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The short answer: yes. It’s called male menopause, or andropause. This "manopause" is a real thing, and it ultimately comes down to too much estrogen and low testosterone because the circuitry is off in a man’s endocrine system.
In this article:
Here’s everything you need to know about andropause and what you can do about it today.
Andropause: The Basics
Andropause - also called testosterone deficiency or androgen decline in the aging male (ADAM) - is a condition that causes menopause-like symptoms in men. With andropause, men can suffer from symptoms like:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Depression or sadness
- Memory loss
- Sexual problems like low libido or low sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Low energy
- Increased body fat and gynecomastia
- Reduced muscle mass and physical weakness
- Decreased self-confidence
Some studies also suggest that male menopause is also associated with increased risk of osteoporosis, heart disease, insulin resistance, and Alzheimer's disease.
Unlike female menopause though, which affects all women, andropause only affects about 2.1% of men.
What Causes Male Menopause?
At the most basic level, the symptoms arise because estrogen and SHBG are going up and testosterone levels are going down. That said, we're not talking about the normal, gradual decline in the male sex hormone. Testosterone steadily declines in all men - decreasing by about 1% every year after the age of 40 - and this doesn't usually cause any andropause-like symptoms.
Also, it's not happening like menopause, where hormone production stops completely. The testes always produce testosterone, and a healthy man can produce viable sperm well into his 80s or later. Instead, the problem arises because there is an issue with function and circuitry.
Behind it, you have the entire circuitry system of the brain. Here's one way to think about it: you have these tiny pre-programmed computer chips in your hypothalamus called the preoptic nuclei. These computer chips are on a whole circuitry that turns on and off. At the top is the hypothalamus, which is essentially your brain’s thermostat (it controls things like heating, sweating and heart rate). At the bottom are the gonads.
When this system is working well, there is no male menopause. However, when it gets altered, it can create hot flashes in men and women. Ultimately, it’s because the hypothalamus is mistakenly alerted to stay on. Since the hypothalamus controls temperature, sweating, and pulse rate, you're going to get major symptoms in these areas.
What To Do
There are certain risk factors that can contribute to male menopause or exacerbate symptoms. They include:
- Lack of exercise
- Alcohol consumption
- Stress or anxiety
- Sleep deprivation
- Blood pressure medication
So the first step is to change these habits as much as possible.
Get a Diagnosis
Andropause is really difficult to diagnose since many of the symptoms - like fatigue and low sex drive - could be caused by a bunch of different things. To get a proper diagnosis, you will likely need:
- A check-up, including a physical exam
- Tests to rule out other medical problems that may be contributing to the condition
- Blood tests - particularly tests to measure testosterone and other hormone levels
From there, the trick is to increase testosterone levels by lowering estrogen. You don’t need to boost testosterone with a hormone, which is what most men do with testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). This strategy simply isn't proven effective, and it can lead to long-term problems like:
- Prostate cancer
- Heart disease
- Acne and oily skin
- Increased risk of blood clots
- Increased risk of stroke
- Shrinkage of the testicles
- Lower sperm count and infertility
So we don't recommend that you go that route. Instead, it’s simply a matter of lowering the estrogen, which will then naturally bring up the testosterone levels.
How to Lower Estrogen
Vegetables and Supplements
Many vegetables and natural remedies will help with this, including cruciferous vegetables like:
- Broccoli and cauliflower
- Brussell sprouts
- Bok choy
Those are a must to start consuming in larger amounts than you might be used to. We recommend at least 7 cups a day.
Stinging nettle root is another good remedy that you can take. One product that I have that has both cruciferous vegetables and stinging nettle in a large amount is called estrogen balance. A lot of times people think that this is just for females, but it’s for men too.
If you have too much estrogen, you’ll get things like breast tissue, prostate enlargement, even hair loss. There’s something in the estrogen balance called DIM. It’s a concentrated cruciferous blend - you’d have to consume 2 pounds of cruciferous vegetables to have the equivalent of 1 pill.
Watch Your Weight
Also, watch your weight. Testosterone can be converted to estrogen via an enzyme called aromatase. Aromatase is present, to a large degree, in fat. As a result, having more fat usually means more aromatase and that more testosterone is converted to estrogen.
Avoid Extra Estrogen
Finally, avoid estrogen found from external sources as much as possible. That means avoiding commercial meat and dairy (choose organic, grass-fed animal products instead). Also, avoid endocrine disruptors and xenoestrogens found in plastic food wraps and personal care products. These can not only introduce foreign estrogen but also contribute to other problems like prostate cancer.
Overall it’s important to know that male menopause is a real thing, and it really comes down to too much estrogen and low testosterone because the circuitry is off in the endocrine system. Feel free to add any questions or comments below.