Andropause - The final showdown
Are you one of those hitting the gym regularly and seeing good gains? Are you one of those who has decided now after a long thought to hit the gym and become a dude? Congratulations guys, you should be proud of yourselves. For those who do not want to or still contemplating to hit the gym, read further coz this is aimed at helping you. What happens when you lift weights and eat healthy? I am sure every one of you aged 18 and above would have come across the term called Testosterone. To keep it simple, It is the hormone that helps you build muscles and look masculine (growth of body hair, reproductive organs etc.,) Strength training boosts Testosterone secretion in men. It is an anabolic steroid hormone that is secreted by the testicles in males. Having said that, does your testosterone levels linearly increase as you grow older? Women undergo a lot of hormonal changes in different phases of their lives. When they cross the age of 45 in general, they enter a phase called Menopause. This is a phase of their lives when they stop menstruating as their ovaries ceases to function marking the end of their reproductive period. Men are not immune to age related disorders or hormonal changes. So what happens when a man enters his old age? As you age, your T-levels (Testosterone levels) gradually drop (roughly 10% every decade post the age of 30). When that happens, a whole lot of changes accompanies in our bodies. This is called Andropause or Male menopause What is Andropause? Andropause is a phase in a man’s life where it results in significant hormonal changes such as reduced Testosterone levels (male sex hormone) generally between the age of 40 and 60. Unlike menopause where the sex levels drop abruptly between a short period of time, andropause leads to a gradual reduction of the sexual hormones in a man’s body. To define it simple, Andropause is the transition phase in a man’s life. What are the causes of Andropause? As men age, its not just about the drop in T levels. But another significant change happens which we need to know about. The levels of another hormone called Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) increases. Now you may wonder what this hormone does? In younger males, the SHBG is secreted less which means more testosterone is available for use by the body. As we age, SHBG absorbs or pulls usable testosterone from the blood. Hence this reduces the bioavailability and hence low T levels. Lower the T levels, lower is the supply to the tissues needing it. This causes a whole lot of physical and physiological changes in the body ranging from mood swings to drop in performance. What are the symptoms of Andropause? Erectile dysfunction and sexual dysfunction occurs in men aged between 40 and above, affecting roughly 2% of the population (early 40’s) to 90% of the population (80 years and above). The other symptoms include changes in body, energy levels, mood, sex drive, endurance. Due to andropause that results in declining T-levels, it also puts men at health risks such as heart diseases and bone ailments. Below is the summary of symptoms suffered by men during andropause 1. Low sex drive 2. Erectile dysfunctions 3. Low energy 4. Depression & Mood swings 5. Decreased bone density and other bone ailments 6. Loss of lean muscle & increased fat How to delay andropause? While people may suggest various methods such as hormonal replacement therapy that may lead to several risks associated with kidney or heart, there are natural methods with which one may live a very healthy life and pretty well manage age related disorders. By adopting lifestyle changes such as strength training, quantified and clean nutrition, stress reduction through activities such as meditation, yoga, good sleep may help our body maintain its condition even as we age. Key takeaway It is completely normal to experience a decline in your testosterone levels as you get older. From being a newborn and held in our parent’s hand to becoming a grandfather holding our children or grandchildren for support, none of us in this world can stop ourselves from ageing. It is part of our existence and we have to learn to accept it. For everything in life, the first step for change should come within us. So change your habits now and experience the beauty of old age unfold before you.