Menopause for Andropause?


Similar to menopause in women, andropause arrives in a man’s life when there is a drastic drop in hormone levels. When levels of testosterone fall, the condition is called hypogonadism (hypo=low, gonad=testis). Although total testosterone may not drop drastically, free testosterone, or the active form of testosterone, drops significantly with age. As men grow older, levels of free testosterone decrease and estrogen levels increase. In fact, the average 60-year-old male has more circulating estrogen in his blood stream than the average 60-year-old female! As if the decline in testosterone (can start as young as 30) weren’t problematic enough, new research has shown that even small increases in estrogen may have detrimental effects on men’s cardiovascular health.

This age-related decline in free testosterone levels (commonly referred to as “Andropause”) may result in diminish­ing energy, reduced libido, decreasing muscle mass, abdominal weight gain, depression, reduced cognitive func­tion, and an increased risk of heart disease.

Advances in understanding the function of hormones and the role of hormone replacement has made it possible to manage many of the negative side-effects associated with age-related hormone decline. One therapy that has gained popularity in recent years is biologically identical testosterone replacement therapy for men. Testosterone replacement therapy in men has been shown to reverse some of the negative effects of low testosterone including enhance libido, improve erectile dysfunction, decrease heart disease risk, increase lean body mass, improve diabetes and pre­vent osteoporosis. Maintaining testosterone levels may also lower total cholesterol and LDL, and decrease insulin resistance. Additional research has shown a beneficial impact on cellular energy production, brain function, and oxygenation.

Any hormone given at non-physiologic doses have the potential not only to cause adverse effects but can be dangerous.  Therefore, before testosterone therapy is initiated, specific labs should be ordered including prostate specific antigen (PSA), dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and Estradiol. Testosterone therapy dosing should be based on an individual’s hormone level.  No two people are alike, and hormone needs differ from person to person. There are many commercial products available that promise to help overcome the negative effects of a testosterone decline (such as loss of libido). However, TRT actually helps address the cause of the problem…not just the side-effects, while offering a combination of additional long-term health benefits.

Biologically identical testosterone therapies include injections, topical gels, and pellets. Injections are usually administered every one to two weeks. Topical gels are applied once per day. Pellets are inserted by the doctor and release a steady amount of testosterone over three to six months. Dr Blend has particular expertise in all aspects of TRT including "pellet insertion". Pellet insertion is an excellent choice if you continue to forget to apply your daily gel/cream or if you have a fear of injecting yourself weekly. Plese see our blog titled "The Blend Pellet Procedure".

Dr. Timothy Blend Triple Board Certified Physician in Emergency Medicine, Internal Medicine and Anti-Aging Medicine.

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