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Health & Fitness During Andropause

As men reach their late 40’s and early 50’s, it can feel like their body is playing tricks on them. Fortunately, there’s an explanation for any changes you or a loved one may experience and a host of ways to battle symptoms head-on. 

The change is called ‘Andropause’, and today, we’ll dive into the science behind this condition and how to manage it through lifestyle and exercise.

Please consult your GP before you make any significant lifestyle changes if you think you may be experiencing andropause.

Understanding Andropause

Andropause is a set of symptoms men experience in their late 40s and early 50s that can be caused by gradually reducing testosterone levels and other bodily changes caused as we age.

Andropause is sometimes known as ‘male menopause’. However, we don’t like this term because while andropause and menopause share some symptoms and an on-set age range, that’s where the similarities end.

man wearing hooded jacket by lake in forest

What are the symptoms of Andropause?

You may be experiencing andropause or male menopause if you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms:

Common physical symptoms:

  • Reduced or entire loss of sex drive
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Loss of muscle mass and reduced ability to exercise
  • Fat redistribution to belly areas 
  • Fat redistribution to chest area causing gynaecomastia

Common mood-based symptoms

  • Depression
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Low energy
  • Difficulty sleeping or insomnia
  • Poor concentration
  • Reduced short-term memory

These symptoms can come on gradually or suddenly, everyone is different.

upset bearded black man holding head sitting at table

The Science Behind Andropause

Andropause has no single cause. From their 30s, men’s testosterone drops by 1% a year and eventually can cause late-onset hypogonadism later in life which is different to andropause. 

Andropause is caused by a perfect storm of challenges men face later in life. In addition to the gradually reducing testosterone, men may find life-long lifestyle changes compound and create the symptoms seen in andropause. Essentially, life-long or intense periods of stress and/or lack of exercise, combined with lowering testosterone can lead to andropause. But andropause doesn’t have to last forever and you can reduce or even eliminate your symptoms.

How is Andropause Diagnosed?

Andropause is diagnosed via a consultation with your GP. Your doctor will review your lifestyle choices, medical history, and test key vital signs and hormone levels to determine the cause of andropause-like symptoms and rule out any alternative conditions. 

What Are The Health Implications of Andropause

According to the NHS, andropause is associated with a decrease in bone density, cardiovascular disease, and mental health issues. You should speak to your doctor about receiving a regular health check-up to monitor these potential health risks. 

By staying proactive and seeking regular medical care, you can take charge of potential health risks and improve your overall health and fitness during andropause.

man sitting near lake during sunset

The Role of Fitness During Andropause

Regular exercise during andropause is essential for maintaining muscle mass, bone density, and overall health. According to a 2011 study on andropause, physical activity can help mitigate the effects of andropause, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. 

Exercise also plays a crucial role in managing weight, improving mood, and promoting better sleep. Incorporating strength training, cardiovascular exercise, and flexibility routines can help men navigate the physical and mental challenges of andropause, enhancing their overall well-being and quality of life.

Dietary Considerations for Men Undergoing Andropause

During andropause, you need a balanced and nutritious diet to support your overall health and manage the symptoms associated with hormonal changes. Adequate protein intake is crucial for maintaining muscle mass, while calcium and vitamin D are important for bone health. Including a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats can provide essential nutrients and support cardiovascular health. 

Foods to include: lean proteins (chicken, fish), leafy greens, dairy or fortified plant-based milk, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. 

Foods to avoid: excessive processed foods, sugary snacks, and high-fat, high-sodium foods, which can contribute to weight gain and negatively impact heart health.

Read more advice on which foods to eat and avoid on this NHS fact sheet.

Treatment Options and Support for Andropause

Treatment for andropause includes hormone replacement therapy, lifestyle adjustments, and alternative treatments like acupuncture and herbal supplements. You can read more about treatments on the NHS website.

Mental health support is also crucial due to hormonal impacts on mood. You can look into an option that suits your budget from counselling, to support groups, and even stress-reducing activities such as group fitness classes.

man sitting on bench with head in hands

Common Myths and Misconceptions About Andropause

When we don’t talk openly about Andropause, untrue myths and rumours can spring up. Here we’ve myth-busted some of the most common lies we’ve heard about andropause: 

Myth: Andropause only affects old and retired men. 

Debunked: Andropause can affect men in their early 40s.

Myth: Andropause is the male equivalent of menopause. 

Debunked: Andropause is a gradual decline in testosterone levels, while menopause is a sudden cessation of estrogen production.

Myth: Andropause only affects sexual function. 

Debunked: Andropause can cause a range of symptoms, including fatigue, mood changes, and cognitive decline.

Myth: Testosterone therapy is the only treatment for andropause. 

Debunked: Lifestyle changes such as exercise, diet, and stress management can help manage and even eliminate symptoms.

black man running on embankment

Your andropause symptoms are in your control. Our qualified trainers are familiar with andropause and the challenges it poses both physically and mentally. 

Contact the Coached team to begin a coaching regime that will improve your symptoms, put you in control of your health, and possibly even get you in the best shape of your life.

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