Andropause or commonly known as male menopause refers to the symptoms that men experience due to low production of male sex hormone, testosterone gradually over years. The condition is more prevalent after the age of 50 years. 'Andras' means human male in Greek, whereas 'pause' is cessation, therefore, andropause may also lead to reduced sexual drive and can also cause depression in some cases. Clinically, this condition is known as testosterone deficiency syndrome or androgen deficiency or hypogonadism.
Signs and symptoms one may experience while undergoing andropause:
- Irritability and frequent mood swings
- Loss of muscle mass leading to difficulties in exercising
- Fat redistribution that can lead to belly fat or gynecomastia (male breasts)
- Lack of pleasure, enthusiasm and energy
- Increased chances of insomnia, fatigue
- Poor short-term memory and inability to focus
- Decreased bone density
- Hot flashes or sweat
- Baldness, loss of hair
- Decreased testicular size
Many people confuse this condition with lifestyle or psychological factors. But, that's not always the case. In fact, some of the unhealthy lifestyle choices can lead to andropause. These may include- smoking, obesity, alcohol use, sedentary lifestyle pattern, or some medications.
1. Optimum calcium intake
Optimising the intake of calcium can help you relieve out the symptoms of andropause. Foods like milk, sesame seeds, ragi, eggs, fish (sardines, salmon), broccoli, and different types of legumes are rich in calcium.
2. Healthy fats
Adequate intake of essential fatty acids can boost the production of testosterone hormone. Make sure to include healthy fats in the form of nuts, seeds, dairy, lean meat, eggs, grass-fed ghee, or butter in your diet. Moderation is the key.
3. Get the right dose of zinc
Zinc is an essential mineral that serves the function of maintaining reproductive health and creating a balance of hormones including testosterone. The deficiency of zinc can also lead to an altered mood state. Zinc is readily found in seafood, legumes, nuts, seeds, and dark chocolate.
4. Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight is a root cause of major health problems. So, make sure to maintain your weight to its normal in order to reduce the symptoms of andropause. Try to control your portion size and reduce the consumption of processed junkies, foods rich in artificial sweeteners, and bad fats from your diet.
Testosterone supplements or hormone replacement therapy may be advised for some males but it may come with its own set of side effects and should not be done without doctor's consultation. Your doctor is the best one to decide on the right course of treatment. Some therapies like CBT can be referred to such patients, it is a form of talk therapy that helps patients in dealing with signs of stress or anxiety.
A balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle cannot be stressed enough for their importance. Small yet affirmative lifestyle changes can help regulate testosterone function, and may also improve sperm quality and fertility.
(Nmami Agarwal is a nutritionist at Nmamilife)
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