New cars, new clothes, new wives.
Some men hit 40 and dive into a wild midlife crisis. Others simply do not have the energy to move off the couch.
That is the first sign of andropause or "male menopause", which is diagnosed in more than 20 million men.
Alarm clock, fridge, coffee maker, breakfast table. Joel Phillips had the same routine for so long he barely noticed he was losing his edge.
Joel Phillips suffered from andropause. He said, "Well, you know there's always denial, we don't want to get old."
But his total lack of energy told him it was not just age.
"When you have a good quality of life, you want to preserve it."
A talk with his doctor revealed the real problem, andropause. It is more commonly called male menopause. The Penn State University College of Medicine says it affects half of all men over 50, or about 25 million Men.
Dr. Benita Swartout of BodyLogicMD said, "The men's symptoms, a lot of the times with andropause, it's more of an insidious onset. It's a slower onset."
According to the Discovery Health Channel, male testosterone levels fade slowly, one percent per year after age 40. The sudden drop in estrogen highlights menopause in women. For men, this means a maddening lack of sleep, energy, libido and more.
Dr. Swartout said, "There is a little bit of a reluctance if, for no other reason than just embarrassment or shyness, to speak of it."
Dr. Swartout says hormone replacement is one solution, boosting testosterone, but doctors at Johns Hopkins University say that can also boost red blood cell production in some men.
Joel said, "There's a total difference. I feel more like the man I used to be, was I 25 to 40."
Joel says hormone replacement worked for him. Now, the only grind in his morning is that cup of coffee, just the way he likes it.
Despite high numbers of affected males in their 40's and 50's, andropause can hit as early as age 35.
ANDROPAUSE: THE MALE MIDLIFE CRISIS EXPLAINED
BACKGROUND: Also known as "male menopause," andropause occurs as the result of lowered testosterone levels in men typically over the age of 50. After hitting 30, two naturally occurring factors start to set the stage for the condition. First, most men commonly lose more than 1% of their testosterone per year. Second, levels of testosterone-trapping binding protein called Sex Binding Hormone Globulin (SHBG) start to significantly increase, and contribute to a continued decline of bioavailable testosterone. If these levels get particularly low, men may experience symptoms such as weakness, lethargy, decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction, depression, sleeplessness, hot flashes, muscle aches and weakness, and a loss of bone mass. (SOURCES: andropause.com, hmc.psu.edu)
DIAGNOSIS: Andropause is often discovered after a patient's blood test yields low testosterone levels. If no other causes of this low level can be determined, the patient is recommended to see an andropause specialist. With the help of a specialty lab, this next doctor must determine whether the person's testosterone is bioavailable, or bound by SHBG. Finding low levels of bioavailable testosterone will help the doctor to make the final diagnosis. (SOURCE: andropausespecialist.com)
TREATMENT: The experts at BodyLogicMD say the most effective treatment of andropause is testosterone replacement therapy. The treatment can be administered through oral tablets and capsules, injections, "plantable" slow release pellets, transdermal skin patches and gels. The transdermal options are the most widely used because they can be applied easily, and they accurately simulate the body's natural testosterone rhythm. Successful treatment can allow for heightened libido, erectile functionality and mood. Body composition is also improved, with reports of diminished body fat, greater lean body mass and better muscle strength in the hands, arms and legs. However, the treatment has also been known to contribute to bone density.
SIDE EFFECTS: Any man with a history of prostate or breast cancer is prohibited from undergoing treatment, as the added testosterone can exacerbate the growth of those hormonally sensitive cancers. In some cases, post-treatment fluid retention has occurred, leading to swelling, high blood pressure and even congestive heart failure. Liver toxicity has been reported after oral testosterone replacement, but never in transdermal cases. Fertility can also be a problem, because the testes stop producing testosterone when outside sources are providing it - sometimes permanently.
* For More Information, Contact:
Vice President, Marketing