The Hidden Phenomenon of Male Menopause

As if women’s menopause wasn’t whammy enough, it turns out men go through a similar aging process – andropause. Luckily for them, the symptoms are usually less aggressive than those in women. Also, the male condition is far from being thoroughly examined. I thought women were puzzling, but science has given us a much better understanding of menopause than andropause so far.

Even though there are many unknowns regarding male menopause, I’ve come up with a set of frequently asked questions regarding the topic. So whether you’re wondering what andropause is, how to adjust to life with it, or choose a proper diet, I’ve got you covered.

So, let’s jump right in.

Andropause written in a book
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What Is Andropause?

Male menopause, also known as andropause, refers to the age-induced decrease in male hormone levels. The main change during this period is related to the loss of testosterone, the hormone responsible for muscle mass, deep voice, and body hair in males. As testosterone levels and sperm production decrease, there are many physical and psychological changes men experience as a result.

The best way to think about it is as a natural aging process.

ICD 10 Andropause

The official medical classification for andropause is ICD 10 code E29.1. This is a billable code for testicular hypofunction listed by World Health Organization (WHO) under the ‘endocrine, nutritional, and metabolic diseases’ range. It can also be used to indicate a diagnosis for reimbursement purposes.

Difference Between Menopause and Andropause

As part of aging, women enter menopause, while men are greeted by andropause. Although similar processes are present in both genders, there are many differences between them. For example, when women enter menopause, their female hormones drop down significantly in a short time. In andropause, there’s a gradual decline in hormone levels.

Another difference is that women lose their fertility entirely once they reach menopause, while men don’t. Men can still father children well into their golden years. But they will, however, encounter a reduced sexual drive.

To this day, andropause is a much less known and researched condition compared to menopause.

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What Causes Andropause?

The leading cause of andropause is low testosterone. This hormone is responsible for typical male characteristics such as facial and body hair, strong muscles, deep voice, competitiveness, libido, etc. As men age, their testes produce less testosterone, which is a part of the natural aging process.

A few medical conditions can cause andropause, including surgical removal of testes or severe illness of this organ. Testes or prostate cancer patients may experience early andropause due to the intense therapy that needs to maintain a deficient testosterone level.

What Are the Symptoms of Male Menopause?

Once they reach andropause, men can experience a set of physical, psychological, and emotional changes. Some of the most frequent symptoms of andropause male menopause include:

  • Mood swings
  • Low energy levels
  • Memory loss
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Lack of motivation
  • Decreased self-confidence
  • Gynecomastia (breast development)
  • Weight gain
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Low libido
  • Erectile disfunction
  • Muscle tissue loss
  • Attitude change
  • Lack of focus and concentration
  • Bone 
  • Density loss

Other symptoms of male menopause may include tender breasts, decreased testicle size, loss of body hair, and insomnia. In addition, similar to menopause in women, the loss of hormones (testosterone in men) is linked to osteoporosis − the condition where your bones become weaker and more prone to injuries.

ADAM Score

The Androgen Deficiency in Aging Males (ADAM) is a questionnaire made up of ten questions to determine whether a patient suffers from low testosterone. If the results are positive, then further examination and follow-ups are needed.

The questionnaire consists of simple yes or no questions such as ‘Have you been experiencing a decrease in libido?’ ‘Do you experience a lack of energy?’ ‘Are your erections less strong?’ ‘Do you have a decrease in strength?’ and so on. If the patient answers ‘yes’ to three or more questions, chances are they will be sent to further examination to determine whether they have low testosterone levels.

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Andropause and Night Sweats

Most women tend to experience menopause starting from their 40s, and one of the most common symptoms they experience is night sweats. This is when you sweat overnight to the point of soaking your pajamas or sheets. However, a growing trend shows that men go through similar symptoms during andropause.

Night sweats and hot flashes are some of the most common sleep issues men may experience during this life stage. These symptoms are linked to low testosterone, which is the primary sex hormone in men.

However, night sweats during andropause can happen for other reasons as well. If you’ve been experiencing night sweats, you may want to visit your doctor to find the cause of your symptoms.

Andropause Diet

Andropause is marked by the decline in testosterone levels in men. But thanks to a few healthy habits, you can reverse the effects of aging and eventually ease the symptoms.

Keeping a healthy diet is crucial at all stages in life, but in andropause, it becomes harder to stay healthy. You want to make sure to eat nutrient-packed foods and avoid fast food. The proportion of sugars, fats, and proteins you consume can significantly affect your testosterone levels. In addition, make sure you get enough zinc (commonly found in red meats, mushrooms, spinaches), omega-3 (found in nuts, salmon), vitamin D, and calcium.

It’s recommended to avoid salty foods, caffeine, and bad fats that slow down the body. Green tea can be beneficial as it contains catechins – substances with potent antioxidant properties. Simply replacing sugary drinks with green tea will significantly impact your health and help prevent illnesses during andropause.

It’s best to consult with your doctor so he can provide you with a customized nutrition plan to make the whole andropause adaptation process more manageable.

Andropause Insomnia

In general, insomnia in men has different causes from insomnia in women. As men enter andropause, the low testosterone levels can induce sleep apnea or night sweats, which may lead to insomnia.

By sleep apnea, I mean a condition where one has difficulty breathing during sleep. Men tend to wake up once they stop breathing at night, disrupting their sleep.

On the other hand, night sweats are a common symptom of andropause that results in sweating at night, waking up the person experiencing it.

Other troubles related to insomnia include difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.

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Andropause and Depression

When it comes to psychological aspects of andropause, the relation with depression is far from clear. There are minor depressive symptoms associated with andropause, but these are not considered pathological.

However, men in andropause tend to experience anxiety, irritability, nervousness, mood swings, and depressive states. Unfortunately, most data on these symptoms currently come from clinicians’ impressions and not from systematic studies. That’s why it’s premature to assign the symptoms to andropause.

Also, men diagnosed with depression regardless of age have been diagnosed with lower testosterone levels, which means age doesn’t necessarily mean a lot. The origins of psychological changes in andropause most likely have a multifactorial origin.

Andropause and High Blood Pressure

As men enter andropause, they can experience different types of body changes. The decline in testosterone commonly gets linked with a set of concomitant diseases, including cardiovascular diseases. However, scientifically, the aging process and the reduction of male hormones are still not linked to the development of high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases.

However, if there’s an underlying cardiovascular disease, the lower testosterone levels affect the disease progression. So, if you start experiencing high blood pressure during andropause, it may, but may not be linked to low testosterone levels.

You should visit your healthcare specialist so they can figure out the cause of high blood pressure.

Andropause and Anger

Our emotions are highly dependent on hormones. Women probably know this better than men. But it seems that men experiencing andropause are prone to mood swings due to low testosterone levels.

These mood swings often include anger, anxiety, hostility, or irritability. It’s also common for men suffering from low testosterone to feel down, withdrawn, or dissatisfied. In this regard, low testosterone is quite similar to menopause in women. At this point, a lot of specialists treat the symptoms as depression rather than low testosterone.

If you’ve been experiencing anger much too often, you may want to check your testosterone levels before considering therapy.

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Andropause and Irritability

Similar to anger, men in andropause may experience irritability more often. This is again all due to the lower levels of testosterone. Other than irritability, men can experience a lack of focus, hostility, and a whole range of negative feelings.

However, it’s essential to understand the origin of these emotions before deciding to go for treatment. Many men will go for hormone replacement therapy to deal with these kinds of symptoms, but there may be other more natural options out there.

Andropause and Lightheadedness

Just like many other symptoms, men can experience lightheadedness during andropause. However, dizziness or lightheadedness usually doesn’t indicate a medical problem. The changes in hormones can cause this symptom both in men and women during the aging process, but it shouldn’t be a sign of worry.

If, however, you notice you’ve been feeling lightheaded much too often, there may be another reason behind the symptom. In that case, it’s better to book an appointment with your doctor and figure out the cause.

Andropause and Palpitations

Some men make the transition into senior life with no symptoms of andropause whatsoever. However, others may be confronted with various cardiovascular conditions and experience sudden palpitations every once in a while.

However, it’s essential to perform an analysis that will show the exact origin of palpitations. In addition, maybe there are ongoing medical conditions that need to be checked, as andropause is not the leading cause of these symptoms.

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Andropause and Low Testosterone

Testosterone is the primary male hormone responsible for male development and sexual function. In addition, it plays a vital role in building muscles, bone mass, and sperm production. The main change that takes place during andropause is a decline in testosterone levels. After 30, testosterone levels drop approximately 1% each year.

A level of testosterone lower than 300 nanograms per deciliter is considered low, while the upper limit is 1,000 to 1,200 ng/dL. Men with low testosterone can experience sleep pattern changes, reduced libido, erectile dysfunction, infertility, weight gain, or decreased strength.

As men enter male menopause, it’s natural for their testosterone levels to decrease. If you think you may have low testosterone, pay a visit to your physician. They will perform a blood test to check and provide you with treatment options if they observe an abnormality.

Usually, low testosterone levels can be treated with testosterone replacement therapy.

Andropause and Hot Flashes

If you ever experienced a hot flash, you felt an intense heatwave that appeared suddenly and was not caused by your immediate environment. Both men and women can experience hot flashes as they start aging, and hormones are to blame.

However, women are more prone to hot flashes since their female hormones drop suddenly once they enter menopause. On the other hand, men experience a gradual drop in testosterone levels, as mentioned, making the transition much less prone to extensive symptoms.

In general, hot flashes are not a common symptom of andropause but rather accompany an underlying medical condition. However, that’s why you should get a check-up if you start experiencing sudden hot flashes without an apparent reason.

Early Andropause

In terms of aging, men are luckier than women if we compare menopause vs. andropause start time. Women tend to enter menopause from 45, while men may not start experiencing andropause symptoms until they turn 60. However, the andropause process begins much earlier.

However, certain medical conditions may trigger early andropause. For example, prostate cancer or serious testes illnesses and strong medication for lowering testosterone levels can cause early andropause.

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At What Age Does Andropause Start?

There is not a clear limit as to when andropause starts. Generally, men can begin experiencing andropause symptoms in their late 40s and early 50s. Different studies offer different age ranges, but in general, the testosterone levels in men start declining each year steadily in their 30s and 40s.

Andropause Average Age

Most men around the age of 50 will start showing some symptoms of andropause. However, since the condition is less known and researched than menopause, there is no precise data about when exactly andropause starts. Still, even though the drop in testosterone starts as early as in the 30s, symptoms usually start showing much later.

When Does Andropause Begin

The andropause period is highly individual for men. While some may start experiencing symptoms as early as their late 40s, others can asymptomatically go through the whole process. In general, male testosterone levels start declining steadily in their 30s, an early sign of andropause.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that every man in their 40s is in andropause. Quite the opposite – most men will experience first andropause symptoms late in their 60s or 70s.

When Does Andropause End?

Generally, andropause occurs until the age of 65, more or less. This is the period when men usually stop experiencing symptoms regarding andropause.

How Long Does Andropause Last?

The andropause can last anywhere from 15 to 20 years, depending on the individual. Over these years, the symptoms can vary, and not everyone will experience the same range of effects.

How Do You Overcome Andropause?

Andropause is an entirely normal and natural aging process. Most men don’t need to include any specific treatment as the symptoms are much milder than in women’s menopause. However, those who experience more severe symptoms can undergo testosterone replacement therapy and other procedures to help ease the symptoms. You can get testosterone in skin patches, capsules, injections, gels, etc. Your physician will help determine the best treatment for you, depending on the symptoms and your lifestyle.

Usually, implementing lifestyle changes such as increased exercise, stress reduction, proper nutrition, and cigarette and alcohol consumption reduction can help.

What Vitamins Help With Andropause?

As you start growing older, your body naturally becomes weaker at processing different vitamins. The two crucial vitamins that help with andropause are vitamin D and zinc. Also, vitamin C and calcium play an important role as well.

Here’s the list of foods where you can find vitamin D:

  • Salmon
  • Spinach
  • Eggs

If you want to add more zinc to your diet, you can find it in the following foods:

  • Lean animal protein
  • Oysters and shellfish
  • Nuts (cashews, walnuts, almonds)
  • Seeds (pumpkin, pine nuts, flaxseeds, squash)
  • Beans (baked, kidney, chickpeas)
  • Raw dairy products – milk, cheese, kefir
  • Figs

You can find vitamin C in the following:

  • Citrus fruit
  • Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Broccoli
  • Potatoes
  • Brussels sprouts

Finally, the primary sources of calcium are:

  • Dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream)
  • Dark-leafy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, bok choy
  • Sardines
  • Fortified orange juice
  • Soybeans

Be aware that cooking food drastically reduces the number of nutrients such as zinc or vitamin C. That’s why it’s best to consume raw or less processed food. You also want to use more monounsaturated fatty acids such as olive oil when cooking.

Additionally, you can add food supplements to raise testosterone levels and ease andropause symptoms. These are meant to make up for insufficient food intake through your diet. However, your primary focus should be getting these nutrients through food.

Supplements can also have side effects, while natural food choices are the safest way to improving your overall health.

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Cure for Andropause

Unfortunately, there is no ‘cure’ for andropause. As you may have learned by now, andropause is not considered a disease but rather a natural aging process. There are no medications currently on the market that can cure or reverse andropause – that would feel like we’re living in a sci-fi novel.

There are, however, several approved FDA treatments for replacing testosterone in the blood. This treatment is a relief from the symptoms and helps improve the overall life quality in many cases. In addition, as we already mentioned, lifestyle changes such as physical exercise, proper diet, and stress reduction can also help ease the symptoms.

Just make sure to take in enough vitamin C, E, zinc, and calcium.

Andropause Blood Tests

As you approach andropause, chances are you’ll start experiencing a drop in testosterone levels. The only way to determine the hormone levels is to take a blood test. To be tested positive for andropause or low testosterone, your testosterone test should include a total testosterone level, as well as serum-free testosterone and protein-bound testosterone.

If your results are below average, the doctors will make you do a few follow-ups before diagnosing you with andropause and prescribing therapy.

Complications of Andropause

Next to the common andropause symptoms (low sex drive, lack of energy, mood swings), some men can experience additional complications. These may include an increased risk of cardiovascular problems or osteoporosis (weaker bones.)

Dealing With Andropause

Some men may find it shocking, but andropause is becoming more vividly recognized by physicians for ongoing changes in middle-aged men related to energy loss, depression, or libido loss. While most men go through andropause without noticing any changes, the condition strikes hard in other individuals.

The first step in dealing with andropause is obtaining a diagnosis. The doctor will perform blood tests to see whether you’re low on testosterone and if that’s connected to andropause or some other underlying medical condition. Once you’re sure you’re dealing with andropause, the next step is adjusting your lifestyle. This doesn’t necessarily mean signing up for expensive treatments.

Most men will be fine with adjusting their diet, implementing more nutrient-packed meals, adding more physical activity to their everyday lives, and avoiding alcohol consumption. Some of the foods to consider are rich in vitamins C, E, D, calcium, and zinc.

In some cases, when natural remedies don’t work, the doctor may suggest food supplements or ultimately hormone replacement therapy, which are bound to help ease andropause symptoms.

The Andropause Society

Ever since 2000, the Andropause society or the Society for the Study of Androgen Deficiency has been focusing on raising open and therapeutic thoughtfulness in terms of the testosterone deficiency syndrome (andropause, hypogonadism, or ‘male menopause.’)

The institution has provided valuable resources for men worldwide regarding regulating their condition, applying treatment, and setting proper expectations.

Another noteworthy institution promoting midlife men and women health is the European Menopause and Andropause Society (EMAS). The society has an active membership around the world with more than 40 affiliated societies. The main idea behind the association is to encourage scientists and researchers to publish educational resources and research on menopause and andropause.

Best Andropause Supplements

While some men go through andropause unnoticed, others may show a bit more symptoms. Fortunately, in today’s world, where modern medicine has a solution for almost everything, andropause doesn’t have to be hard on anyone.

I’ve included a short review of the three most popular andropause supplements you can try to help transition through this period as smoothly as possible.

Nugenix Total-T

Nugenix Total-T - Free and Total Testosterone Booster, 90 Count

This powerful supplement has been scientifically formulated to help increase lean muscle mass, boost both free and total testosterone levels, take libido up a notch, and improve your overall quality of life during andropause. Nugenix Total-T is targeted at men over 40, and it’s been serving as reliable testosterone support for thousands of happy customers out there.

There are eight main ingredients, including Testofen, elevATP, and Boron – all made for increasing muscle strength, boosting testosterone levels, giving energy, and optimizing performance. It also contains zinc, vitamin B12, B6, and fenugreek seeds extracts. If you’re an active gym member, this supplement will help boost your performance in the gym as well.

Pros

  • Free samples to try before making your purchase
  • Prevents vitamin B deficiency

Cons

  • Potential health risks
  • Little evidence suggests actual testosterone increase with the given set of ingredients
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Tribulus – Ultra Concentrated

Ultra High Strength Tribulus Capsules - 95% Steroidal Saponins - 1300mg Concentrated Extract Formula for Testosterone - 120 Caps

This highly active form of Tribulus acts as its super-concentrated extract. It has around 95% of saponins, which is an active compound with powerful health benefits. However, when compared to other similar products, they only have up to 45% saponins.

Most people who have used this product recommend it for increasing their energy levels, helping optimize their workouts and stamina, and making them feel stronger altogether.

Pros

  • More energy
  • Increased libido
  • Good for the gym

Cons

  • May not work for everyone

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Androsurge Estrogen Blocker for Men

Androsurge Estrogen Blocker for Men - Natural Anti-Estrogen, Testosterone Booster & Aromatase Inhibitor Supplement - Boost Muscle Growth & Fat Loss - DIM & 6 More Powerful Ingredients, 60 Veggie Pills

This all-natural estrogen-reducing supplement for men contains research-supported ingredients, including grape seed extract and DIM (diindolylmethane). It’s built to increase muscles and strength, help burn fat, and boost energy levels.

This product, just like other supplements from the list, is excellent when combined with balanced diets, regular exercise, and other supplements. A great addition to Androsurge is its usage of Rhodiola for combatting stress. It also contains vitamin D and zinc additions, which are essential elements when dealing with andropause. Finally, the longjack is there to stimulate libido.

Pros

  • Natural ingredients
  • Increases strength
  • Builds muscle
  • Fair price
  • Optimizes testosterone

Cons

  • Doesn’t work for everyone
  • Vitamin D too lightly dosed
  • Lack of magnesium
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Herbal Remedies for Andropause

Supplements are great for dealing with andropause, especially in men who experience stronger symptoms. However, herbal remedies can help treat the natural processes − with nature.

There are quite a few plants that have shown to be beneficial at easing andropause symptoms:

  • Tribulus Terrestris. This herb has been used for hundreds of years to help boost libido and bring balance to testosterone levels. There’s an active compound inside this herb called protodioscin, considered a precursor to testosterone.
  • Suma. The herb originates from the suma ground vine. It’s widely used to improve libido and sexual desire and is mainly applied as a tonic. There’s a bioactive compound inside it called Ecdysterone that promotes normal testosterone levels and stimulates sexual performance.
  • Ashwagandha. Commonly known as Indian ginseng, this 3,000+-year-old herb is believed to promote fertility and deal with various sexual issues, especially in combination with Tribulus Terrestris.
  • Ginkgo Biloba. Ginkgo is an ancient herb known for boosting blood to the brain, increasing dopamine production, leading to increased activity in the centers of the brain in charge of pleasure.
  • Valerian root. Valerian is an herb known for decreasing anxiety symptoms, which are common in andropause.

Depending on your symptoms, it may be good to talk to your doctor and develop a customized plan that includes some natural remedies. Below are short reviews of a few products you may find helpful, depending on your symptoms.

Saw Palmetto Extra Strength

Havasu Nutrition Saw Palmetto Supplement | Prostate Health, Hair Loss, DHT Blocker | Supports Those with Frequent Urination | Gluten Free, Non-Gmo, 100 Saw Palmetto Capsules

Saw palmetto is a tree used to make medicine and is most commonly used to decrease symptoms of an enlarged prostate, remove and prevent complications after prostate surgery, or treat other prostate conditions.

Saw Palmetto by Havasu Nutrition is a natural, preservative, and gluten-free remedy that helps with andropause symptoms. Maybe you’ve been dealing with insomnia, waking up to go to the bathroom too often, or experiencing some prostate problems. In that case, Saw Palmetto may be the perfect natural remedy for you.

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Improves reproductive health
  • Supports urinary tract function

Cons

  • May not work for everyone

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Ancestral Supplements Prostate

Ancestral Supplements Prostate (with Desiccated Liver) — Supports Prostate Health (180 Capsules)

Ancestral supplements prostate is a natural supplement that supports the prostate, fertility, urine flow, and overall men’s health. It’s usually recommended as a part of keto or carnivore diets by Liver King (Barbarian World Record Holder.)

This modern company focuses on putting back what the modern world has taken out. Technically, they are dedicated to bringing back people’s strength, happiness, and health. They mainly specialize in grass-fed beef organ supplements, and this is one of their flagship products.

Pros

  • Natural products
  • Promote fertility
  • Great overall health booster

Cons

  • May not work for everyone

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Andropause Cream

Apart from natural remedies and supplements in the form of pills, there are creams you can use to ease andropause symptoms. I’ve picked the best one below.

DHEA 50 Max Strength Cream

DHEA Cream 50mg for Men & Women Bioidentical DHEA USP Natural - Natural Energy Supplement, Mood Boost for Healthy Aging, Support Hormone Balance - 90 Day Supply, USA Made, Pharmacist Formulated

Dhea is a naturally occurring hormone in our bodies. It works to create other hormones, both male and female. If you’ve been showing signs of aging, need to improve your muscle strength or athletic performance, or need support for your mood and sleep, you may want to give DHEA 50 Max Strength cream a try.

Men over 30 tend to be at an increased risk of suffering from low DHEA hormones. This cream has proven to be more effective than pills and capsules by bypassing the stomach and liver and minimizing gastric degradation.

This all-natural bio-identical cream is powered with saw palmetto, ginseng, maca root, and no parabens, GMO, or fragrances.

Pros

  • Natural ingredients
  • Helps slow down the aging process
  • Balances out the hormone levels

Cons

  • May not work for everyone

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Andropause and Vasectomy

Vasectomy is a medical procedure that inhibits a man’s sperm from combining with semen as he engages in sexual intercourse.

As beneficial as the procedure may be for birth control, some adverse effects can follow afterward. For example, some men may experience a drop in testosterone levels. If the decrease is too significant, it can even result in early andropause.

As andropause is marked by a decrease in testosterone production, a vasectomy can speed up the whole process. However, most men don’t experience any adverse effects after the vasectomy procedure.