Menopause isn't exclusively in the realm of females; recent research brings attention to a similar phenomenon occurring in men. The comparison is a loose one however, and the two biological processes aren't to be confused. In females, menopause is a naturally occurring biological change in which ovulation ceases and hormone production decreases drastically for a relatively short period of time. Generally, all females undergo this change.
Male menopause, on the other hand, is a selective condition (i.e., it doesn't occur in all males) and refers to the reduction in the production and bioavailability of testosterone in relation to aging, over a period of many years.
Unlike female menopause, where hormone production stops completely, testosterone production decreases in a much slower process.
And unlike the ovaries, the testes do not run out of the compounds needed to make testosterone, and a healthy male may be able to produce sperm into his 80s. In order to diminish the connection with the phenomenon as it occurs in the fairer sex, some doctors and scientists have proposed other names, such as andropause, testosterone deficiency syndrome, Low-T, or late-onset male hypogonadism.
Testosterone levels vary greatly among the male population, and in general older men tend to have lower testosterone levels than younger men.
A recent report by the World Health Organization found that the testosterone level in most 70 year old males was just 10% of the level in 25 year old males, and a report by the Mayo Clinic found that testosterone levels gradually decline throughout adulthood, at an average rate of about 1% per year after age 30.
So slowly diminishing levels of testosterone is normal and expected with aging. As a result of male menopause however, the function of the testes in the production of testosterone may begin to diminish drastically as early as age 45-50.
What are the Signs of Manopause?
Symptoms of low testosterone include muscle loss, decreased bone density, weight gain, memory loss, thinning hair, erectile problems, diminished libido, sleep problems, fatigue, weakness, and irritability.
According to the US Census Bureau, between 4 and 5 million men suffer from low testosterone, and only 5-10% will seek treatment. Here are 7 remedies that have been proven to help.
1. Lose Weight
A 2010 study at the University of Washington by Dr. Matsumoto et. al found a striking connection between men who are overweight or obese and low testosterone levels.
According to the study, losing pounds can bring testosterone levels back up by up to 50%.
2. Get those Z's
A 2011 study at the University of Chicago led by Dr. Van Cauter found a link between sleep deficit and low testosterone levels. The study found that a lack of sleep reduces a young male's testosterone levels by the same amount as aging 10 to 15 years.
Men who get only 5 hours of sleep decrease their testosterone levels by 10 to 15%, with peak lows occurring between 2 pm and 10 pm the next day. The participants reported a decline in their sense of well-being, mood, and vigor.
3. Eat everything including the Kitchen Zinc
A 1996 study led by Dr. Prasad at Wayne State University in Detroit found that zinc deficiencies were correlated with low testosterone levels, and that zinc plays an important function in the production and modulating of testosterone in healthy men.
A healthy dosage of zinc for adult males is 11 mg/day. Foods rich in zinc include beans, nuts, whole grains, red meat, and poultry.
4. Get off the Couch
A 2004 study at the University of Saskatchewan, led by Dr. Tremblay found that various hormones and androgens increased in response to exercise, particularly resistance exercise. These increases were more dependent on exercise mode and intensity than by exercise volume, so make sure you are training properly. Quality over quantity.
5. Not too much sugar, Sugar
A report published by The Endocrine Society found that high levels of glucose, or the sugar that circulates in the blood as a result of the digestion of food, led to a decrease in testosterone in the blood.
The study found that administering glucose to the blood decreased blood levels of testosterone by as much as 25%, regardless of whether the patients had diabetes, prediabetes, or normal glucose tolerance.
6. Take it easy
A 1995 study at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Maryland found that high chronic stress levels led to a precipitous fall in testosterone levels in the blood.
This is due to the increase in production of the stress hormone cortisol, which overtakes production of testosterone. Build quiet down-time and relaxing, leisurely activities into your daily schedule to lower your aggregate stress levels.
7. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
A 2013 study conducted at the Mahalaxmi Clinic in India led by Dr. Vijay Ambiye et al found evidence of an herbal remedy for low testosterone: Ashwagandha. This shrub from the nightshade family has been used for centuries in traditional Ayurvedic medicine to treat male sexual dysfunction and infertility. Turns out there was something to it: Dr. Ambiye's study showed that participants who consumed the plant's long, brown, tuberous roots exhibited increased testicular daily sperm production and heightened serum testosterone levels.