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Marla Ahlgrimm: Myths Surrounding Men and Menopause

January 16, 2017

Marla AhlgrimmMenopause is typically considered something of concern only for women 50 years and older, says Marla Ahlgrimm. However, there are a number of men who claim to suffer from male menopause.

“Male menopause” a misnomer

According to Marla Ahlgrimm, the term male menopause refers to a man’s natural decline in testosterone over the course of many years. Unlike menopause, which sees a woman’s hormone stores decline rapidly with dramatic health changes, most men don’t suffer any extreme or unexpected side effects related to androgen declination.

Testosterone’s downward slope

Testosterone levels among men vary greatly and can change throughout their life. Marla Ahlgrimm asserts, however, that older men typically have lower testosterone levels than their 20-something counterparts. It is estimated that a man loses approximately 1% of his testosterone levels every year past his 30th birthday.

Side effects of decreased testosterone

While many men do not experience troublesome side effects in the early stages of testosterone decline, a few may experience issues such as erectile dysfunction and insomnia. Marla Ahlgrimm explains that some men may experience decreased fertility and noticeable testicular shrinkage. Low testosterone levels can trigger a number of physical changes such as increased body fat and decreased bone density. Occasionally, men may experience gynecomastia (tender, swollen breast tissue).

Treatment and lifestyle changes

Most men will not need treatment to prevent this natural process, says Marla Ahlgrimm. However, those suffering with erectile dysfunction, infertility, or other significant concerns may consider lifestyle changes to help treat the symptoms. She suggests consulting with a healthcare provider who can help address specific side effects. Diet and exercise also play a part in physical and sexual health.

Low testosterone can only be determined through a blood test and is not a self-diagnosable condition. Testosterone therapy may be an option for some men, though it may increase the risk of prostate cancer or heart attack so the risks should be weighed against the rewards.

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