Male Menopause – Yes, It’s Real!
With Father’s Day and celebrating all those amazing dads out there, I thought it was high time I dedicated a blog post to men’s health; specifically, to male menopause. Wait, what? Yes, male menopause. It’s a real thing!
Many doctors (including myself) are noticing that their male patients are reporting some of the same symptoms that women experience through peri-menopause and menopause.
Things like excessive perspiration, low libido, insomnia, brain fog and weight gain are just some of the most common grumbles from men in their 40s, 50s, and sometimes even 60s.
Hormone changes are a natural part of aging. Unlike the dramatic hormone plunge that occurs in women during menopause, hormone changes in men occur more gradually over time. The term “male menopause,” also known as andropause, is often used to describe decreasing testosterone levels related to aging. In general, testosterone levels gradually decline throughout adulthood, at the rate of about 1% a year after age 30. By about age 70, the decrease in a man’s testosterone level can be as much as 50 percent. What appears to drop the most dramatically is the free testosterone. Free testosterone is not bound to hormone binding globulin, which makes it the active form.
As a result of andropause, men will produce less testosterone but MORE estrogen. So ladies, if you are wondering where all your estrogen has gone during menopause…you’ve got it – it’s the men who have it!
This excess estrogen in older men may also be due in part to environmental toxins, which are full of estrogen mimicking substances called xenoestrogens that confuse our own endocrine system. These xenoestrogens come from pesticides, plastics, personal hygiene products, and household detergents, to name just a few sources.
Increased body fat can also lead to more estrogen production, as testosterone is actually converted into estrogen through an enzyme called aromatase. A lot of research is now finding that excess estrogen in men can contribute to BPH (benign prostatic hypertrophy) and initiate prostate cancer development.
My top natural strategies to help men through the transition of Andropause are:
Also known as Malaysian ginseng, Tongkat Alit has well documented aphrodisiac and testosterone-enhancing effects.
An essential mineral that plays a major role in prostate and sexual health, and an important modulator of testosterone levels. Zinc also helps to prevent the conversion of testosterone into estrogen.
Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens)
The fat-soluble extract of the fruit of the saw palmetto tree and has been shown to significantly diminish the signs and symptoms of BPH by blocking the enzyme responsible for converting testosterone into DHT (the stronger and more potent form of testosterone).
Adrenal supportive nutrients
B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, holy basil, rhodiola, Siberian ginseng and ashwagandha are essential for maintaining healthy adrenal function during andropause and fluctuating hormone levels.
Helps to increase natural testosterone levels by blocking its conversion into estrogen, and therefore leads to the production of more testosterone in the body.
Indole-3-carbinol (I3C), Calcium-d-glucarate and Sulforaphane
All contain specific nutrients that help reduce the conversion of testosterone to estrogen and therefore reduce estrogen dominance in men and women.
Found growing in the Andean highlander zones of Peru at altitudes of 14,000 ft., maca root functions as an adaptogen and helps the body withstand stress by supporting healthy adrenal gland function. It also helps to boost libido and has hormone-balancing properties.