Male menopause (andropause) involves the hormonal, physiological and chemical changes that occur in all men generally between the ages of 40 and 55.
Approximately 40% of men in their 40s, 50s and 60s will experience some degree of lethargy, depression, increased irritability, mood swings, and difficulty in attaining and sustaining erections that characterize male menopause.
Although the causes of male menopause have not been fully researched, some factors that are known to contribute to this condition are hormone deficiencies, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, hypertension, prescription and non-prescription medications, poor diet, lack of exercise, poor circulation, and psychological problems. The few doctors who profess to be experts in this area have widely divergent opinions. However, all of the experts do agree that a general decline in male potency at mid-life can be expected in a significant proportion of the male population.
Many endocrinologists and scientists who have pioneered hormone studies say the phenomenon of male menopause correlates with a decline in testosterone levels. Testosterone is the hormone that stimulates sexual development in the male infant, bone and muscle growth in man and is responsible for sexual drive.
Low testosterone has been found to cause fatigue, depression, loss of concentration, as well as decreased muscle strength and endurance. Testosterone is more important in libido or sex drive than in the erectile mechanism. Men with low testosterone levels will have problems with erections.
Total serum testosterone should be > 350 ng/dl. 200 ng/dl to 349 ng/dl require further evaluation.
Free testosterone levels need to be measured to assess the available (unbound) testosterone in the body.
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