The terms manopause and andropause get thrown around quite a bit these days, and the same can be said for low testosterone and hypogonadism. Let’s talk about what they mean.
No one will dispute the validity of manopause. It certainly exists, and it can certainly be problematic for many men.
Here’s the problem:
Many people view this “progressive reduction” in absolute terms.
They think a progressive reduction must necessarily result in “low testosterone.”
When, in fact, that is not always the case.
Which leads us to our next term.
What does “low testosterone” mean?
Based on guidelines from The Endocrine Society, low testosterone is total testosterone below 300 ng/dL and free testosterone below 9 ng/dL.
Of course, these are just general guidelines, and everyone’s body is different. What’s low for you may not be low for your neighbor. You may exhibit symptoms — he may not.
Here’s where the confusion starts.
A Progressive Reduction in Testosterone (Manopause) Is Unlikely to Push You Into Low Testosterone Territory
While manopause is certainly a recognized issue, the actual effects of manopause have yet to be definitively determined.
One thing, however, is clear — if you didn’t have low testosterone before, it’s unlikely that this progressive reduction is going to push you into low testosterone territory.
It’s certainly possible, but that usually means your testosterone levels were low in the first place.
For most people, the natural reduction of testosterone over time, known as manopause, is so minor as to be almost unnoticeable.
It’s easy for someone to learn a little bit about manopause, align it with their symptoms, and say, “Hey, I must be suffering from low testosterone!” When, in fact, lifestyle is more to blame.
Many of the symptoms of low testosterone are also symptoms of poor eating habits, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, or too much stress.
Even dehydration can cause some of the same symptoms as low testosterone.
True hypogonadism is often caused by disease or physical injury. It’s not common for a person to develop low testosterone over time.
You May Simply Be Feeling the Normal Effects of Aging
Many clinics these days tout the restorative powers of hormones.
They talk about how testosterone replacement therapy (or hormone replacement therapy generally) can help you feel like you’re 20 again.
Not only is this unreasonable, but it’s also misleading.
Manopause is a legitimate concern, and if it has driven you into low testosterone territory, it should be addressed.
But therapy isn’t about restoring your lost youth.
It’s about getting you back to normal.
It’s about helping you feel like yourself again.
It’s not magic.
It won’t transport you back to your high school or college years.
But it can help alleviate debilitating symptoms, as long as you truly suffer from low testosterone or other hormone imbalances, and not lifestyle issues.
Consider this: Normal serum total testosterone levels are between 300-1000 ng/dl.
Most studies say that you should lose about 1%-2% of testosterone production annually after age 30. Let’s say you peak at 750 ng/dL.
Then let’s assume a 1% annual reduction. Mathematically speaking, in this scenario, your levels should not sink below 300 ng/dL until you reach age 122.
Even at a 2% decline, you would have to be 76 years of age.
Being low at ages younger than this is NOT normal!
Get Your Testosterone Levels Checked, and Look Beyond Hormone Issues
It’s very possible you suffer from severe, legitimate low testosterone, and that manopause has made things worse over time.
It’s equally possible you’ve had a low baseline your whole life, and that, as you age, that baseline has dropped below the low testosterone threshold.
These are all issues that can be addressed. Testosterone replacement therapy can help bring your hormone levels back up, which may in turn reduce your symptoms.
It’s not about making you feel like you’re 20 again — it’s about helping you feel like you should.
Get your levels tested today for $25, and find out where you stand.