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Is Male Menopause Real? The Truth About Andropause

Is Male Menopause Real? The Truth About Andropause

by Team Champ - July 05, 2024

When you think about menopause, what comes to mind? You may be thinking about the symptoms that typically accompany the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle later in life. But the truth is that men also undergo a similar change in their sex hormones as they age, commonly referred to as andropause. While the term “male menopause” isn’t the medically accurate verbiage used to describe this change, you may have heard it used anecdotally to summarize the drop in testosterone many men experience as they get older. Don’t worry, we’ll get into the science of it all soon. So keep reading to understand more about how male sex hormones can change with age. 

About Testosterone

While testosterone is produced in both male and female bodies, it’s the primary hormone responsible for sexual development in men. But how does it work? Testosterone production starts when the hypothalamus (in the brain) tells the pituitary gland to make the hormone. From there, the pituitary gland sends this signal to the testes, where testosterone is made. The hormone is then released into the bloodstream to travel throughout the body and influence a variety of biological factors such as:

  • Libido or sex drive
  • Bone density 
  • Sperm production 
  • Penis and testicle development
  • Red blood cell production
  • Muscle mass and strength
  • Facial hair development 

How Testosterone Levels Change With Age

Testosterone levels increase and decrease naturally, with some significant peaks and valleys at different age-related milestones. Generally, testosterone steadily increases from puberty up to the age of 30. After this age, testosterone levels slowly decline by about 1% per year. But remember that these are broad statistics and some men experience varying levels of testosterone decline as they age. For example, conditions like hypogonadism can surface earlier or later in life and reduce the body’s production of testosterone. 

While it’s perfectly normal for testosterone levels to generally decrease with age, men may begin to notice symptoms of low testosterone once their levels drop below a certain point. These symptoms can include:

  • Decreased libido
  • Fewer nocturnal erections
  • Lower energy levels
  • Moodiness
  • Low self-esteem 
  • Erectile dysfunction (ED)
  • Weight gain

Navigating Changes in Testosterone

Whether you’re experiencing these symptoms as a result of a condition or due to naturally tapering testosterone levels, these changes can feel distressing. In a world that puts pressure on men to be as macho as possible, the symptoms of testosterone deficiency can be a confidence killer. But worry not; your worth as a man remains the same even as your hormone levels fluctuate. Plus, there are many options for addressing low testosterone levels.

If your symptoms are negatively impacting your quality of life and health, treatment options such as hormone replacement therapy are available. Through the use of patches, injections, or gels, these treatments can help boost sexual function, energy levels, and muscle mass. However, inconclusive data about the safety of testosterone therapy still exists. That’s why (as with any medical therapy or procedure) it’s critical to consult with your doctor before considering any form of hormone therapy.

When it comes to lifestyle-focused methods of boosting testosterone, there are plenty of daily changes you can make to help you feel more energetic. Here are just a few: 

Maintain a Healthy Weight

If you’re obese, losing weight may help boost your testosterone levels. Though some researchers debate the universal link between obesity and higher estrogen levels in men, many studies have demonstrated this correlation. These higher estrogen levels can make the hypothalamus and pituitary glands send signals to the brain that no more testosterone is needed. That’s why increasing physical activity and getting to a healthy weight can help the body produce more testosterone. 

Get More Sleep

The quantity and quality of sleep are some of the most influential factors on overall health. As we rest, our bodies run critical processes that influence our brains and hormones. Specifically, a healthy sleep cycle facilitates the production of testosterone, with levels peaking at about 8 a.m. in men. So, if you want to help your body produce more testosterone, try increasing the amount of sleep you get to at least 7 hours per night. We know this is easier said than done, but it can be a possible game-changer for your energy levels. 

Eat Healthy Fats 

Eating right is important for all of your body’s functions, including hormone production. In fact, some research indicates a potential link between low-fat diets and decreased testosterone. That’s why it’s important to consider what you’re eating. Foods like fatty fish, avocados, eggs, and shellfish are full of healthy fats that could help address this hormone deficiency. 

Minimize Stress 

While stress is an ever-present part of most of our lives, doing your best to minimize it could help boost testosterone. Long-term stress could raise levels of cortisol in the body, which is a hormone that can lower testosterone levels. More stress can also cause people to eat more and potentially gain weight. As we mentioned, obesity is another factor that can contribute to low testosterone. That means that stress, cortisol, and weight gain have the potential to compound and lead to lower testosterone levels. 

Drink Less Alcohol

Excess alcohol consumption can negatively affect many of your body’s functions. When it comes to testosterone, alcohol can make it difficult for your hypothalamus and pituitary glands to complete the process necessary for testosterone production. Long-term over drinking has also been linked to low libido and erectile dysfunction (ED). However, research doesn’t indicate that moderate alcohol consumption has long-term effects on testosterone production.

So, Is Male Menopause Real?

Even though “male menopause” isn’t the correct term to use, andropause, hypogonadism, and age-related testosterone deficiency are absolutely real. In fact, roughly 2 out of 10 men over the age of 60 experience low testosterone levels. We know that this isn’t an easy challenge to navigate; if you’re experiencing age-related testosterone deficiency, know that you’re not alone. Thankfully, there are plenty of medical and lifestyle-oriented methods you can try to boost testosterone, many of which can benefit your overall health and well-being.