Often portrayed in only humorous terms in popular culture, male midlife crisis has very real physical causes. Beginning around age 30, testosterone gradually decreases, and can lead to depression, decreased sex drive or erectile dysfunction. In addition, a corresponding increase in SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) impairs the body's ability to use testosterone.
As well, as men enter midlife, they sleep more lightly, spending less time in a state of deep sleep. This can lead to weight gain, fatigue and irritability because the body is unable to make enough of the hormones required for energy and optimal functioning.
Doing Something About Male Midlife Crisis
There are several steps you can take to improve your overall feeling of well-being and reduce the likelihood of related worries such as sexual dysfunction.
Managing stress will help you sleep easier, as well as reduce symptoms like irritability and fatigue. A daily B-complex vitamin can reduce stress, and minerals like selenium and chromium can boost energy.
Getting plenty of exercise not only has the obvious physical benefits, but it also encourages the quality deep sleep that is important for men undergoing the physical changes of midlife. You should also avoid stimulants like coffee several hours before bed.
Testosterone replacement therapy may also be an appropriate solution that helps mitigate the effects of male midlife.
How Is Testosterone Involved with Male Midlife Crisis?
A consistent finding in the scientific literature is that testosterone increase even by replacement therapy produces an increased feeling of well-being. Published studies show that low levels of free testosterone correlates with symptoms of depression and other psychological disorders.
According to Jonathan Wright, M.D., co-author of Maximize Your Vitality & Potency, the following effects have been reported in response to low free testosterone levels:
• Loss of ability to concentrate
• Moodiness and emotionality
• Touchiness and irritability
• Great timidity
• Feeling weak
• Inner unrest
• Memory failure
• Reduced intellectual agility
• Passive attitudes
• General tiredness
• Reduced interest in surroundings
Two major issues of a man in midlife crisis - depression and anxiety - are directly related to his current levels of bio-available free testosterone. Proper testosterone replacement therapy can deal effectively with much at the heart of midlife male depression by boosting the levels of bio-available testosterone in the body.
Is Testosterone Replacement Therapy Right for Me?
The first step toward testosterone replacement therapy is a physical exam and a series of blood tests, including a PSA (protein-specific antigen) test, are ordered to measure testosterone levels. If testosterone levels are low, your physician can discuss the various treatment options. Many insurance companies cover the costs of andropause treatment, and male menopause treatment can often be purchased with a tax advantaged, flexible savings account.
Male hormone replacement therapy and testosterone replacement are effective, low testosterone treatment options for men with andropause. If you have any symptoms associated with andropause, such as low energy, irritability, hot flashes, abdominal weight gain, loss of muscle strength, loss of sex drive and the inability to maintain an erection, talk to your doctor. The sooner you speak with a physician and get checked for low testosterone levels, the sooner you can begin feeling like yourself again.
What to look for in a Male Hormone Replacement Therapy Provider:
1. Look for a male hormone replacement therapy program that is tailored to your specific and individualized needs.
2. Ensure your hormone program is under the supervision of a physician that is trained in hormone deficiencies in men.
3. Monitoring of your hormone levels. The original test for andropause should only be the first in a series of tests. You will want to have your blood tested periodically to ensure the current program is optimized for your individual needs.
4. Experience. Be sure the entity with whom you work has a solid track record. If they are trying to sell you hormones -- be careful. If they are telling you what they do and how it relates to you needs in an informational frame work -- be hopeful and encouraged.