Women have long known about menopause, but it’s only recently been discussed that men go through mid-life changes as well. In men, it’s called andropause, and it is usually precipitated by a drop in the vital hormone, testosterone.
Menopause and andropause are not the same. In women, ovulation ends and hormone production drops drastically during a fairly short period of time. In men, hormone production declines over a period of many years, beginning around age 30.
Two recent studies published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found a connection between hormone imbalance and depression in middle aged men. One study included 700 men, aged 50+. They found men with lower levels of testosterone develop depression at an earlier age, and more frequently, than men the same age with normal levels. In another study, researchers at Harvard found that men with low testosterone levels and major depression did not respond to standard antidepressants.
Many symptoms of low testosterone can be confused with other illnesses such as hypertension, thyroid disease and diabetes, so testing is the only way to know for sure if you have low levels or a reduction in the bioavailability of testosterone. Low levels of testosterone can cause some scary symptoms, such as insomnia, low libido, erectile dysfunction, bone and muscle loss, weight gain, memory loss, irritability, and depression. Generally, men with low levels of testosterone feel lousy overall.
Further, when you do have insomnia, weight gain, and lose muscle and bone mass, you are at a greater risk for life-threatening and debilitating diseases such as diabetes, osteoporosis, and heart disease.
Once your testosterone is gone, it is gone. You can’t boost it on your own. But you’re in luck! The newest member of our Radiance wellness team, Dr. Tamyra Comeaux can order the tests to determine your levels and then formulate a plan for bio-identical hormone pellets designed just for your particular needs. Nutritional deficiencies have been linked to depression, particularly B 12 and folic acid. Our philosophy is “test, don’t guess”. Our nutritionist and functional medicine provider, Gail Clayton, can order tests to see if you are lacking important vitamins and minerals to keep your motor running smoothly.
Meanwhile, do some things that will make you feel better while we are bringing your levels back where they belong. Be sure to eat well, get plenty of fresh air and exercise, and try to sleep. Avoid excessive alcohol. Find a calming routine such as walking in nature, meditating or prayer. Be aware than men with depression often don’t get blue; they get angry. Look for reasons to be grateful. And call us to schedule consultations with our wellness team.
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