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Menopause Not Just A Condition For Women

As women age their hormones change and begin to deplete, which can alter moods, body functions, and cause other changes to occur that can create discomfort, changes in sexual libido, and even make it difficult to keep short term memory fully functional. For a long time this was thought to be a condition that only affected women, but recently it has been brought to light that men may suffer from the same kind of hormonal increases and decreases during the later years of life. Although the symptoms differ in some ways, the ailment has become known as male menopause and many men find it difficult to open up about it and how it affects their body due to the fear of scrutiny of other men and their partners.

New Research

Lately, top researches conducting studies out of Massachusetts General Hospital discovered that similar to the way that women begin their journey through menopause as estrogen drops, men also have estrogen related turmoil to advance through as their age increases. Also known as male hypogonadism, this hormonal change usually entails reproductive hormones to range high or low enough to cause symptoms that appear physically for a patient, but in the past these hormones have offered little insight into how high or low they need to be in order to cause a reaction. Honor Whiteman of Medical News Today writes: “According to the study authors, a small proportion of the testosterone made by men is usually converted into estrogen by aromatase - a type of enzyme. The higher the testosterone level in a man, the more testosterone is converted into estrogen.”

The above mentioned study found that through the enzyme, aromatase, small amounts of testosterone created by men is actually turned into estrogen, and the more testosterone a man is producing, the higher the level of estrogen will be found as well. These alterations in estrogen can cause men to gain weight, and lose their libido, causing erectile dysfunction and in some cases depression.

Following The Research

The team created a study containing two groups of one hundred and fifty men between the ages of 20 and 50 who were functioning normally in the area of reproduction and sexuality. The Mayo Clinic says: “Aging-related hormone changes in men — sometimes called male menopause — are different from those in women.”

During the experiment one team of men were provided with testosterone gel over a period of sixteen weeks on a daily basis. The gel was offered in four different dosage levels, including a placebo gel that offered no testosterone at all to the user. In the second test group an aromatase inhibitor was given to the men alongside the same kinds of testosterone gel dosages in order to halt the alteration of testosterone into estrogen. Strength and blood tests were administered before the research study took place and throughout the test to monitor changes.

The Test Results

Men who suffered depleted levels of testosterone due to the generation of estrogen gained weight, and lost strength in thighs and lower legs. As testosterone dropped, erectile dysfunction and a drop in libido became more apparent. You would think that this means the results of the second test were opposite, but in fact, the restrictions on production of estrogen still caused weight gain and altered the sexual desire of the men being tested. Scientists have labeled this change as being due to the decrease in estrogen rather than the decrease in testosterone, but the lowered testosterone rate caused a lowering turnover for estrogen, which seems to be the main issue.

Treatment Methods

Of course, the number one way to treat menopause seems to stem from a replacing of missing hormones, or hormone replacement therapy, which causes an artificial introduction of hormones into the human body in order to provide better control over the decrease in certain hormones. Medicinenet.com explains: “If testosterone levels are low, testosterone replacement therapy may help relieve such symptoms as loss of interest in sex (decreased libido), depression, and fatigue.”

The findings of the above study may not have proven exactly what it set out to find but it has taught the world that the one thing the hormones in hormone replacement therapy for men need to be able to do is aromatize into estrogen the way that it would naturally. Unfortunately, there are a few side effects to these procedures including prostate enlargements, prostate cancer, and sometimes heart disease. It’s something that needs to be discussed seriously with a physician, before taking action, so that your medical history and current prostate condition is accounted for.

It’s easy to lose sight of what’s important and how critical it is to stay focused during this time because of all the changes going on in your life, but whether you’re a man or a woman, it’s important to remember that there are options out there for you, and it’s completely possible to lead a normal happy life with or without hormone replacement therapy. Some people choose to utilize natural methods, while others seek comfort, rather than alterations of hormones. Whatever you choose your doctor should have a say in what’s going on and be able to explain to you the pros and cons of each treatment you consider. If you do choose to try natural methods of treatment, it’s best to take things slowly at first, even with milder remedies, as your body may not be prepared to change as quickly as your mind is.

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