Andropause, also known as the male version of menopause, has been discussed increasingly by the media. It refers to the condition of lowered androgen hormones in a male, which include testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and androstenedione. When this occurs, both conventional and holistic treatments are available to treat the condition.
Who Needs Hormonal Replacements
Physicians should measure the amount of testosterone in blood to detect if the patients have low levels of testosterone. Levels are usually tested early in the morning when testosterone levels are at their highest. Men who have prostate cancer or breast cancer should not take testosterone replacement therapy, as it may increase breast size, decrease testicular size and stimulate the prostate tissue with possible increased urination symptoms. Men with clear bone density loss, possibly leading to osteoporosis and decreased height, and those being treated for sexual dysfunction in cases where male sexual enhancement remedies don’t work will benefit from hormone replacement therapy. Another possible benefit of testosterone therapy may be in cases to maintain body composition and muscle in patients fighting cancer.
Holistic Treatment of Andropause
Testosterone is the main hormone in male sexual functions and is the primary means of treating men with declining levels of the testosterone hormone. As this hormone declines relative to the aging process, it negatively impacts sexual performance. Conventional testosterone replacements may increase the risk of prostate cancer. Other risks, particularly with injections, include stroke, an increase in liver toxicity and breast development, as well as shutting down the production of sperm. Holistic treatments are clinically proven to have fewer, if any, unwanted side effects.
Tribulus terrestris naturally improves men’s sexual performance and lacks unwanted side effects. Protodioscin, the main active ingredient in this herbal plant, has been shown by clinical studies to increase the level of DHEA and testosterone in males (Viktorov I, Bozadjieva E, Protich M, et al. Pharmacological, pharmacokinetic, toxicological and clinical studies on protodioscin. 1994, IIMS Therapeutic Focus). Unfortunately, not all commercially available tribulus contains this active ingredient, so it’s preferable to purchase the herb through a certified herbalist.
Diet and Exercise
Men are advised to decrease alcohol intake and smoking. Eating soy products, lower-fat foods, more cruciferous vegetables and tomato products, which may reduce the risk of prostate cancer, is suggested. Drinking plenty of water and exercising to keep fit and healthy are also advised.
Vitamins and minerals are also recommended for overall male health. Zinc, omega-3 oils, vitamins D and E, selenium and lycopene all help in aiding healthy hormone levels by reducing estrogen in men, which increases the natural production of testosterone.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) usually tests saliva to determine baseline hormone levels. Bioidentical testosterone is obtained from plant chemicals that are biologically identical to human testosterone. They are hailed as being safer and more effective than conventional testosterone, but there is no proof of these claims. The FDA has not approved compounded BHRT drugs and cannot ensure their safety or effectiveness, so care must be taken when seeking this type of treatment.