If you’ve ever spent time activities room of an assisted living facility or senior center you may have noticed that the poise most senior gentleman exhibit goes out the window during a heated game of chess, checkers or bingo. Have you ever seen a sore loser (men in particular) have a hard time accepting the fact that they were defeated by their less than equal challenger? This irrational upset may not be all their fault.
We’ve all heard the horror stories of hot flashes, mood swings and physical changes that accompany menopause in women. But, perhaps women are not alone in this “change of life.” According to Ian Kerner, contributor for CNN.com, it is very possible that men may be suffering from similar side effects of decreasing testosterone a condition also known as andropause.
Not everything can be blamed on “manopause” however, as male testoterone levels fluctuate throughout the day, let alone throughout the aging process. However, it is estimated that nearly 95% of all men over the age of 50 have had some issues related to low testosterone. By the time a man is in his 80s, he’s experienced a 50% decrease in testosterone levels from their height in his 20s.
So why is there a tendency to be such a sore loser? According to psychiatrist Madeleine Castellanos, competition and its outcomes can significantly affect the male hormone. “What is most fascinating is that if a man is victorious, his testosterone level gets a 20% boost,” says Castellanos in her guide to male sexual issues. “If he is not, he may experience up to a 90% dip in testosterone.” (And to think ladies, we thought we had it bad!)
Symptoms of Manopause
The problem with andropause is that there is no uniformity in its symptoms which makes the condition hard to diagnosis. In fact, Castellanos explains that two men with the exact same t-levels (testosterone levels) can have completely different symptoms, or none at all. The following symptoms are common for men suffering from low levels of testosterone:
- Depression: Often men never suspect that there may be a medical root to the depression they feel.
- Mood Issues: Commonly, men suffering from andropause will have mood issues such as irritability and anger related issues.
- Hot Flashes: Yes, men will get hot flashes just like women who suffer from menopause.
- Fatigue: Fatigue can often feel like a part of life, so this is one of the andropause symptoms, which often goes unnoticed and unreported.
- Concentration Issues: Much like fatigue, problems with concentration can seem like a byproduct of day-to-day life and stress.
- General Body Aches and Pains: Those experiencing andropause will likely never suspect that their aches and pains could be associated with low testosterone.
- Sleep Problems
- Erectile Dysfunction
- An Increase in Body Fat
- A Loss of Height and Osteoporosis
There is relief for men suffering from andropause. Testosterone replacement is available, although Castallenos cautions that there are some risks associated with using replacement therapy. Castellanos says, “Testosterone replacement is not without its side effects, such as decreased sperm production and shrinkage of the testicles. Also, it is contraindicated for men with prostate disease.” Men can also boost testosterone naturally by exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and managing stress.
So the next time that dignified and classy gentleman turns into a sniveling two-year-old after a mismatched game of bacci ball, remember, it may just be the hormones!
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