Dr. Erika Schwartz is a leading national expert in wellness, disease prevention, and bioidentical hormone therapies. Dr. Schwartz has written four best-selling books, testified before Congress, hosted her own PBS special on bioidentical hormones, and is a frequent guest on network TV shows.

Tags: male menopause | andropause | decline in hormone levels | treating male menopause | low testosterone | male menopause symptoms

Confronting Male Menopause

Monday, 17 September 2012 01:00 AM

As I see growing numbers of men in our age management practice looking for help, I’ve become convinced that the time has come to take male menopause — also known as andropause — out of the closet.

Did you know that men, just like women, experience a decline in their hormone levels as they get older? Men’s symptoms may not be the same or as well recognized as women's, but long-term, they can be just as devastating and bring about chronic illnesses and frailty.

Facts About Andropause

Every man starts with a total testosterone levels somewhere between 600 and 1000 mcg/dl (or higher) and a free testosterone level around 2 pg/mL. Since we don’t typically measure men’s testosterone levels unless they are sick, we don’t usually know where the levels are when men are healthy and young. We only become aware that the level of these important hormones has dropped when symptoms appear. In the case of andropause, some or all of these symptoms may occur:

1. Night sweats
2. Mood swings
3. Depression
4. Loss of libido
5. Weight gain
6. Inability to build muscle the same way you did when you were young
7. Frequent urination in the middle of the night
8. Weak or split urinary stream
9. Prostate swelling and prostatitis.

Do any of these complaints sound familiar? I’m sure they do. The simple fact is that symptoms of andropause can seriously diminish a man’s quality of life, affecting his well-being, workplace performance, and even his relationships and family life. It’s a tragedy that there is so much needless suffering because we refuse to take andropause and hormone deficiency seriously, and it’s time to do something about it.

Testosterone Benefits

During more than 16 years of working with hormones, I have seen thousands of male patients. They always start with problems unresolved by conventional means and are scared that taking testosterone may cause prostate cancer. Nothing could be further from the truth. The entire story of the connection between testosterone and prostate cancer stems from one report in a medical journal in 1939 about a patient who had high testosterone and prostate cancer. No research ever supported the connection and millions of men have suffered since. Fear by urologists and internists to treat men with testosterone has stunted the improvement of men’s condition as they age. It is a shame, and it’s time to change by adding testosterone as a first-line therapy for men in andropause with low testosterone and symptoms of its deficiency.

I’ve seen thousands of inspiring outcomes where men’s lives were changed, relationships were saved, and patients were literally transformed by the addition of testosterone safely and caringly by knowledgeable physicians.

Unfortunately, I’ve also seen a pattern of men suffering in silence, unaware that there is help, or unwilling to seek that help. Many men whom I have treated successfully would never have walked through the doors of my office without the encouragement of a spouse, family member, or close friend. Most commonly, women I treat with bioidentical hormones start to feel fabulous once their hormones are in balance and they decide it’s time to help the men in their lives to feel great as well.

The more male patients I treat and the more scientific literature on supplemental testosterone I read, the more convinced I am that men can really benefit from testosterone supplementation.

Among other results, testosterone often proves to be more successful than Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, and other drugs used for erectile dysfunction. And testosterone is safe. The PSA (prostate-specific antigen) level drops in time even if initially there is a little bump up. The man feels better and stops having night sweats. His mood and outlook on life improve. He builds better muscle, his sleep improves, and his flagging libido returns.

Challenge the Silence

After accumulating a lot of clinical successes treating men’s hormone issues, I decided that it was time to educate the public about this widespread problem. I went to my agent and asked her to find a publisher for a book I wanted to write on my clinical and scientific knowledge and experience on male andropause. I thought men would love to know there are good options and serious, safe, and sound solutions to the health problems they face, including midlife crisis. Silly me!

While my agent has never had difficulty selling my ideas for books on women and our hormone problems to top publishing houses (I’ve written four best-selling books on the subject of hormones and health), when it came to men, no one was interested. While lots of books have been published on the use of Viagra and how to get an erection, my book on andropause and its safe and effective treatment with testosterone supplementation still sits unpublished in my office.

I think it’s sad. We took menopause out of the closet and now we can’t stop talking about it — and as a result, millions of women’s lives have been changed for the better. But when it comes to our poor men, we are keeping them and their hormone issues under wraps and acting as though andropause is not as common, as inevitable, or as treatable as menopause.

I say it’s time to let andropause out of the closet and bring our men’s testosterone needs out into the daylight. It’s high time to help them feel better without Viagra, to help them stop hiding from us because they feel there is something wrong with them. We need to help them find the truth and understand that even if they are bigger and stronger than we are, ALL men fall to their knees, just like us, when their hormones leave them.

First Steps

First and foremost, it is vital that you find a hormone doctor who recognizes that andropause is a problem and who has experience diagnosing and treating low testosterone. If you don’t know where to turn, try searching RestoreMD for a doctor in your area.

Once you have identified a doctor you feel comfortable with, ask him or her to do the following:

1. Have a blood test for PSA, testosterone, (Total/free), Estrogen, Progesterone, DHEA, TSH, T3, T4, LH, cortisol, prolactin.
2. Start nutritional supplementation with an age-specific supplement that includes lycopene, saw palmetto, omega-3 fish oils, vitamins C and B, folate, and vitamin D3.
3. Add micronized testosterone and progesterone in transdermal cream form. These safe and effective prescription medications are available from a compounding pharmacy with a doctor’s prescription.
4. If that doesn’t prove to be enough to help increase your testosterone level, try HCG 250 iu twice a week subcutaneous and /or testosterone enanthate or propionate 100 mg IM a week.
5. Consider adding supplements 7- Keto or DHEA for energy and weight management, and DIM and indole-3-carbinol to lower the estrogen and DHT, byproducts of aging testosterone metabolism.

© HealthDay

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Men, just like women, experience a decline in their hormone levels as they get older, and although the symptoms may not be as well recognized as they are in women, they can be just as devastating.
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Monday, 17 September 2012 01:00 AM
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