Health Column: “The” Questionnaire—Male Menopause?

By Larry Espinoza

Todays’ Machining World Archives March 2008 Volume 04 Issue 03

“Please look this over,” she said. “The doctor will see you right away.”
Let me see: “Do I have a lack of energy? No sex drive? Sadness? Am I grumpy? Are my erections less?”
What kind of questions are these?? And what in the world have I gotten myself into?
I was here because my gal threatened that IF I didn’t get a checkup she was going to either kill me (I wasn’t worried – she’d threatened before and nothing ever came of it), or never play between the sheets again. That was new. I made the call. Forty minutes later, the tap on the door woke me up. “Mr. Espinoza,” the doctor said, “may I look at your questionnaire?” His furrowed brow got my attention. “You have andropause, or male menopause, and you’ve got it bad.” “Huh? How do you know?”

The doctor replied, “You answered “yes” to almost all of the questions! Let’s order a blood test to see how much ‘bio-available’ testosterone you have in your system.”

“An unpredictable decline in testosterone levels will occur in virtually all men.”

Men between 45 and 55 can experience a phenomenon similar to female menopause. Unlike women, men do not have a clear-cut signpost such as the cessation of menstruation to mark this transition. Both, however, are distinguished by a drop in hormone levels. Changes occur gradually in men and may be accompanied by changes in attitudes and moods, fatigue, a loss of energy, sex drive and physical agility. Studies show that this decline in testosterone can put one at risk for other health problems like heart disease and weak bones.

Unlike menopause, which generally occurs in women during their late-forties to fifties, men’s “transition” may be gradual and expand over decades. Attitude, psychological stress, alcohol, injuries, medications, surgery, obesity and infections can contribute to its onset.

With age, an unpredictable decline in testosterone levels will occur in virtually all men and there is no way of predicting who will experience a severe enough drop in their hormonal levels to seek medical help.

Is this a new phenomenon? Andropause was first described in medical literature in the 1940s, so it’s not new, but our ability to diagnose it properly is. Tests for bioavailable testosterone weren’t around, so andropause has gone through a long period of being underdiagnosed and undertreated. Because of the vague symptoms associated with andropause (let alone Man’s inability to admit there might be a problem), physicians didn’t always think of low-testosterone levels as a culprit. More often doctors concluded that symptoms of fatigue and lack of performance were related to other medical conditions (i.e. depression) or were simply related to aging and often encouraged their patients to accept that they were no longer “spring chickens.”

There are several treatment options to increase testosterone levels, especially if some less-than-healthy lifestyle habits are part of your routine. If you make a decision to raise testosterone levels with supplements, treatment can consist of forms of the hormone using a variety of delivery systems, mainly injections and gels.

The simplest way to get around the absorption and rapid breakdown problems is also the oldest way to administer testosterone. When testosterone is injected into muscle, usually
In the buttocks, it is absorbed directly into the blood stream. The early forms of inject able testosterone broke down rapidly in the body so injections had to be given every two or three days to maintain proper blood levels. Newer inject able testosterone products are more reliable and longer acting and may even reduce the frequency of shots to one every two to four months.

The newest therapy, the gel, can produce consistent serum testosterone levels. The hormone is applied each day and absorbed into the skin, which releases testosterone steadily into the bloodstream over a 24-hour period. The gel is a clear, colorless mixture that dries quickly.

If you are experiencing some of the symptoms outlined above, make an appointment with your doctor. You might find yourself feeling more energetic in a very short period of time. In the course of three weeks using Androgel, I definitely did. Today, I have renewed energy and can remember facts and numbers easily. More importantly, I keep a smile on my face – its fun to keep the folks in the office wondering!

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