim to have increased levels of energy.
- Improving Muscle Strength: Because testosterone is a natural anabolic steroid, men who seek hormone replacement therapy find themselves experiencing a decrease in body fat.
These men notice an increase in muscle mass and improvement in overall body strength.
- Increasing Bone Density: In addition to an increase in muscle mass and strength, the body also experiences an increase in bone density.
While osteoporosis is commonly associated with women, it is also a prevalent condition for men as well.
Therefore, an increase in bone density for men allows for less hip fractures, an ailment commonly associated in older women.
- Improving Cardiovascular Capabilities: Men typically procure more heart diseases and conditions than women, so it is highly advisable for men to help eliminate cardiovascular disease wherever possible.
Furthermore, it is commonly believed that androgens help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Improving Sexual Function: Perhaps the one that most of us are concerned with the most, sexual functioning appears to increase drastically through hormone replacement therapy sessions, regardless of the form.
Men claim to have improved success with their erections (less dysfunction) after using hormone replacement therapy. In addition, they claim to have improved libido as well, which makes sense since libido is controlled through hormone levels.
Are There any Negative Side Effects?
While it would be nice to say that hormone replacement therapy is 100 percent proven to work effectively, there do appear to be some drawbacks, as well. Here is a list of some negative side effects of hormone replacement therapy:
- Liver Damage: Some forms of hormone replacement therapy are proving to cause damage to the liver.
While the transdermal patches and creams appear to be safe, the oral capsules, pills, and tablets have the possibility of causing issues with the liver.
Typically, this negative side effect is included on the product, so it is highly advised that one reads the possible side effects carefully.
- Retaining Fluid: For one reason or another, many men participating in hormone replacement therapy studies show the negative symptom of fluid retention.
Typically in the ankles or legs, men experience swollen appendages. In addition to the fluid retention, many men also experience an increase in high blood pressure.
- Infertility: Any tampering with the hormone is risky because testosterone and fertility in men are linked. Scientists believe adding testosterone from an outer source makes the body cease to produce its own; therefore, the testosterone in the body is not capable of proper production and ceases to occur.
Any man interested in having a family after hormone replacement therapy should definitely look into a sperm bank because there are no guarantees at this point as far as the therapy and infertility. Play it safe.
- Sleep Apnea: Hormone replacement therapy treatments are beginning to be tied to an increase in the possibility of sleep apnea. While this appears to only occur to those who are already exposed to the possibility of the condition, the possibility should be taken into account.
- Enlarged Prostate: While it might not seem like a big deal, the enlargement of the prostate might actually have devastating effects for a man.
The prostate being larger could cause problems with urination, and the larger the prostate the larger the opportunity for the promotion of cancerous cells.
Tender or Enlarged Breasts: Many men participating in hormone replacement therapy claim to experience enlarged breast tissue. This could be due to the fact that testosterone therapy converts the hormone into estrogen, and one should be aware of this side effect before seeking the treatment.
- Increased Red Blood Cell Concentration: Hemoglobin levels and red blood cell masses increase inconsistently as a result of hormone replacement therapy. Increased red blood cell counts could mean the increase in risk of heart attacks or strokes. But, of course you can stop the therapy if any of these negative side effects occur.
It appears as though andropause is becoming more and more accepted within the medical realm. Perhaps in time, it will be recognized by the World Health Organization, so medical science can come up with more treatments.