Sometime between the ages of 35 and 55 men go through male menopause, sometimes called andropause, or the male climacteric. Men, like women, also deal with complex hormonal rhythms and fluctuations that affect their outlook, mood, and sexuality, as well as touch all other aspects of their lives.
Although they have no outward expression, such as the cessation of menses, to mark this transitional phase of their lives, most men find that their changing hormones evoke deep, life-altering revisions within them.
Every man encounters a decline of testosterone starting at about age 30. From then on, testosterone levels drop at a slow and steady rate, about 10 percent every ten years. Some menís levels drop lower than others, and when testosterone levels drop severely, a man will experience intense physical, mental, emotional, and sexual symptoms. The decline in testosterone affects many metabolic processes in the body, such as blood cell production in the bone marrow, bone formation, liver function, fat and carbohydrate metabolism, blood sugar levels, and prostate gland growth.
The declining testosterone levels may put some men at risk for such health problems as heart disease and weak bones. Some of the symptoms of low testosterone include thinning hair, weight gain, insomnia, and changes in sleeping patterns, less endurance for physical activity, bone loss, irritability, indecisiveness, anxiety, fear, and depression.
Many studies have proven that maintaining adequate levels of testosterone is critical to a manís muscle and bone health cardiovascular health, strength, stamina, sense of well being, sexual health, and mental function. Adequate levels of testosterone ensure a strong, well functioning libido, good muscle tone, strong bones, and a positive outlook.
Testosterone is the hormone responsible for the sexual response in both males and females. Testosterone, and other androgens, increase sexual interest, sensitivity of the erogenous zones, the ability to become aroused, and frequency of orgasm. Testosterone is produced in quantity by the male testes at the onset of puberty, and is also produced by the adrenal glands of both sexes, and in the femaleís ovaries. Elevated levels of testosterone production cause the male sexual organs to develop to their adult size. Testosterone also causes the heavier muscles and bones of the male, enlarges the vocal cords in the larynx resulting in the low pitch of a male voice, and prompts the growth of body hair. The production of testosterone also influences male emotional and mental development, and promotes ideas and attitudes that are generally considered masculine, such as taking command, enjoying cars and motor noises, not being especially expressive, and so on.
During a manís midlife transition, when testosterone levels decrease, he may begin to feel a decrease in overall health, vitality and well being, and have low libido, or sexual dysfunction, for awhile. He may feel lonely, unloved, and unattractive, even if heís surrounded by those who love him. He may yearn for intimacy and understanding, but, because of the cultural training all boys and men receive, may not know how to reach out for what he needs. He may experience a profound sense of longing for something, he knows not what. He may be forgetful and find it hard to focus and concentrate. For a while, a manís interest in sex may disappear. He may experience anxiety and fear about losing his sexual potency, and consider having sex with a new, younger partner.
If you are married, or in a long term relationship, with a man going through all this, hold on and breathe deep, it will get better. Just keep loving him, if heís worth it, and be patient.
The years of declining testosterone move a man to question how he has been living his life. In the same way that a woman is chemically pushed toward examining her life and changing her priorities, a man is engaged in the same way by his hormonal changes to reconsider his values, direction, lifeís purpose, and accomplishments. He may make major changes in his life now that reflect his new perspective. Many of his attitudes will soften and ripen with age.
During this time a man is in the process of becoming the benevolent ruler, the Emperor, the wise sage and mentor, the compassionate one who watches over and protects those in his care. In indigenous cultures, universally, elder men take on three distinct roles. First of all is Peacemaker. Elder men control and channel the aggression of the younger men, recognizing their youthful aggression as important, while removing it from the vulnerable areas of their communities. Traditionally, elder males also take on the role of Spirit Guide by attending to the spiritual needs of the community, and Mentor by providing much needed mentoring to young males.
As long as he offers himself a nourishing array of quality foods and herbs, especially those that promote testosterone production, his hormonal changes, just like a womanís, will settle down after a while, and heíll be functioning better than ever before in many areas Ė and with a completely new, more refined perspective. During male menopause, estrogen becomes a bit more pronounced, so men often move into a renewed interest in the home and family at this time of their lives, and become more compassionate and expressive.
Raising Testosterone Levels Naturally
Evidence suggests that testosterone levels in the male increase as a result of regular intercourse. Maintaining an active love life with your mate not only enhances sexual capacity but also increases overall health and vitality.
Herbs to Promote Testosterone Production
Testosterone production is strongly promoted by regular use of any of the following herbs: oatstraw, nettles, wild yam, yarrow, sage, oregano, angelica, saw palmetto, turmeric, chickweed, ginseng and echinacea.