Male menopause -- it exists. Not only does it exist but this condition, attributed to lowering levels of hormones such as testosterone, is now cropping up in men as young as 25 to 30 years in age. Some doctors are noticing that their male patients are reporting some of the same symptoms that women experience in menopause such as fatigue, weakness, depression, weight gain and even subtle loss of sex drive. However, the relationship of these symptoms to the decreased testosterone levels is still controversial and the medical community is currently debating whether or not men "really" do go through a well-defined menopause.
Doctors say that male patients receiving hormone replacement therapy (testosterone) have reported relief of some of the symptoms associated with so-called male menopause and according to Dr. Holtorf, men who undergo the correct treatment of testosterone supplementation will enjoy not only an improved quality of life, but will experience a significant decrease in their risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes and death.
What age does Male Menopause usually happen in men?
I usually notice symptoms in men around the ages of 35-40, but because of environmental factors, stress, and toxins, we've started to see symptoms in men as young as 25-30 years of age.
Are all men affected?
No, while all men will have a steady decline in testosterone levels throughout life, the rate is different for different men. It is also more than just a function of the current level. An individual with higher levels in his 20 and 30's will have more symptoms with the decline in testosterone than an individual who started out lower, although they may have the same level in their 50's.
We know why women go through menopause, but why does it happen to men?
Many hormone levels decline as we age, but testosterone is particularly influenced by a combination of factors, including stress, obesity, environmental toxins (plastics, pesticides) and diabetes. In fact, the average testosterone level for men has significantly declined compared to a man of the same age 10 years ago and is lower than the average level 20 years ago.
Why do they notice lower levels of testosterone? Is it just age?
Many symptoms due to low testosterone are often confused with "normal aging" but are often reversible with replacement. These symptoms include fatigue, loss of motivation and drive, depression, irritability, loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, loss of muscle mass and weight gain.
Is there any way to prevent male menopause? Like diet and exercise?
Avoiding stress and environmental toxins can be helpful but very difficult to do. Also, low testosterone makes men less able to handle stress. Keeping fit with diet and exercise can reduce the decline of testosterone, but also weight gain reduces testosterone levels, making it more difficult to lose weight, setting up a viscous-cycle of continued weight gain.
Is hormone replacement for everyone?
No, but many men with suboptimal levels can significantly benefit with treatment, with reversal of symptoms. Treatment is also shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. The problem is standard blood tests miss the majority of men who can benefit because the standard tests mainly measures inactive levels, which do not decline as rapidly as the active testosterone and miss significant deficiency. Also, standard laboratory normal ranges only consider the lowest 2.5 % of the population to be abnormal so many doctors will not treat until the levels reach such a deficiency. Men can have suffer with major symptoms due to testosterone deficiency, have a 70-80% reduction in levels and be the lowest 5% of the population still be considered be "normal" by the laboratory and an unknowing doctor. A symptomatic man with low-normal levels is a good candidate for replacement. With supplementation, such men can have dramatic improvement in quality of life and reduction in cardiovascular risks. By the way, the studies clearly show that the long held belief that testosterone replacement can increase the risk of prostate cancer is incorrect. It is now demonstrated that low testosterone, not high, is a risk for prostate cancer.
About Dr. Kent Holtorf
Kent Holtorf, M.D. is an expert in natural bioidentical hormone replacement and optimization for women and men, endocrinology, thyroid dysfunction (difficult thyroid cases), fatigue syndromes, adrenal insufficiency, growth hormone replacement, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic infections and multiple endocrine dysfunction. Dr. Holtorf is diplomate and a board examiner for American Board of Anti-Aging Medicine (ABAAM). As a board examiner, Dr. Holtorf is responsible for administering the oral portion of the board exam and evaluating the physicians' responses to determine if their knowledge base in endocrinology and natural hormones is high enough to receive board certification in this field. Dr. Holtorf received his doctorate of medicine from St. Louis University with residency training at UCLA. He has personally trained physicians across the country in the use of bioidentical hormones, hypothyroidism, complex endocrine dysfunction and innovative treatments of chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and chronic infectious diseases, including Lyme disease. He was the founding medical director and developed the protocols for Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers and other centers across the country. His offices are located in San Francisco and Los Angeles.