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Declining testosterone levels are commonly seen in men beginning in the fourth decade of life. This is analogous to menopause in women when ovarian production of estrogens and progesterone begins to decline. Undetected yet equally as powerful, a male's hormonal status changes dramatically during this time. The production of testosterone by testicles declines at exactly the same time as the amount of protein that binds testosterone (sex hormone binding globulin) increases. This may seriously lower the amount of free testosterone available to the target organs.
Unless the level of free testosterone is sought and assessed, a man's symptoms are often ignored and he is blown off as having a "mid-life crisis", or his physician diagnoses depression and an antidepressant is prescribed.
Testosterone is an important anabolic hormone in men. It plays many roles in maintaining both physical and mental health by increasing energy, preventing fatigue, maintaining normal sex drive, and increasing strength of structural tissues.
Testosterone deficiency is often associated with symptoms such as:
- Night Sweats
- Hot Flashes
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Loss of Energy
- Aches and Pains
- Reduced Flexibility
- Low Sex Drive (libido)
- Decreased Mental Acuity
- Loss of Muscle Mass
Furthermore, insulin resistance and diabetes are quite often additional serious consequences associated with testosterone deficiency.
Insufficient testosterone is not the only hormone imbalance that a man experiences. An excess amount of estradiol relative to progesterone is routinely discovered in the saliva during andropause, which is known to be associated with prostate gland diseases such as benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) and prostate gland cancer.
Stress management, exercise, proper nutrition, dietary supplements (particularly of adequate zinc and selenium) and androgen replacement therapy (testosterone and DHEA replacement) with physician guidance have all been shown to raise hormone levels in men and help to counter andropause symptoms. Restoration of hormone balance goes a long way in restoring zest for life.