The general consensus is that women are the only sex affected by age-related hormone shifts and swings. However, according to Marla Ahlgrimm, this simply isn’t true. The hormone replacement therapy expert explains that around 20% of the male population experiences a decline in hormones known as andropause.
Marla Ahlgrimm explains that andropause, like menopause, begins sometime after a man’s 50th birthday and presents with symptoms including decreased muscle mass, erectile dysfunction, and cognitive impairment. The effects of andropause may be countered with testosterone replacement, but this treatment is not without concern. Pushing higher levels of testosterone throughout the body may pose an elevated cardiovascular disease risk and will serve as fuel for any existing or undiagnosed prostate cancer.
Men with sleep apnea may be at a greater risk of complications as are those with existing blood disorders, says Marla Ahlgrimm.
Since men experience issues with hormone decreases less often than females, andropause should not be an initial diagnosis. Marla Ahlgrimm notes that a number of other conditions can wreak similar havoc on a man’s mental and physical abilities. Thyroid disorders are often mistakenly diagnosed as andropause (and even early menopause in women).
Thyroid hormone disorders closely mimic reproductive hormone disorders. Marla Ahlgrimm notes that thyroid conditions may cause drastic and sudden changes in energy level in mood. Likewise, weight fluctuation, which men and women commonly associate with age, may be due to undiagnosed hypo- or hyperthyroidism. Men and women both experience changes in bowel habits due to an increase or decrease in thyroid hormones. Hot flashes, a telltale symptom of menopause, are similar to temperature tolerance issues common with thyroid disorders.
Neither thyroid disorders nor reproductive hormone decline may be treated with over-the-counter products, despite erroneous claims made on hyped up late-night infomercials. Marla Ahlgrimm suggest a simple blood test to check hormone levels followed by a full consultation with your physician if you experience any sudden or unusual symptoms you believe are linked to a chemical imbalance.