It is estimated that today there are over 78 million Baby Boomers currently living in the United States. The Baby Boomers are the generation that was born between the years 1946 and 1964. As the Baby Boomers age, so comes with it a subsequent decline in their health and well-being.
Just as women experience declining estrogen levels in menopause from their 40’s through their 60’s, men experience a similar decline in levels of their primary hormone, testosterone, as they age. This decline in testosterone in aging men has been termed “andropause.” The loss of testosterone, which can happen to men as young as 35, is gradual, with testosterone levels dropping just 1 percent to 1.5 percent annually. Unlike the precipitous loss of estrogen which menopausal women face, the gradual loss of testosterone may take years to exact its mark on men. Declining testosterone levels in men can impact men’s health in a variety of ways – from declining energy levels to increased risk for cardiovascular disease.
Naturopathic physicians take a full individualized history to determine if men are experiencing symptoms of andropause. They most often spend up to an hour and half with patients on their first visit to really get to know them as a person and to know a full history before starting with any laboratory tests or with any treatments. Andropause seems to be a multi-factorial process but most often occurs when testosterone levels in men decline with age. Symptoms of andropause may also be caused by or be mimicked by other conditions like adrenal fatigue, hypothyroidism and environmental toxicity. With lowered testosterone levels, not only can men have the unwanted symptoms of andropause like lack of libido, erectile dysfunction and a decrease in energy but they can also be predisposed to developing other more serious conditions like cardiovascular disease, obesity, insulin resistance and diabetes, osteoporosis, and Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH).
Both simple blood tests, like a male hormone panel, and other specialized tests like a thyroid function test, an adrenal function test, or an IgG Food Allergy test can determine the underlying cause of andropausal symptoms. Although medications are not a naturopathic physician’s first choice for treating the symptoms of andropause, naturopathic physicians do have prescription rights in the state of Arizona and may decide to prescribe a medication if they feel it necessary. With the use of naturalBioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) in conjunction with many other natural treatment options, like botanicals, nutritional supplementation, and acupuncture, andropause can be managed effectively and help men regain and attain optimal health as they age.