IT’S not something men talk about in the same way as women do. For women, the “change of life” can be an intense experience with distressing symptoms that include night sweats, mood swings and hot flushes.
For men the change is more gradual, so it’s not quite as noticeable. The symptoms could even be seen as simply part of getting older – the loss of energy, the bulging belly, the trouble sleeping. Not to mention the accompanying loss of libido . . .
Most of these symptoms are the result of decreased testosterone, a sure sign of advancing years. But some men are hit harder than others and sometimes the so-called “male menopause” wreaks havoc with the body.
There’s a name for the condition: andropause, aka testosterone deficiency syndrome (TDS). And help is at hand in the form of hormone therapy, which involves a testosterone injection every three months.
But experts warn this shouldn’t be considered a quick fix for men with erectile dysfunction or general lack of energy. Here’s what you need to know about the signs, symptoms, and treatment of age-related low testosterone.
WHEN IS IT ANDROPAUSE?
Boys start producing testosterone in adolescence but the production of the hormone starts to decline when men are in their thirties, says Professor Riana Bornman from the University of Pretoria’s School of Health Systems and Public Health.
From age 40, they start to lose 1 to 2% of testosterone a year. When testosterone levels have dropped to the extent that a man experiences a combination of symptoms (see box) that wreak havoc with his life, male “menopause” has set in.
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17 September 2020