What is andropause?
Andropause, also known as male menopause, is the drop in testosterone to levels below those expected in a male adult. It is a condition that can manifest itself through a number of varied symptoms.
At what age does andropause start?
Andropause can begin to develop when men reach their 40s. It becomes more common among men in their 60s.
How is andropause diagnosed?
Diagnosis is based on observing the patient’s symptoms and clinical tests. Other factors that can lead to a drop in testosterone levels, such as problems with the pituitary gland, damage to the testicles or if the patient is taking medication that affects testicular activity, must first be ruled out given that treatment will differ if the symptoms are not andropause-related.
Andropause should not be considered inevitable; it can to a certain extent be prevented by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and even reversed depending on the severity of the condition and the patient.
Testosterone levels fall gradually as a result of ageing and physical, mental and sexual changes can be difficult to track unless compared to a patient’s condition in previous years. Certain associated conditions (such as obesity, high blood pressure, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, side-effects of certain medication and kidney or liver-related illnesses) can accelerate or sharpen the drop in testosterone levels and have a knock-on effect on a patient’s sexual, mental and general wellbeing, bone density and cardiovascular risk factors (glycemia, high cholesterol, obesity, etc.).
“As long as these conditions exist, testosterone levels will be below lower than they should be,” says Dr Fernando Salas Cárdenas, Medical Director of Men Solutions clinics in Madrid and Marbella. If the condition is treatable, the first course of action is to take steps to increase the patient’s testosterone levels.”
80% of men who are tested and treated for andropause are obese and in these cases it is essential to focus treatment around the patient’s diet and physical exercise. “This is the most natural and healthy course of action, but treatment requires consistency and commitment,” says Dr Salas.
What are the symptoms of andropause?
The symptoms of low testosterone levels in men are:
It is important to note that many of these conditions are so general that they are often not seen as obvious symptoms of low testosterone. However, decreased sex drive and erectile dysfunction in patients over the age of 40 are, however, considered grounds for further tests.
How is andropause treated?
Treatment for andropause is determined by:
The diagnosis and treatment will draw on the expertise of both professionals and be personalised and adapted to the specific needs of the patient in question.
If you think that you may be suffering from andropause or reduced libido, if your erections are no longer as strong as they used to be or if you suffer from any of the symptoms listed above, you should see an andrologist with experience of treating cases of sexual dysfunction.