Menopause in females is a widely discussed, well-studied phenomenon, yet its equivalent in males – andropause – is virtually ignored.
They are very similar experiences. Both typically occur from age 40 on and are caused by a reduction in hormone levels. Both can be accompanied by fatigue, depression, irritability, aches and pains, reduced sexual interest, enjoyment and/or performance, general signs of aging and increased risk of chronic degenerative disease.
Yet while women are very savvy about hormone replacement, men are left to suffer silently, even though the obvious therapy, testosterone replacement, has been available for over 50 years.
Typically when hormones in men are discussed it is usually in reference to the abuse among athletes, which has given rise to the perception that all testosterone is dangerous. Add to that the unfounded fear that testosterone causes prostate cancer, and the misunderstanding escalates.
Testosterone replacement in men, done with bio-identical testosterone in physiologic doses, is not only safe, but also protective. This is well supported in the medical literature. Testosterone has been shown to increase muscle strength and lean body mass, improve sexual response, prevent osteoporosis, protect against cardiovascular disease, increase energy, fight impotence, improve mood and promote a sense of well-being. A recently published study showed that men with higher testosterone levels live longer.
Multiple medical studies have proven that testosterone does not cause prostate cancer. Interestingly, men typically get prostate cancer when they are older and testosterone levels are naturally at their lowest. In fact, low levels of testosterone are associated with more aggressive tumors. No study has shown that supplementing with testosterone increases your chances of getting prostate cancer. If one does develop prostate cancer, testosterone supplementation might accelerate the growth levels of the tumor. Therefore, there is a need to monitor the PSA on a regular basis when supplementing with testosterone.
Men who receive testosterone replacement typically report feeling sexier, stronger, and healthier. They state that it makes them feel as they did when they were in their prime. After all, this is what replenishment of hormones is all about. It is about restoring hormones to youthful levels so you can feel as you did when you were at the peak of your physical and mental ability. Testosterone can slow down the physical decline that robs men of their energy, strength, and libido. Testosterone can restore muscle tone and improve stamina. And it can improve mood and overall sense of well-being.
Why would men not want this healthy hormone?
Dr. Neal Rouzier is a physician specializing in bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, and the Medical Director of the Preventive Medicine Clinic of the Desert. He can be reached at (760) 320.4292.