You may have heard of the term “male menopause”, but what exactly does it mean? For a woman, the average age of menopause is 51. This is the time when she stops having monthly menstrual periods and it occurs when her ovaries stop producing sufficient estrogen and progesterone for her cycles to take place. With men, the gradual fall in testosterone levels (from 30 to 40 percent) is common between the ages of 48 and 70. It is a less rapid hormonal decline than in women. Male menopause can also be called “andropause”.
As testosterone levels drop, men may experience a loss in muscle strength and function, an increase in body fat, and a decrease in sexual function. Men can experience symptoms similar to the female menopause such as hot flashes or excessive sweating, depression, mood swings, eye problems, joint stiffness, night sweats, osteoporosis, and sleep problems or insomnia.
In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, scientists isolated the key symptoms that identify male menopause. Researchers from Belgium, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the UK interviewed a total of 3,369 men aged between 40 and 79 years. They asked specific questions about their sexual, physical and psychological health and measured their testosterone levels. The scientists identified less sexual desire and less sexual functional ability as being the identifying symptoms.
The lead author of the study, Professor Fred Wu from the University of Manchester in the UK, summarized the results. He said that in order to increase the probability of correctly diagnosing male menopause, it is important to specify the presence of all symptoms together, along with low testosterone in the blood. These findings are expected to help physicians better assess the condition and the need for treatment, particularly testosterone therapy.
However, the side effects of testosterone medications can include agitation, rapid heart rate, nervousness, an excess of red blood cells, and prostate gland growth. Physicians recommend that a prostate exam and tests be done before and after testosterone therapy, to help rule out prostate cancer.
On the other hand, natural remedies can improve a man’s health. One study published in the journal “Biological Trace Element Research” measured the effects of four weeks of calcium supplementation on testosterone levels in adult males. The scientists concluded that calcium supplementation increased testosterone in both athletes and in non-training, sedentary men.
Insomnia can become a problem as hormones decline. Calcium is a natural sedative that releases the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan and it is directly related to our cycles of sleep. In one study, published in the European Neurology Journal, researchers found that calcium levels in the body are higher during some of the deepest levels of sleep, such as the rapid eye movement (REM) phase. The study concluded that disturbances in sleep, especially the absence of deep REM sleep, are related to a calcium deficiency. Restoration to the normal course of sleep followed the normalization of the blood calcium level.
Jobee Knight, a nutritional researcher and founder of http://www.NutritionBreakthroughs.com in Glendale, CA., is someone who fought her own battle against menopausal insomnia. After testing several insomnia remedies containing calcium, one stood out from the rest. The product, known as Sleep Minerals II, contains highly absorbable forms of calcium, magnesium and vitamin D – – mixed together with oils in a softgel.
Lyn K. of Los Angeles, CA. says, “I’ve had chronic insomnia for some years now and had been taking other calcium-related sleep remedies to help with my sleep. None have worked as effectively or consistently as Sleep Minerals II. I can count on it whenever I need help falling asleep at night or going back to sleep in the middle of the night. It also eases my menopause symptoms, evens out my hormonal changes, and seems to put my body into a healthy balance.”
Dr. Susan Jewell, a Physician-Scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine recommends the following for male menopause: Oily fish such as salmon, sardines, and herring, as well as fish oil supplements (for the heart and overall health). Eating lots of fruits and vegetables and staying hydrated by drinking lots of water, fruit juice, and rice milk or almond milk. Tomatoes and berries are particularly helpful.
Exercise daily. Taking a daily walk or jog can help greatly. A 2009 study by the New England Research Institute showed that an increase in weight leads to a decrease in testosterone. Saw Palmetto is an herb that in over twenty trials was shown to benefit prostate symptoms and male health. Dr Jewell also notes, drinking cranberry juice is a great way to clear out your urinary tract system.
Whether you’re male or female, menopause can mean the gateway into the best years of your life. Keep yourself as healthy as you can, do some exercise, sleep well, and enjoy them.
For more information on Sleep Minerals II, visit http://www.nutritionbreakthroughs.com/html/sleep_remedy_for_insomnia_help.html