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The Facts About Andropause Dr. L Berman


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All men experience declining testosterone levels as they age (sorry, guys). Starting at about age 30, a typical man's testosterone declines 10 percent each decade. At the same time, levels of sex-hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) increase, trapping much of the remaining testosterone and making it unavailable to the body's cells. Though both of these are completely normal, some men experience a more dramatic change, significant enough that it leads to andropause — the male version of menopause.

Not all men go through andropause — though it's estimated that 20 to 30 percent will experience it by their 50's. Those who do will feel it in almost every part of their life, since testosterone affects nearly all processes in a man's body. Andropause can have a global effect on how a man is feeling: low libido, problems with erectile function, less energy, and, in more extreme cases, bone loss and depression. And since andropause can begin even more gradually than menopause (and gets much less press), it can be hard to recognize exactly what's going on.

So how do you know if andropause is taking its toll on your partner? If he has all or some of the above symptoms, suggest he get a medical checkup, including having his hormone levels checked. (Making it a health issue will be easier for him to hear than the suggestion that he's lacking in testosterone.) If his levels are especially low, testosterone replacement could be the answer.

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