Men’s Health: Andropause - Male menopause
Hot flashes, mood swings and weight gain! We all are familiar with and probably know someone going through menopause. But, did you know that men go through a similar “male menopause?” This natural phase is called andropause and typically is seen in men around the age of 60, but can start as soon as 20. Andropause is a gradual drop in the male hormone, testosterone. A decline in testosterone may cause loss of sexual desire, a decrease in strength, erectile dysfunction, loss of hair and, most commonly, loss of energy.
What can you do?
If you know you are approaching the age of andropause, you should get a yearly screening. Having low testosterone can increase your risk of getting prostate cancer. Unfortunately, too often are the symptoms of andropause mistaken for depression or other disorders. Before you agree to take an antidepressant, please have your doctor check your testosterone levels! Consider visiting a doctor that specializes in hormone replacement therapy – Shiraz is happy to recommend some great options for you!
How do you know that testosterone therapy is right for you?
Because every man is different, there is no “right number” when it comes to what your testosterone level should be; your body may function to your standards with a significantly lower level of testosterone than someone else’s. That is why when a doctor decides to put you on testosterone therapy, they base that decision not only on your test results, but also on the signs and symptoms that you are showing.
It is important to note that testosterone therapy is a natural contraceptive for men. The body is very smart and picks up on the fact that testosterone is being supplied and, therefore, stops making it. In a study where 200mg of testosterone was given once weekly, it took an average of six months for the male subjects to become completely infertile. If you think you may want to have children, testosterone therapy is not for you. But does that mean you still have to suffer from the symptoms of andropause? Absolutely not! Instead of giving you a testosterone supplement, you can be prescribed inhibitors such as anastrozole or HCG (Human chorionic gonadotropin, not to be confused with Human growth hormone.) that will help your body make more of its own testosterone.
What kind of prescription can you expect?
Depending on your test results and symptoms, your doctor may prescribe a testosterone topical cream or gel, oral troche, or even an injection. These dosage forms typically need to be compounded, as they are specially designed for your body’s needs. (click here to understand compounding) Note: Skin absorbs different substances at different rates and may only absorb a certain percentage of what is applied to it. Doctors take this into account when creating the perfect dose for you. Your skin may actually only absorb 10% of a dose applied topically, leaving the other 90% on top of the skin. If prescribed a topical gel or cream, you need to wait 24 hours after application before having skin on skin contact with others (kids, spouse, etc.). This is to be sure that you are not going to transfer the leftover product on your skin to someone else. It is also recommended that you wait at least 2 hours after application before swimming or showering.
To sum it all up!
Andropause is a natural part of aging, but you don’t need to suffer through it! Let us, your local compounding pharmacy, work with your doctor to create a customized medication right for you and have it delivered right to your door at no extra cost!
If you are interested in or think you may be suffering from erectile dysfunction, check back next week for our blog all about it!
The 2016 Las Vegas Hormone Replacement Therapy Symposium:
Testosterone Replacement Therapy: Controversies versus Reality – Mohit Khera, MD, MBA, MPH
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