With ageing, men can experience a decrease in the male sex hormone testosterone.
There can be cognitive symptoms of andropause, such as depression, irritability, and short-term memory problems.
There can, however, also be physical manifestations of lowered testosterone, which Dr Younis pointed out.
“Physical symptoms include difficulty sleeping, erectile dysfunction, and a lack of energy,” said Dr Younis.
Additional symptoms can include a “loss of muscle mass which can make exercise harder”.
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Moreover, a man can experience a “loss of sex drive, tiredness, and changes in how fat is distributed across your body”.
Dr Younis elaborated on the last point: “You may develop a more prominent belly or swollen breast tissue.”
These symptoms of a testosterone deficiency typically come on “gradually”, so Dr Younis cautioned: “They may not be easily identifiable.”
Dr Younis explained: “Testosterone levels drop by about one percent per year from around age 30.
“However, lifestyle and psychological factors… can also cause or contribute to many of these symptoms.”
- Lack of exercise
- Weight gain
- Poor sleep
- Drinking too much alcohol.
While testosterone drops from the age of 30, these signs don’t typically appear until a person’s late 40s and early 50s.
“Any discomfort caused by symptoms usually doesn’t continue for a lifetime,” said Dr Younis.
“But [the symptoms] can last for up to 15–20 years as your body adjusts to having lower testosterone levels.”
If treatment is needed to ease symptoms of andropause, then lifestyle changes are recommended.
- Follow a healthy, balanced diet
- Reduce alcohol consumption
- Don’t smoke
- Exercise regularly
- Find ways to relax
- Lower stress levels
- Improve sleep.
Dr Naveed Younis is a Consultant Endocrinologist and General Physician (GP) at Spire Regency Hospital in Macclesfield, Cheshire.