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Andropause, often referred to as male menopause, is the result of a loss of testosterone that typically starts in the mid to late 40s. The most common andropause treatment is testosterone replacement, although whether this treatment is a suitable option varies greatly among individual patients. Other medications, such as antidepressants and erectile dysfunction drugs, may help to treat some of the symptoms of male menopause. In many cases, a healthy lifestyle is the only andropause treatment needed.
While andropause is referred to as male menopause, it is quite different from female menopause. Women lose large amounts of estrogen in a relatively short amount of time while men lose testosterone at a rate of less than 2% a year. Due to the slow rate of testosterone loss, hormone replacement therapy as an andropause treatment is controversial.
When symptoms of andropause, including fatigue, depression, and issues with sexual function, are severe or come on suddenly, testosterone replacement therapy can help bring the patient’s hormones back into balance. Studies have found that this andropause treatment is most effective in younger men suffering from a higher-than-normal loss of testosterone. As this treatment can increase the risk of prostate cancer and loses effectiveness as a man ages, it is typically seldom used in older patients.
Another common andropause treatment is utilizing medication to counteract the symptoms of male menopause. Depression is a common symptom of andropause, and can be treated with a variety of antidepressant medications; in many cases, a low dose medication is enough to improve a patient’s mental health. Antidepressants, however, can limit sexual function, which is already a symptom of male menopause.
Drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction can be helpful in treating sexual dysfunction in men going through menopause. Before prescribing this andropause treatment, doctors typically screen patients to ensure that the limitation in sexual functioning is not due to another health issue or to relationship problems. In many cases, treating sexual dysfunction can also help to improve depression in patients experiencing andropause.
Adequate exercise and a healthy diet can often address the symptoms of andropause. Low-impact cardiovascular exercise can improve mood and overall health, thereby limiting the fatigue often experienced during menopause. Exercise can also help to maintain or improve testosterone levels as well as help patients slim down; excess weight, especially in the stomach, can limit testosterone production.
Eating healthy foods rich in healthy fats and complex carbohydrates can also help maintain testosterone levels. Consuming fresh foods can improve a man’s overall health as well, thereby making it easier for the body to deal with the loss of testosterone and associated symptoms. Since each andropause treatment works differently for each person, potential treatment regimens should be discussed with a qualified doctor.
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