Male menopause is rarely discussed in the medical community. While female menopause is an accepted medical condition with an array of treatments and therapies, male menopause is often dismissed as a figment of the patient’s imagination. That is beginning to change, however, and male menopause – also known as andropause – is starting to garner the attention it deserves. As any middle aged man knows from personal experience, the symptoms of male menopause are very real indeed. Conventional medicine offers few alternatives for men experiencing the effects of andropause, and more and more sufferers are turning to natural treatments to find relief from their symptoms.
Causes and Symptoms of Male Menopause
As with female menopause, the underlying cause of andropause is the decrease in production of naturally occurring hormones within the body. Age takes its toll on everyone, and a decrease in hormone production over time is common to both men and women. Testosterone levels in men begin to decrease as early as age 30, and continue to decline at an estimated 1% per year through the age of 50 and above. Add to that the natural fluctuation of other natural hormones and chemicals within the body and its little surprise that men begin to show symptoms of a “change of life” as they move into middle age.
The most common symptoms of male menopause include fatigue, loss of muscle mass, depression, hot flashes and sexual dysfunction. While the effects of male menopause may not be as striking as those of female menopause, men suffering through their own change of life need to know that there are natural remedies to help alleviate their symptoms.
Herbal Treatments for Andropause
There are a variety of natural herbal supplements men can take to help alleviate the chronic symptoms of male menopause. These can be taken separately, or in a combination depending on the severity of the patient’s symptoms. Black Cohosh, prepared as a tea or taken as a supplement, can help to alleviate hot flashes and night sweats common to men in the throes of andropause. Red Clover can also be taken to reduce night sweats, and also has the added benefit of improving circulation in the arteries. Wild Yam and Dong Quai are two natural herbal supplements that can be taken to increase the production of testosterone. The decrease in testosterone production is at the root of all andropause symptoms, including fatigue, depression, mood swings and loss of libido. Adding these supplements to one’s diet can help to keep testosterone levels stable, bringing much relief to men suffering the symptoms of andropause.
Gingko Biloba and Yohimbine may also be taken in small doses to assist with blood flow. These herbal supplements have been shown to help men experiencing moderate levels of sexual dysfunction brought about by middle age. For sufferers of male menopause they offer some relief from the natural loss of libido and sexual stamina.
Diet and Exercise
Diet and exercise can play a huge role in reducing the symptoms of male menopause. Exercise, in particular, is a powerful tool in slowing the loss of muscle mass that is so common to men in their middle age. Loss of muscle mass also contributes to the reduction of testosterone levels in the body, so exercise can have a positive effect in slowing the decrease of testosterone production. Regular exercise also releases endorphins that can help to promote a sense of well-being, and reduce the instances of depression and mood swings common to male menopause. High intensity training not only increases ones metabolism but also boosts the body’s own production of human growth hormone which also decreases andropause symptoms.
A wholesome diet lies at the root of maintaining total health at any age. As men begin to enter middle age it is even more important to transition to a wholly natural, vegetarian based, diet. High animal fat foods should be avoided, and men should begin to integrate more organic fruits and vegetables into their daily diet. Red meat should be eliminated when at all possible, as this leads to high cholesterol and high blood pressure which will only exacerbate any andropausal symptoms. Seeds, nuts, and avocados are high in Omega-3 and other essential fatty acids and should be added to the diet in place of animal based proteins.
For years men have experienced the symptoms of andropause with little or no recognition from the scientific community. While that is beginning to change, and new research into male menopause is being conducted on a regular basis, men need not wait for conventional medicine to accept what they already know. As we age our bodies change, and hormone and chemical levels decrease, causing symptoms that can interfere with a full and satisfying lifestyle. Through all natural therapies, men can reduce their andropausal symptoms, and enjoy a rich and satisfying second act.