By: Dr. Loretta Lanphier, ND, CN, HHP
September 11th 2004 -
At about ages 40-50, starting even as early as their 30’s, men go through a change when they realization hits them--they are aging. Their bodily changes are accompanied by changes in attitudes and moods. During this time men frequently begin to question their values, accomplishments, and life’s direction. The entire pattern of these changes has led to the notion of the mid-life crisis. But let’s look deeper into this cultural phenomenon.
Health research results show that a mid-life crisis is physical. It’s a gradual and subtle shift in hormone production in the male body. Unlike a woman’s body, there is no medically defined marker, like a woman’s cessation of menstruation, which says a man is in male menopause--andropause. Science has known about andropause since the 1940’s, but only until recently have there been accessible and easy to administer hormone tests. Now more than ever, there is interest in men’s aging process. Researchers are learning that letting this male hormone imbalance go untested and untreated can lead to some serious physical health risks. Emotional issues occur with this imbalance that can add stress to a man’s health and well being.
In this article, I focus on the set of physical bodily changes that is andropause. It’s a fact that men go to the doctor 50% less than women, and are just not as verbal as women. Some deny that there is even a problem. Therefore andropause symptoms have gone unexpressed adding to the difficulty in understanding the changes. Let’s look at what occurs, and what can be done to slow down these inevitable changes of aging.
There is a basic set of identifiable symptoms which signal changes in hormones. These symptoms include some of the same symptoms women experience:
* Diminished sex drive.
* Urinary changes
* Lack of energy.
* Decrease in strength and/or endurance.
* Lost height, back pain.
* Decreased “enjoyment of life.”
* Irritability, anger, and grumpiness.
* Depression or withdrawn.
* Erections less strong.
* Deterioration in sports ability.
* Falling asleep after dinner.
* Decreased work performance.
* Joint aches and stiffness of the hands.
* Premature aging.
* Changes in hair growth and skin quality.
* Loss of physical fitness, weight gain, and “beer” bellies.
* Hot flashes
* Increased anxiety
* Loss of self esteem
* Decreased memory and/or concentration
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, treatment is easy. Most often men see relief from many symptoms quickly. Suggested solutions to the hormone imbalance symptoms include:
* Make an appointment to get a simple to administer hormone test.
* Drink plenty of clean water
* Make dietary changes that increase health not weight
* Exercise to increase metabolism, and reduce body fat
* Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) - apply natural progesterone cream
* Take supplements and herbs
* Reduce stress in your lifestyle
Hormone tests are saliva tests both easy to administer and relatively inexpensive. We administer these tests at Oasis Advanced Wellness. If you are not located in the Baytown, Texas area, you can go to www.menopause-pms-progesterone.org to purchase one. You can complete the test in the privacy of your own home with complete instructions included. The test must be sent to the lab and they in turn will send you the results.
Water is the foundation to good health. Most people don’t drink enough water, and instead get their water through sugary or chemical laden products. Sample different bottled waters until you find one you like. Be sure to carry a bottle with you to sip from every day for the 2 quarts (64 oz.) you need per day.
Healthy diet is the most important factor to good health. If your diet is poor, your health will eventually show the overall lack of proper nutrients. Most people don’t know what a healthy diet is, and I counsel my patients about their diet.
Exercise is more than simply getting fit. Regular exercise boosts our oxygen levels, increases the immune system, and makes us fight disease more effectively. It energizes us, helps us relax, improves sex life, and gives us an overall feeling of health and well being. Excess body fat from poor eating habits can be eliminated with a consistent program of activity.
Natural HRT, natural progesterone, is also good for men going through andropause. Natural progesterone is safe and non-toxic. One thing that I do require of my clients when using natural progesterone--they must have their progesterone levels checked yearly to test for progesterone build up. Our goal is to achieve hormonal balance, not going from one overload to another. This is why it is always good to seek out advice from a trusted healthcare professional.
Supplements and herbs can aid in overall health. Studies have found Vitamins C, D, E and zinc, selenium, flaxseed, milk thistle, fermented soy, and garlic are beneficial to men’s health.
Reducing stress is a key element to improving health and wellness. Your hormones get out of balance just by the body managing too much stress. Hormone imbalances are stress in of itself. By using progesterone cream and following all of the above solutions, you will reduce your body’s stress. In addition, look at life on the positive side, take up mediation, and create a list of affirmations for those times when you need a reminder to let things go.
Most physicians may not know the latest research on andropause, and end up treating the symptoms with Viagra and an antidepressant. This only treats the symptoms not the cause. The health risks of neglecting hormone imbalance include increased risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, and prostate cancer. You can find out more about the solutions in my e-Book, Balancing Your Hormones Without Drugs…You Can Feel Good Again.
Oasis Advanced Wellness
16770 Imperial Valley Drive Suite 210
Houston, TX 77060