Often referred to as a state of androgen decline in the aging male (or ADAM for short), andropause refers to a set of health symptoms that are often grouped together under the popular cultural heading of male menopause. Many of the symptoms are connected to physical origins, such as the decline of testosterone production. Here is some background on the phenomenon of andropause, including some of the current treatment methods.
There is some amount of disagreement as to if andropause is truly a clinical condition. One school of thought holds that because many of the symptoms are tied directly to a change in the production of testosterone as a man ages, that the condition is indeed one that deserves classification. Other people believe that the chemical changes are relatively irrelevant to most of the symptoms and that the condition is more properly thought of as a social or cultural phenomenon. Whatever disagreement there may be about exactly how andropause should be classified, there is almost universal agreement that referring to the condition as male menopause is incorrect. Female menopause signals the end of the time of life when a woman is able to bear children, while andropause rarely prevents a male from fathering children.
There are a number of physical and emotional conditions that are associated with andropause. Changes in libido are common, with the quality of the male erection sometimes changing as well. Lower testosterone levels may also lead to a lack of energy in general, which in turn may cause some changes in the ability to concentrate, an increase of sensitivity to light and sound, and emotional depression. Many physicians recommend a series of testosterone replacement therapy. Essentially, this form of therapy has to do with injections or other means of absorbing replacement doses of testosterone. The dosage will vary, depending on the findings of the attending physician. Replacement therapy is aided with changes in diet and exercise patterns. Combined, these approaches help to improve general physical condition as well as mental outlook.
Since many men are reluctant to see a physician, especially when it comes to changes in sexual desire and performance, the number of men who are currently receiving treatment for andropause may or may not be representative of the male population in general. While all men experience a decline in testosterone production as the years go by, some men experience a slower decline. Often, the level of physical activity and fitness, as well as dietary habits, may minimize the severity of the symptoms associated with the condition.