Back to Living Better

Andropause: Men and changing hormones

Male or female, most people are familiar with the term menopause. But mention andropause at your next dinner party and you might get a few blank stares. That’s because few people talk about it, says Ken Ricci, D.O., a primary care physician at Piedmont.

While the term isn’t familiar, the symptoms are – many men in their older years experience a decrease in testosterone, which leads to the condition called andropause. How to determine if you have low testosterone.

Symptoms of andropause

Andropause symptoms depend on the individual, but typically include:

  • Decreased stamina. “Most men feel tired – they just wear out,” says Dr. Ricci.
  • Difficulty building muscle. Some men notice they don’t get the same results at the gym that they used to see in younger years.
  • Trouble losing weight and keeping it off, particularly stubborn belly fat.

What can you do now?

Fortunately, men don’t have to live with these symptoms.

“We educate the patient so they understand these symptoms are not necessarily something they need to accept,” explains Dr. Ricci.

There are three key steps to combating the effects of low testosterone:

1. Proper nutrition. “In our society, there’s a lot of emphasis on sugar and carbohydrate ingestion,” says Dr. Ricci. “This causes problems with your metabolism and prevents you from burning fat and losing weight more effectively.”

Eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, lean protein (like fish, chicken, beans) and whole grains. Limit your consumption of fat, sugar and alcohol.

2. Exercise. Certain workouts are more effective for weight loss, but any activity is better than nothing. So when you have the choice between sitting on the couch and going for a brisk walk, choose the walk. It all adds up when you’re working to reach your weight loss goals.

For the best results in the least amount of time, research shows interval training (short bursts of high intensity exercise) is effective at torching calories during and even after your workout. Click here to learn more about interval training.

To build muscle and keep your joints strong, squeeze in strength training sessions at least twice a week on non-consecutive days. Click here to learn more about strength training.

3. Speak openly with your physician. “It’s important that men feel they can speak their physicians about their current circumstances and open up about these symptoms,” he says. “Doctors have heard these stories before – it’s nothing new. Doctors want their patients to feel better and want their lives to be more engaging, more fulfilling. When you see that your patients are actually able to enjoy their lives as a result of treatments that you are able to provide for them, it’s terrific.”

For more health tips, visit Living Better’s Men’s Health page.  

Related Stories