Men Can Be Andropausal: Bioidentical HRT isn’t just for Women

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Testosterone is the primary androgen produced by the testes and it plays an essential role in the health of the male. Beyond determining the male sex and characteristics, testosterone is a determinant of muscle strength, bone mass, libido, potency and spermatogenesis.

How And Why Do Men Experience Andropause?

It has been found that even in healthy men, by the age of 55, the amount of testosterone secreted into the bloodstream is significantly lower that it was just ten years earlier. In fact, by age 80, most male hormone levels decrease to pre-puberty levels. In older men, night sweats and palpitations might occur because of an overactive autonomic nervous system in response to falling testosterone levels. The condition of androgen deficiency in aging men is also known as andropause. Androgen deficiency includes a wide range of symptoms like decreased body hair, reduction in muscle and strength, increase in fat mass, decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, infertility, osteoporosis, depression and mood changes.

It has a few causes including a testicular or pelvic trauma, surgical removal or normal aging.

Health Disorders Improved With Testosterone Replacement

Testosterone replacement therapy has been proven to reduce insulin resistance, visceral adiposity and cardiovascular risk. In a study that evaluated the effects of testosterone therapy on cognition, neuropsychiatric symptoms and quality of life in male patients with Alzheimer’s disease and healthy elderly men, patients receiving testosterone had significant improvement in quality-of-life scores and the treatments were well tolerated. Untreated testosterone deficiency is a prominent cause of osteoporosis in men and bone mineral density significantly increases with testosterone treatment.

Treatment with testosterone improved sexual function in deficient males, as well as lowered the risk of anemia in older men.

Testosterone Deficiency Beyond Symptoms

A study published in the The Endocrine Society Research in 2007, revealed that negative symptoms generated by testosterone deficiency can go beyond the symptomatic aspect and even affect longevity. In the study, the group with low testosterone levels had a 33 percent greater risk of death during the next 18 years than the men with higher testosterone. Men with low testosterone were more likely to have elevated markers of inflammation, called inflammatory cytokines, which contribute to many diseases. They were also shown to be three times more likely to have a waist measurement more than 40 inches, low HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides (levels of fat in the blood), high blood pressure or high blood glucose (blood sugar).

However, there is still need of more studies in this important area in order to provide further valuable information. Perceived risks associated with testosterone treatments and its abuse in the area of athletic enhancement have caused much confusion without scientific basis.

Testosterone Replacement Therapy must be administered only by very responsible physicians and under strict case selection criteria and supervision. Testosterone must not be used as a tonic for vague complaints as it can cause serious side effects.

Resources:

Holtorf, Kent MD and Schwartz, Erika MD – Hormones in Wellness and Disease Prevention: Common Practices, Current State of the Evidence, and Questions for the Future.

Low Testosterone and Longevity