Before we talk about andropause symptoms, I want to address a deeper issue. Andropause is a very popular, and misunderstood, term being used these days. Andropause symptoms are supposedly very similar to (if not identical to) low testosterone.
I just want to say right here that andropause (also known as “manopause”) and low testosterone are not synonymous — these are two very different terms, they mean two very different things, and while it is possible for them to overlap, this is not often the case.
Andropause is the gradual decline of natural testosterone production and levels over time, something that does not occur in all men, something that is (generally) independent of your starting testosterone level.
Low testosterone is a condition that must be clinically diagnosed, and it generally means a total testosterone level below (about) 300 ng/dL or a free testosterone level below 9 ng/dL, or both — and this can happen at any age and be caused by a variety of different diseases or disorders.
It’s hard to even say that andropause symptoms are something that exist — low testosterone symptoms are certainly real, but andropause symptoms not so much, mostly because the only time andropause might result in symptoms would be if andropause caused low testosterone.
Another problem I often see is when people make a false equivalence between andropause and menopause.
Andropause Is not Like Menopause
So some have argued that andropause will necessarily result in low testosterone, likening andropause to menopause, but andropause is not like menopause, which happens to all women and has a clear mechanism of action.
All women will eventually stop menstruating and begin menopause, which often results in a rapid, profound change in hormone levels.
But andropause is not being “set off” by a change in a man’s body — rather, it is a long, gradual decline (about 1% per year after age 30) of testosterone levels, something not linked to sperm levels or production.
It’s likely that andropause is just a result of the natural aging process and that a similar process is going on in women’s bodies independent of egg production or menstruation.
Andropause Will not Always Result in Low Testosterone
Let’s say, at age 30, that a man has a total testosterone level of 750 ng/dL. If your testosterone is reducing by 1% a year, your total testosterone is not going to sink below normal levels (300 ng/dL) until you’re about 122 years old.
Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t have very high hopes of living to be 122.
I chose that number of 750 ng/dL for a reason — this is a fairly normal level for a man in his 30s.
And here is why that matters — if you have normal testosterone levels, andropause is highly unlikely to cause you to have clinically diagnosable low testosterone.
However, if your testosterone levels were already in the low range of normal, it is possible that you’ll eventually fall into low testosterone territory.
Andropause Symptoms — What to Look for if You Suspect Low Testosterone
What we’re really talking about here are the symptoms of low testosterone, so here are a few possible symptoms:
- Sexual dysfunction
- Weight problems
- Trouble concentrating
- Loss of bone mass
- Loss of endurance
- Depressed mood
- Muscle weakness or loss
- Loss of height
- Change in ratio of fat to muscle
If you’re experiencing andropause, and your andropause has led your already-low testosterone levels to dip into clinically low testosterone territory, one might be able to say that you’re experiencing “andropause symptoms,” but that’s as close as you’re going to get.
If you’re experiencing the symptoms above, set up a free consultation. We’ll discuss what you’re feeling and see if we can provide a solution.