‘Men-opause’: Navigating a holistic approach to lowered testosterone levels

Do males go through menopause? Does the term grumpy old man originate from a reduced testosterone level? And how would you know or even think to look?

Typically women are more willing to discuss issues with their doctors openly. Stereotypically, men do not like to discuss erectile disfunction and other male issues with their doctors.

The challenge with decreased testosterone is that it does not always show the typical sexual symptoms, it is often asymptomatic or shows itself as decreased energy, depression and sadness, decreased motivation, difficulty in concentrating, feelings of weakness, decreased muscle mass and insomnia.

It can even show itself in breast development, reduction in the size of the testicles and hot flashes.

Testosterone levels in men

In the ageing testes, less testosterone is produced and a decrease of these levels by 1-2% per year is seen from the age of 30. According to Harvard Medical School, more than a third of men over the age of 45 may have reduced testosterone levels. So beside natural ageing, what else can affect testosterone levels?

An injury to the testes, pituitary and hypothalamic tumours and medications like steroids, morphine tranquilizers and statins can impact negatively on testosterone levels. Being overweight and unfit, suffering from chronic insomnia, or chronic stress, and ingesting lots of alcohol may also impact negatively on testosterone levels.

Dealing with reduced testosterone

Do you need to do anything about this if you are asymptomatic?

When looking at the more unfamiliar symptoms associated with lowered levels, it might not be a bad idea. The challenge with finding a stable level and thus something to base future treatment on, is that testosterone levels fluctuate constantly during the day.

Therefore more than one test is advisable before using synthetic testosterone as the side effects (sleep apnoea, acne and breast development) can outweigh the benefits.

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Image via Adobe Stock

Yet, a 2003 study done by Harvard Medical School, found that in men with normal testosterone levels, a loss of fat, an increase in muscle mass, better moods and decreased anxiety levels were observed after testosterone therapy.

Being brave and discussing issues not just around libido and sexual performance, but also when feeling anxious, sad and weak with your doctor is so worth it.

Advances in treatments are constantly being made and with the right treatment regime you may just feel like your old (younger?) self.

Holistic treatments

Holistically, using plant-based medicine might be sufficient for your symptoms.

Consider Korean ginseng, horny goat weed, oats, sarsaparilla, saw palmetto and puncture vine.

Homeopathically, look at Landi M and Nervorta by Natura.

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Colour therapy can help. Image via Adobe Stock

The colours orange and red could be used in colour therapy and for improved circulation. For stress management, the colour green. Essential oils associated with support in the genito-urinary system are blue spruce, sandalwood, cinnamon, ylang ylang and clary sage.

Supplementally, vitamin D, salmon oil, magnesium, zinc and creatinine are worth considering to support testosterone levels.

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