Andropause Definition, Symptoms, Outlook And Management

After the age of 50, some changes in the body occur in men, as much as in women. But they are much more gradual phenomena than in females and therefore can be tackled without difficulty.

Loss of muscle mass, abdominal obesity, mood swings, insomnia, sometimes hot flushes. These symptoms well known to women during the menopause period can also affect men in the so-called andropause. In fact, after the age of 50, the male organism is affected by some changes. Contrary to menopause, however, very little is spoken of andropause. 

What is the andropause? The andropause consists of a series of hormonal variations, usually slow and progressive, that are physiologically established with advancing age starting from around 50-55 years. The main actor is testosterone, whose production slowly decreases. It is in fact a much more gradual phenomenon than the end of the fertile age for women.

Unlike andropause, menopause is easily recognizable due to the interruption of the menstrual cycle. In men, on the other hand, there is a great deal of individual variability with regard to the onset and extent of symptoms.

The signs that indicate to the man who is entering in this period are in fact non-specific and may include fatigue, district obesity (ie the classic “dad bod”), loss of muscle mass, reduction of libido and sexual performance, night sweating, mood swings mostly in a depressive sense.

In order to control the progression of the andropause, the execution of the hormonal profile is indicated including the dosage in the blood of testosterone (the testicular hormone), LH and FSH (the pituitary hormones), and prolactin tests. 

Of course the clinical classification on the part of the specialist that investigates sexual, urologic and general symptoms with a comprehensive health status assessment is obviously of utmost importance. In addition to the above, a healthy lifestyle and adequate physical activity help to counteract the phenomena related to andropause. Friends of a long and healthy sex life are physical activity, diet moderation (Mediterranean diet is an excellent choice), sleep and mental well-being. The big enemies are obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, dietary and alcohol abuse, cigarette smoking and substance use.

Beyond lifestyle, there are specific situations in which the diagnosis of hypogonadism (ie when the endocrine system presents an inadequate secretion of sex hormones) is proven and can take advantage of testosterone supplementation. The latter must be prescribed and monitored by a specialist.

In fact, there are situations in which testosterone deficiency can have an early onset, before the age of 50: those cases have real diseases behind them that require careful evaluation and clinical management.

A decline in sexual function can be observed; it is related to general drop of the hormone levels, but do not necessarily come with the territory when ageing. Compromised erectile function is a sign of underlying diseases that need to be diagnosed and managed, and can be successfully treated with oral ED therapy (Viagra, its generics and analogues).