Women aren’t the only ones interested in bioidentical hormones. There is estrogen in men. But of course for men, the hormone in question is testosterone. Just like a normal estrogen level in women becomes a low estrogen level as they age, for many men, a normal testosterone level lowers with age. This is called Male Menopause or Andropause because male hormones are called androgens.
What is it?
Andropause is a condition where testosterone levels are below normal. It can happen in young men, but it is usually seen in men over age 50 because testosterone levels normally decline from 1% to 1.5% each year after age 35. In some men, testosterone levels will drop to the low levels they had before puberty.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms can be irritability or a loss of energy and concentration. Some medical experts believe it is part of other health issues such as obesity or diabetes. Men with this problem may also have:
Since andropause can be due to several medical conditions or a complication of certain medications, if these symptoms sound familiar, talk with your doctor.
Is this the same thing as Erectile Dysfunction?
No. They are two different things although there can be some overlap. The simplest way to find out if you have this problem is to get a blood test for Testosterone. Blood tests for testosterone are known to fluctuate widely. To be sure of the diagnosis, it is a good idea to repeat the test. First morning tests are most accurate.
What is the treatment?
Since the problem is caused by low testosterone levels, most doctors will treat with testosterone unless the person is not a candidate for it. Just as it is with estrogen for women, there are several testosterone prescriptions available for men in traditional drug stores. Most of these testosterone structures are identical to the biological testosterone that men normally make. Testosterone can also be formulated in a compounding drug store. As with estrogen for women, the regulations and requirements are much more closely watched in pharmaceutically produced testosterone.
How is testosterone given?
Testosterone can be given as a patch, a gel, a cream or a shot. It usually isn’t give as a pill because that can damage the liver. If it is applied as a gel, patch or cream, be sure to wash your hands after applying it because the hormone can be accidentally transferred to women or children. To avoid accidentally having it rub on to your partner’s body at night, apply it to the back of the shoulders or other area that can be covered by a shirt or pajamas, and allow it to dry a few minutes before putting clothes over it. Avoiding rubbing it on the skin in the genital area prevents the testosterone from being rubbed onto your partner during intercourse.
Men with liver disease, a history of heart disease, prostate cancer and certain other conditions should not take testosterone. Talk with your doctor to see if it is a medication that could be of help to you.