Male Menopause and Restoring the Hormonal Balance

by Annie on August 25, 2008 · 11 comments

in Aging & Gender Differences,Hormones & Fat Cells

Photo by: Jelle.

This post will discuss the “male” menopause (andropause) phase at around age 60 and how balance your hormones.

Everyone knows about “the change” that women go through after 50.  Women are better equip than men in dealing with extreme changes to our bodies from years of practice.  Not only are men not used to dealing with changes in their bodies, there is not much support in our community or the internet to help them.  Can you imagine two men sitting next to each other, beer in hand, talking about the “changes” happening to their bodies?  I would love to see my husband and brother doing that 20 years from now.

A man’s testosterone levels start to decline after age 30, but drops dramatically after 60.  By the time a man reaches his mid-50s (although symptoms might start to show up around your 40s), andropause (aka. “male menopause”) is in full swing with fatigue, lack of energy, loss of sexual interest (or dysfunction), obesity, depression, panic attacks, short term memory fog, and insomnia. During andropause, testosterone declines significantly (“puberty in reverse), hence men experience a “lite” version of the menopause that women go through.

This hormonal shift during male menopause can lead to weight gain in a number of ways. Testosterone is the hormone involved in the development of bone and lean muscle mass in men. When this hormone’s level decline, there is a loss of muscle strength and endurance during physical activities and body fat starts to accumulate. From my previous post, we know that since overweight males have more estrogen, they start to hold on to fat like women.

Factors that throw your hormones out of balance (other than aging):

1.  Typical western diet with high saturated fats found in fast food, processed foods, and red meats), hydrogenated oils, preservatives, and refined sugar.

If you read any of my previous posts on balancing your hormones, you know this is the number one reason why we are not feeling our best.

2.  Environmental factors such as foreign compounds, chemical toxins that mimic estrogen (DDT, PCBs, and dioxin) and exposure to heavy metals such as lead and mercury.

3.  Smoking – nicotine increase enzymes that deactivate male hormones such as testosterone.

4.  Stress – the adrenal glands makes either DHEA or cortisol. DHEA is an antioxidant, hormone regulator, and building block to testosterone. When you are stressed, your body opts to make cortisol instead. That is not good.

How to get your hormones back in balance:

1.  Decrease the consumption of refined sugar, saturated fats, and food preservatives.

2.  Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, especially dark leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables, essential fatty acids (flaxseed, evening primrose, and borage oils), legumes, nuts and seeds.

3.  Make sure to get enough vitamin E (500 IU) and magnesium (500 mg) which strengthen the heart and circulation.

4.  Make sure to get enough zinc (50 mg) which boost male virility and reduce prostate problems such as swelling.

5.  Make sure to get enough primrose oil (3,000 mg) which aid the production and release of hormones.

6.  Consider ginseng (2,000-4,000 mg). Panax ginseng, an Asian variety, has been shown to increase testosterone levels. Extreme use of any supplements is not good. Too much ginseng has serious side effects such as headaches and skin problems.

One final note, like women, men have the option for hormonal replacement therapy for testosterone (Testosterone Replacement Therapy) during andropause. Your doctor should test your hormone levels with a saliva or blood test before going this route. But like the hormonal replacement therapies for women, there is the risk of prostate cancer.

Until next time and thanks for stopping by Small Steps to Health.

Want further reading?

Surviving Male Menopause

How to Survive Your Husband’s Midlife Crisis: Strategies and Stories from the Midlife Wives Club

The Irritable Male Syndrome: Understanding and Managing the 4 Key Causes of Depression and Aggression

Related Posts:


Like what you are reading? How about subscribing? It's free!

Subscribe in a Reader
Enter your email address:

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Tom Parker August 26, 2008 at 3:56 pm

Wow. Never even knew there was an andropause. Lucky for me that I’m still young and doing mst of the recommendations from your list :-)

Reply

asithi August 26, 2008 at 4:00 pm

@Tom Parker
Oh, time will take care of that! :D

Reply

aybi August 27, 2008 at 5:15 pm

gotta tell my dad about this. thanks for this info!

aybis last blog post..6 Beauty habits that may harm you.

Reply

MikeB August 29, 2008 at 2:06 am

Good list for keeping your hormones in balance. I’ll try #5 and #6 to see if I can get any additional benefit. I have also found that regular exercise and Intermittent Fasting keep me feeling, looking and acting a lot younger that I am.

Glad I found your site.

MikeBs last blog post..Weekend Suffering

Reply

asithi August 29, 2008 at 8:14 am

@aybi
It was my dad as well that got me thinking along this issue. I notice that there is a slight change to his personality and activity level in the last two years since he hit 50. Thanks for commenting aybi.

@MikeB
Thanks for the comment Mike. I agree that exercise is one of the best thing we can do to help manage any health issue.

Reply

Colin September 12, 2008 at 11:37 am

Is there a graph of typical testosterone levels available anywhere? Is the decline very rapid at age 60?

Colins last blog post..Bisphenol A in plastics

Reply

asithi September 12, 2008 at 2:10 pm

@Colin – In general, average drop in testosterone is about 10% each decade after 30. But for men going through andropause, their testosterone levels drop at a quicker rate.

Here is an article on Bodybuilding.com with a chart of age vs testosterone level: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/planet2.htm

This is going to open up another can of worms.
http://www.ourstolenfuture.org/newscience/reproduction/2006/2006-1210travisonetal.html
What do you think? Are men less “manly” now than they were in 1987?

Reply

Greg Marlow September 12, 2009 at 10:21 am

I’m just finding out that my bipolar disorder was the result of low testosterone. I’m now using light therapy in the evening when testosterone levels are low. This boosts my testosterone, which boosts my kidney sodium reabsorption, which in turn keeps my blood sodium in the correct range and my brain healthy.

Reply

asithi September 14, 2009 at 8:16 pm

@Greg – Interesting about the light therapy. I am starting find out that sunlight is another regulator for hormones production in our bodies. And that due the amount of time we are spending indoors and the amount of sunblock we are putting on, some of us do not get enough sunlight to generating the hormones and the vitamin D that we need at certain parts of the country. I am not advocating suntanning without sunblock, but it boggles my mind that some people do not even spend 10 minutes in the sunlight. I am glad that you found the solution that works for you. Thanks for sharing.

Reply

{ 2 trackbacks }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: