What is Andropause?
Andropause is men’s equivalent of menopause. Like menopause, its onset is usually above the ages of 40 years old. However, it does not happen to all men. It is gradual in onset and it is not associated with infertility.
How common is it?
Various international studies have estimated the prevalence of andropause at up to 30% for men above the age of 60.
A similar survey in Singapore found that of the 1,000 patients (mean age 54) who were screened, more than a quarter had some form of androgen deficiency based on the Aging Male’s Symptoms scale.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of andropause, both physical and psychological are attributed to a decreasing testosterone level.
Physically, a low level of this hormone may lead to impotence and a decreased sexual drive. The man begins to notice a spare tyre, often referred to as the ‘beer belly’, resulting from more fat deposits around the waist. His strength dips with the softening muscles, and his bone mass decreases in a condition termed osteoporosis, which puts him at a higher risk for bone fracture.
Psychologically, the man may experience frequent anxiety and depression. He may also lack the motivation to work and frequently can’t concentrate on things as well as before.
How do we diagnose Andropause?
The diagnostic test for andropause will be the blood level of testosterone.
How do we treat it?
Treatment will be via testosterone replacement therapy. There are various ways of administering this replacement.
The most popular way in the clinic is thru a regular 3 monthly injections of a testosterone preparation. Other routes of replacement will be thru oral capsules and gels applied on the skin.
The length of time required for replacement varies. But generally, medication can be continued as long as the man finds that it improves his symptoms.
What are you thoughts about Andropause?
Andropause is a fairly common occurrence. Yet many sufferers from andropause present themselves late for medical treatment. Frequently, they may just accept it as part of ageing.
It is my experience at the clinic that most men are quite relieved when there is a diagnosis to their frequently vague symptoms.
With treatment, many will experience improvement of symptoms within 6 months. They will perceive a heightened energy level, an improved mood and zest to life. Coupled with a suggested exercise routine and diet regimen, many are delighted with the physical changes that accompany the change in proportion of muscle mass and fat.
With greater awareness and earlier treatment, these sufferers will be able to maintain a better quality of life and thus enjoy their golden years.