Author Topic: Male menopause  (Read 2802 times)

drone on

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Male menopause
« on: May 23, 2012, 12:20:52 PM »
I turned 44 a few months ago, and I've noticed some things going on with my body that I'm starting to realize may be a form of "male menopause."  I guess this is a controversial subject as some believe it's B.S. but some doctors are backing it up with research.   Anyway, my symptoms are low testosterone (I had symptoms of it such as low libido and worsening depression, tiredness, irritability, etc. and got it tested.  It was below 300, where "normal" range is 300-1200 I believe), and recently, a noticeable loss of height (I used to wear size 32 length pants, now I have to buy size 30).  I got to the point recently where I finally "woke up" out of my and realized I better start doing something about my health before it's too late.  I'm about 50 lbs overweight with a big gut which I got from excess sugar consumption and carb consumption, no exercise, skipping meals, overeating at times, and smoking about a pack a day.  So I quit smoking a week ago and have changed my eating, exercise, and sleep habits.  It's been hard but I can already feel the benefits.   

I was wondering if anyone is/has gone through this and whether "male menopause" is reversible through making lifestyle changes? There is a testosterone replacement therapy but apparently the side effects can include fertility problems, heart disease, increased risk of prostate cancer, among others.  The endocrinologist I saw was not willing to do the therapy and talked me out of it.  Any opinions on this greatly appreciated.  :) 

SunDummy

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Re: Male menopause
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2012, 12:36:15 PM »
46 here, and man, do I feel your pain.  I get into a serious funk if I don't exercise regularly.  Eating well and getting sleep helps somewhat, but I really notice the difference when I push my body hard, like 50-mile+ bike rides.  I'm not a fan of taking hormones (or any drugs for that matter); so many problems can be solved by using your body the way it's meant to be used:  active as hell.  If there are still problems, then I'd look at supplements, but only after I've tried a healthy diet and physical exertion. 

Cutting out (or at least lessening) alcohol helps a great deal too.
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mgriffin

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Re: Male menopause
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2012, 12:54:28 PM »
I was about to type almost exactly what SunDummy just wrote. Mainly, I think it's a matter of lifestyle rather than a thing that happens to all men, unlike menopause which happens to all women regardless of health or lifestyle. I see it as a metabolic and hormonal syndrome that affects men who are sedentary and overweight, rather than a function of age.

Among my friends, acquaintances and co-workers, some remain "themselves" as they transition from 30s to 40s and even beyond. Others become lethargic, and seem to lose confidence and motivation. This tends to lead to a downward spiral (even if it's a subtle, gradual one) of decreased physical activity, more time spent in front of the TV, more alcohol consumption. Other effects which are a bit harder to determine for sure seem to me a lessening in libido (so many of these guys remark their wives don't want sex any more but they, the guys, don't really mind) and settling into a routine without any new plans or projects or undertakings of they kind they would have done frequently when younger.

You could say they've lost their "mojo" but I think more likely they're feeling tired, lethargic and unenthused because their energy level is lower and every activity seems more difficult. Though I obviously haven't measured the testosterone levels in any of the people I've observed suffering from this problem, I think the diminished libido compared to other men their age indicates this may be involved.

As SunDummy suggests, I think eating and sleeping better are important, but consistent, vigorous exercise is the biggest thing. Cut your body fat down near 20% and compare the way feel to how you felt before. I bet you won't feel the need for hormone therapy any more, at least if the body composition change comes from exercise and not merely from starvation.

Lena reads a lot about exercise, nutrition and endocrine/hormone issues, so maybe she'll weigh in, even though she's, you know, a girl and everything!
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

mgriffin

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Re: Male menopause
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2012, 01:07:02 PM »
Oh, and... I turn 47 in about 3 weeks so I'm fighting similar battles.

One thing I've noticed that has changed from when I was younger is that if I exercise consistently, everything's great - my energy level goes up, better mental clarity and mood, and so on. But if I slack off for a while, let my fitness drop off, then try to overdo it in order to "catch up" in a hurry, I crash and it takes me two days to recover.

It's better to exercise almost every day, easy at first and then gradually ramping up so it's always challenging, all the while making sure you get enough recovery and sleep, and don't eat or especially drink so much you un-do all the gains you made.
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hdibrell

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Re: Male menopause
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2012, 01:20:34 PM »
I couldn't agree more with Mike and SunDummy's replies. I turned 61 last weekend and I have experienced many of the same symptoms for the same reasons. I'm not overweight ( 6' and 178 lbs.) but I do have a bit of a beer belly now. I do notice that when I start eating poorly and drop off on regular exercise I feel sluggish and constantly tired. I try to eat well, but getting home late (around 8 p.m.) makes it difficult to eat well and it is so easy to just pick up food on the way home. I don't have a strenuous exercise routine, but I try to walk daily. When I start eating poorly I notice that I am less likely to exercise. The combination is not good for me. I don't watch much television, but I do sit outside and watch life in my backyard and field behind me (about the same but more entertaining). In other words, I agree. Eat better, exercise some and sleep better.
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mgriffin

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Re: Male menopause
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2012, 01:32:13 PM »
One other thing, drone on -- you mention "noticeable loss of height" as a symptom, and use inseam length as proof of this. Could it be if you've gained a lot of weight, your pants are riding lower, so 30" inseam fits like 32" did before? Or have you actually lost inches of actual height?
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hdibrell

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Re: Male menopause
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2012, 01:40:41 PM »
BTW, Drone On, congratulations on quitting smoking!  8)
Never regret money spent on old books, old dogs or old friends.

lena

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Re: Male menopause
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2012, 02:30:43 PM »
Quote
my symptoms are low testosterone (I had symptoms of it such as low libido and worsening depression, tiredness, irritability, etc. and got it tested.  It was below 300


Holy cow, below 300 is REALLY REALLY LOW, no wonder you're having all those symptoms! "A little low" is considered anything below 400, so yeah.

A sedentary lifestyle and loss of muscle combined with eating junky foods (sugar, white flour, lots of chemicals, too much alcohol, etc.) definitely causes a decline in testosterone levels, which in turn causes all sorts of cruddy side effects like depression, mental fogginess, difficulty concentrating, anxiety, loss of muscle, increased weight gain, very low sex drive and a general feeling of not caring about anything. In other words, it's NOT just a natural aging thing, men are doing this to themselves with their lifestyle choices. It's no surprise that everyone here who exercises regularly say it makes them feel better- it boosts testosterone levels. Cardio (especially anything that gets your heart rate up) boosts T production, and resistance training is a HUGE testosterone-stimulating activity. Exercise, exercise, exercise, and avoid eating foods that spike insulin - anything white and/or sugary, anything that turns into glucose upon digestion, (insulin drops testosterone like a rock.)

If I were a guy, here's what I'd do, (it's actually what I do already):
*Lift heavy weights and do cardio regularly
*Eat mostly lean proteins and non-starchy veggies
*Save sugary, white carby foods for occasional treats only, (maybe for one "treat" meal on Saturdays, or something)
*Cut way back on the beer and drink more wine instead (but not tons), and don't regularly drink to the point of being drunk
*If you're smoking cigarrettes, STOP IT, STOP IT RIGHT NOW. You'll thank yourself a million times over down the road- I know I did.


You can totally turn it around if you want to. Not saying you have to become a full-on bodybuilder, you don't have to go crazy with the weights to get the benefits, but here's a really good thread at Bodybuilding.com for men over the age of 35, and there are loads of motivational pics and stories of older guys who started off in really bad shape and got super fit and buff and feel way better nowadays:
http://forum.bodybuilding.com/forumdisplay.php?f=11

Check some of the guys in the "Males over 40" albums:
http://bodyspace.bodybuilding.com/photos/view-category/3


Oh, and you don't have to take prescription drugs to raise your T levels: If you Google "How to naturally boost testosterone levels," you'll find lots of articles with all sorts of good advice about diet, exercise, natural supplements (like vitamin D, zinc, fish oils, etc.)

Boy, looking at the big picture, it's no wonder men are talking so much about this "male menopause" thing lately. A more sedentary lifestyle, muscle loss from sedentary lifestyle, lowered testosterone from sitting still and not exercising, crappy "American diet" (so-called)-> foods that raise insulin levels and drop testosterone while at the same time boosting estrogen levels, (high estrogen is very, very bad for men.) What a MESS!  :P

« Last Edit: May 23, 2012, 03:35:42 PM by lena »
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drone on

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Re: Male menopause
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2012, 03:39:38 PM »
Lena, you are AWESOME.  Thanks!! Thanks also to everyone else for their input!!!  :)

lena

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Re: Male menopause
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2012, 03:50:22 PM »
Aw, you're welcome!  :)

I also wanted to post a link for the main forum area of Bodybuilding.com, because you can learn SOOO much there about everything from proper diet to muscle-building to fat loss and a whole lot more. I love it!

http://forum.bodybuilding.com/


Oh, and this guy is extremely inspirational for a lot of the older guys there. He's AWESOME:

http://bodyspace.bodybuilding.com/oldsuperman/
« Last Edit: May 23, 2012, 03:54:12 PM by lena »
When I die, I'm leaving my body to science fiction.

mgriffin

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Re: Male menopause
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2012, 04:33:18 PM »
Lena's always sending me bodybuilding-related links, and even though neither of us really aspires to be anything like a bodybuilder, it's useful to learn about nutrition, general fitness, and muscle-building... even in modest amounts.
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drone on

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Re: Male menopause
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2012, 10:31:07 AM »
Thanks Mike, you are AWESOME too!  And I think you're right about the pants length, they're not sitting at my waist but below my "gut" and therefore they look too long... ;D

judd stephens

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Re: Male menopause
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2012, 09:29:25 AM »
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Seren

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Re: Male menopause
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2012, 09:36:40 AM »
and don't forget a happy and creative life can also make a huge difference, whatever the level of physical exercise you undertake - no point having the hardest 8 pack in the universe if you are a miserable git.

Interestingly some of the ceremonial work i took part in showed that 'physicallity' and even 'health' are not the only measure of personal 'strength'. I met numerous people who were very fit/strong/yoga/martial arts etc who could not keep up over a long intense ceremony - your spiritual awareness and muscles are important too.

Seren

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Re: Male menopause
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2012, 09:38:55 AM »
PS I just bought myself a second hand BMW - made in 1999, 64,000 on the clock and verrry nice to drive. 8)

It might be part of a mid life crisis  :o - if my other car had not blown it's head gasket and died last week. The BMW was a very good deal and much better condition than many I looked at.....


....that's my story and I am sticking to it....

Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: Male menopause
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2012, 05:18:09 AM »
Interestingly some of the ceremonial work i took part in showed that 'physicallity' and even 'health' are not the only measure of personal 'strength'. I met numerous people who were very fit/strong/yoga/martial arts etc who could not keep up over a long intense ceremony - your spiritual awareness and muscles are important too.


As Seren points out the spiritual aspect of health is important and i would say as important as everything mentioned here......Mind, Body & Soul.  Im not talking about religion per se.  Spirituality is much too big to be contained within the walls of a cathedral, mosque or temple.

Im 48 and this mind body spirit equation is at the forefront of my menopause....actually I havent really thought much about it until I read this thread.  Female menopause seems to be in the spot light the most.

I feel and I am in better shape than I ever have been due to an active surfing lifestyle and yoga practice...both of these keep the mind body spirit equation balance.  Yoga tends to take the lead though as this is its purpose.....liberation form all worldly suffering and the cycle of birth & death, ultimately ending in union with the universal spirit...... Samadhi.  To think some people believe yoga is just a form of excersice  ;)

That being said....what I notice most at this time of life is the past behind me and where I have come from and the untrodden path before me.  What will I do with the latter part of my life?

and don't forget a happy and creative life can also make a huge difference, whatever the level of physical exercise you undertake - no point having the hardest 8 pack in the universe if you are a miserable git.

Absolutely!
« Last Edit: May 29, 2012, 05:21:50 AM by Julio Di Benedetto »

drone on

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Re: Male menopause
« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2012, 12:13:32 PM »
This is a GREAT point about being happy and having a spiritual life besides the healthy body.  Several years ago I lost 50 lbs. yet in the end I was still miserable internally.  I jumped back into a bad/unhealthy relationship and due to a minor injury gave up exercising.  I hadn't made any other improvements or changes in my life except the physical.  I am striving this time to make other improvements and find ways to have a more balanced outlook.  Thanks for pointing it out.   :)

hdibrell

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Re: Male menopause
« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2012, 01:07:24 PM »
This is so true. I find that having a positive outlook is extremely important in regards to my day to day life. If I start out in the morning thinking, " What a lousy day", then it is going to be a lousy day. If I do the opposite then it usually is a good day or at least an okay day. I'm not Pollyanna, mind you. I have my share of bad days and battle my attitude, as well. It's just that positive thoughts definitely get me off to a better start than negative ones.
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Antdude

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Re: Male menopause
« Reply #18 on: May 29, 2012, 10:19:57 PM »
I can also speak to some of this, as well. Two years ago I had diverticulitis(requiring a colostomy) and a mild heart attack a month later. I can say without a doubt my general physical condition at the time was awful. I don't smoke and I've never been a heavy drinker, but I was on lots of pain meds after retiring from the Navy, which I'm sure is what caused the intestinal problems. Word of warning: pain medications are a common cause of constipation, and I was on just about everything for chronic back pain. I wasn't hooked on pain meds, but the years of using ever stronger stuff to deal with it just wreaked hell on my system.

The back pain, migraines,  a bad, salty diet(and attendent high blood pressure) and lots of other things made Homer something, something, something. When I had the heart attack my main artery supplying blood to my heart was completely blocked and I had to have a stent put in. I'm 54 now, and in general, I'm much better. The heart is fine and I had my colon put back together about a year ago and I am completely mobile again.

The hardest part is getting back into a physical routine again, and I try to walk every day. I live a block from the ocean so I have no excuse. I need to do more though, since I really don't need to weigh 200 lbs. Ideally, I'd like to find a pool where I can do laps, since I can't run anymore. Running used to be my favorite thing. The food is actually the easy part of getting better, I find. I realized when I stopped looking for a salt substitute, and just ate the food without it, I enjoyed it more. I eat lots of chicken and fish, very little beef and try to drink a lot more water. I still have a bad caffeine habit, but I'm slowly trying to cut down there.

Living alone probably doesn't help here, either, since you tend not to make an effort when there's no one else around. I can't speak to 'low T' but if I was tested, I probably wouldn't have very many. My point is, though life isn't perfect, I still feel optimistic. I know 90% of the challenges are in my head and I am slowly making a difference. The future doesn't look that great, but I do feel as though I can rise above it and that's the point. I came from a real low point two years ago and through determination and hard work I was able to make myself a lot better. I can do better still physically. Someone once told me that even if she got nothing else accomplished during the day, having worked out that morning was still an accomplishment that made her feel better at the end of the day. So, even if all you do is get out in the fresh air and take a walk, that's something that will help, too. I'll check out those links that Lena posted and see what else I can pick up. Life's not great, but it's not horrible, either. We humans are a resilient lot.  :)
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Scott M2

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Re: Male menopause
« Reply #19 on: May 30, 2012, 08:32:10 AM »
I think that appropriate mid-life-crisis behaviour for Hypnos members is to blow a wad of cash on a sporty red synth.    8)