The decline in testosterone as men age can lead to sexual dysfunction, loss of libido, fatigue, loss of strength, and depression. These symptoms are known as andropause or “male menopause”. Unlike the volatile symptoms in women, male symptoms are less obvious and appear gradually (7-10 years).
The conditions are often triggered by decreased production of androgens, such as DHEA and testosterone. Lower levels of androgens can also be linked to weight gain, stress, and a lack of exercise. As a result, drive, stamina and virility can be affected.
In a man’s brain there exist testosterone stimulating nerves. Sex drive in men starts with the release of testosterone which stimulates the receptors in the brain to release nitric oxide.
Nitric oxide in turn relaxes the muscles of the penis to allow blood flow for an erection.
Low testosterone levels common in andropause result in reduced levels of the hormone available to stimulate the nerves in the brain and induce sexual desire and in turn erectile function.
High levels of estrogen in men can also negatively impact male sexual desire. Other causes of low libido include a man’s lifestyle, particularly nutrition and fitness. Smoking and drinking are infamous for their negative impact on libido in men. Diet and exercise also supply energy and provide an overall feeling of wellness which can increase sexual desire.
Through saliva testing, symptom assessment, and natural bioidentical testosterone replacement therapy, many of the effects of andropause can be successfully addressed.