Monday, July 7, 2008
Men may laugh at the thought of a male menopause, however there is much research these days pointing to the fact that men may also go through the "change of life".
These age-related hormonal changes appear to have just as much of a health impact on men as they do in women. So why does the concept of andropause (the "male menopause") still appear to be taboo for men? It seems that men are often in denial about their symptoms and are not as proactive as women in treating their symptoms. When women go through menopause they immediately look for answers to treat symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue. Men respond differently and tend to take the “maybe it will go away by itself” approach.
Male menopause is often called TDS or testosterone deficiency syndrome. Men experience a gradual decline in the production of the testosterone from their late-30s onwards. This generally does not pose a problem, however when it does, the symptoms are treatable.
Recognizing the symptoms is the challenge because generally they are very subtle. These symptoms should be taken seriously since they can lead to life-threatening spin-offs, such as cancer and heart disease. There are also additional risk factors like obesity, and diabetes that can make the problem of TDS much worse.
So what comes first, the low testosterone levels or the risk factors? Does one lead to the other or do they occur separately and then exacerbate each other? Obesity lowers your testosterone levels and a low testosterone is associated with obesity. It's the same with diabetes. It would be safe to say that each risk factor compounds the next and that each risk factor needs to be addressed on its own merit.
Symptoms of TDS include:
• A lack of energy and vitality
• Loss of sexual desire or libido
• A decrease in the quality of erections
• Mood swings and depression.
Men need to be made more aware of these issues and not focus on short-term goals when it comes to their health. Men are unlike women, they do not look at their health as an investment. Alternatively women are more proactive with their health and pay more attention to any symptoms they notice. It is important for women to be aware of changes in their partners health to ensure they are being treated for issues that could be potentially life threatening.
Issues like erectile dysfunction should be seen as an opportunity for a man to have an overall health check-up rather than just requesting a medication like Viagra. While these medications may assist with the erectile dysfunction, they do nothing to treat the potential underlying problems like as heart disease. Often a symptom such as ED is an early warning sign of heart disease.
Erectile dysfunction caused by low testosterone levels puts men at risk of high cholesterol, diabetes, cardiovascular disease. And the longer the risk factors go untreated, the harder it will be to combat them. In summary, testosterone deficiency syndrome can decrease sexual desire, affect erections and alter the shape of the body which in turn affects the other organs in the body and a person’s quality of life.
The key to treating TDS is to focus on a healthy diet, management of testosterone levels , increase exercise and to treat risk factors such as obesity and diabetes. By doing these things men will surely have a easier time as their hormones decline and fluctuate.
Photo by: LIA COSTA CARVALHO