Health & Fitness An introduction to andropause, is it a real thing?

An introduction to andropause, is it a real thing?

Testosterone deficiency syndrome is not life-threatening but it can affect the quality of life for men as well as impact their relationship with their loved ones

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Strictly speaking, andropause is not a medically recognised term. The reason is that as males age, the sex hormone, testosterone drops but the decrease is much less than what is experienced by women when they undergo menopause which is when their sex hormone estrogen drops drastically.

Hence there is no “pause” for males. The more medically correct terminology of the syndrome experienced by aging males is Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome. In males,
testosterone levels are highest from age 20 to 30. Subsequently, levels of testosterone start to decline and by 80, levels have declined by up to 30%.

Although testosterone deficiency syndrome is not life-threatening it can affect the quality of life for men. It may also impact their relationship with their loved ones. As a result, some men may even become depressed.

Do all men experience testosterone deficiency syndrome?
While testosterone levels decline in males as they age, not all men experience the symptoms associated with testosterone deficiency.

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What are some common symptoms that men may experience if they have testosterone deficiency?
 Low sex drive (low libido)
 Erectile dysfunction (difficulty getting an erection or sustaining erection)
 Weight gain especially around the waist
 Tiredness
 Mood changes (low mood and/or irritability)

Are certain males more likely to experience testosterone deficiency?
It has been found that men with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and especially men with metabolic syndrome which is a combination of diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and high body fat, are more likely to experience testosterone deficiency. In addition, depression increases the risk as well.

Are there natural ways men can increase or reduce the rate of decrease of testosterone as they age?
There are studies that show resistance weight training can increase levels of testosterone.
Also reducing body fat may increase the levels of testosterone. Diet and exercise may help with this.

In particular, some studies show that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is more effective in reducing body fat than steady-state cardio. Consult your doctor prior to starting any diet or exercise programme.

Are there any proven natural supplements that can increase testosterone levels?
In the market, there are a myriad of supplements which have been promoted as a natural way to increase testosterone levels.

Unfortunately, to date there is no proven natural supplement that can increase testosterone levels. There are also concerns about “natural” supplements being adulterated with western medicine used to treat some symptoms like erectile dysfunction which can cause serious health issues and even death if used inappropriately.

Is there any treatment for those with testosterone deficiency syndrome?

There are various treatment options available to increase your testosterone levels. These may include injections, capsules or gel. Please consult your doctor to discuss which option is more suitable to you.

So if you think you are suffering from testosterone deficiency syndrome, do not suffer in silence anymore and seek the advice of your doctor.

Dr Julian Ng, is the resident doctor at DTAP Clinic Novena, focusing on Men’s health, Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), Paediatrics and Chronic Diseases Management.
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