One of the world’s best kept secrets is that men go through a change of life or male menopause. It is called ANDROPAUSE and normally occurs between the ages of 45-60.
Although there has been an upsurge in media attention and available information on the subject most men will deny any such phenomenon exists.
Mention it to just about any red blooded male and the suggestion is met with protest and indignation. It is certainly not a hot topic for dinner party conversation although a man might discuss it in hushed tones with a male friend over a few drinks. It tends to be one of those “taboo” subjects like the war.
Nobody dares mention it because it is one of those things we do not talk about in mixed company. Every woman over 45 knows she is going to have to face menopause at some time.
The upside for men is statistics show only one in every 200 men will go through a really rough menopause. Many are lucky and only ever suffer mild symptoms. There are 70 year old men out there with the hormone levels of a 20 year old (gotta get me one of them).
The downside is there are other men who will suffer most or all of the symptoms. The difference between men and women is that women talk about their change of life experiences, they even joke about it and certainly share how they manage their symptoms.
Women accept menopause as part of their life’s journey. Outside of her family there are 3 people a woman trusts implicitly without reservations. Her doctor, her gynaecologist and her hairdresser. First sign of menopausal symptoms and she will seek help and advice. Whereas as man may feel quite unwell, be physically, mentally and emotionally depleted. Feel defeated and drained by the whole experience and ignore the symptoms and repress his feelings.
So what causes this “unmentionable” situation? Low production of the male hormone testosterone (androgen) can lead to the onset of menopausal symptoms. I will list them for you.
*General feelings of tiredness and lethargy.
*Mood swings and erratic behavior patterns *Night sweats.
*Depression, nervousness , anxiety and outbursts of anger.
*Fuzzy thinking and bouts of memory loss.
*Feelings of regret, loss and disappointment.
*Dissatisfaction with life ie. work, home, family relationships ,friendships.
Certain medical conditions can cause a man’s testosterone levels to drop. These conditions are associated with the hyperthalamus and pituitary glands. Some men with cancer, diabetes, or any auto- immune disorder may also have low testosterone levels.
It can also be triggered by obesity, destructive lifestyle choices, poor diet and total lack of exercise or awareness about what is part of the natural aging process. For proper diagnosis a doctor will first discuss the symptoms, do a physical examination, order blood tests to check hormone levels. If the results prove there is a problem the patient will be referred to an endocrinologist who is the person most qualified to deal with management and treatment.
TESTOSTERONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY
Testosterone replacement therapy will certainly relieve some of the symptoms like fatigue, depression, anxiety and improve libido. However there has been so much controversy over hormone replacement therapy for the female menopause many women are looking for alternatives rather than face any risk.
Sadly many women died before the connection was made between HRT and breast cancer. The positive side to that story is many women have been on HRT for years and swear by it so it has always been “swings and roundabouts”.
Still I think it is fair to suggest a man needs to gather all the information he can about any possible side a-effects of TRT and then make an informed decision. Do not rule it out just ask questions and get answers that satisfy you and allay your fears before embarking on treatment.
YOGA & MEDITATION
An experienced and understanding yoga teacher can provide a well balanced yoga practice suitable for a peson’s age, level of fitness and problem. Class will include restorative, rejuvenating practices like meditation, relaxation , breath awareness and cleansing techniques (Hatha yoga).
Yoga is based on more than just science. Based on India’s culture and profound philosophy it is like being given a road map, a compass and a sign that says “Stay on the path” to attain and maintain physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
Just as yoga comes from ancient wisdom and Ayurveda comes from Indian Tibetan medicine Chinese medicine comes from an impressive and invaluable source with a long history of success with acupuncture, and herbal remedies along with beneficial and enjoyable modalities like Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Wu Shu.
Chinese medicine suggests the male menopause is caused by kidney deficiency and liver stagnation and also related to heart and spleen.
There are many Chinese apothecary shops and clinics here in Thailand with experts who can diagnose and treat symptoms of male menopause.
A personal trainer can set up a program suitable for a man’s age and physical condition. It is not so much about building muscle as building bone density, strength, discipline, cardiovascular care and shedding weight that puts great strain on all the bodies systems.
It may surprise you to know35 minutes brisk walking morning and afternoon can work wonders. It is free along with the fresh air and sunshine.Walking can help you lose weight, control blood sugar, lower blood pressure and reduce stress.
It is not about giving up all the things you love to eat it is about including things that are good for you and excluding things that are bad for you. Sudden drastic changes in diet are not recommended.
It is more moderation and gradual change. The stomach needs to be two thirds full and one third empty that is the yoga perspective on eating. Cut down on meat if you are a big meat eater.
Eat more vegetable, fruit, herbs, nuts, seeds, pulses, sprouts, whole grains. Drink more water, fresh juices. Cut down on sugar, dairy and fat. Gradually cut down and then out social drugs and alcohol. B Vitamins can help with stress and boost energy.
Vitamin C can stabilize the production of stress hormones. Herbs – like Ginseng and Ashwaghanda can counteract the long term affects of stress. Fish oil supplements can improve cognitive function, boost energy levels and can help prevent heart attack.
L- Arginise is an amino acid that helps dilate constricted blood vessels associated with erectile dysfunction. Menopause for both men and women can last for years. Tremendous strain in put on relationships. Family life can be seriously challenged, destroyed or disrupted. The support of a sympathetic , loving partner is an asset. A man alone is more vulnerable and isolated.
“GRAB THE DRAGON BY THE TAIL AND GIVE HIM A GOOD SHAKING” CHECK OUT “YOGA FOR HEALTH & AGING” ON THE INTERNET.
Information, advice and companionship on the journey. Dr. Timothy McCall is on FB he teaches yoga seminars world wide and written a book which deals with male menopause.
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