By DR GREGGORY PINTO
Andropause, male menopause, is a real health condition that thousands of Bahamian men, like their counterparts worldwide, often suffer unknowingly. The symptoms such as low energy levels, fatigue, memory problems, cardiac and circulatory issues, lack of stamina, heat intolerance, loss of muscle mass, osteoporosis, depression, irritability, and most importantly for most Bahamian men, erectile dysfunction, are often dismissed as an inevitable part of aging.
Andropause affects an estimated 10 million American men and those numbers can be extrapolated to our Bahamian society.
There is usually a precipitous fall in testosterone in men from mid 40s and older. A sedentary lifestyle with decreased activity, weight gain, increased stress levels and certain medications as well as intake of alcohol and cigarettes can hasten the fall in testosterone levels.
Hormonal imbalances involving thyroid imbalance, high oestrogen levels, high or low cortisol, high dihydrotestosterone, low dehydroepiandrosterone, and the mentioned low testosterone levels, can also contribute to middle-aged men feeling like a shell of their former self.
Older men often experience an extreme heat intolerance and even hot flashes like middle-aged women, and they may sweat profusely in a cold, air-conditioned room.
Growing old is a blessing and inevitable, but men can age gracefully without all the ill health effects of hormone imbalances and gradual fall in testosterone.
Bahamian men require prostate specific antigen blood testing as part of their annual physicals starting at age 40, as men of African ancestry often develop a more aggressive form of prostate cancer and at an earlier age. Checking testosterone levels should also become the norm once a man is in his mid to late 40s.
Late onset hypogonadism, low testosterone.
Andropause management should include good nutrition, proper weight management, regular exercise, stopping smoking and reduces regular alcohol intake. Testosterone has an important role in protecting cardiac and circulatory function, brain cognition and bone density, as well as the all important erectile function.
Hormone testosterone replacement in multiple international long-term studies has been shown to be safe and with immense health benefits that will increase a man’s longevity and quality of life.
A 2016 well recognised medical study involving 755 middle-aged men with severe coronary artery disease found that those who received testosterone therapy had much better outcomes than those who did not receive testosterone therapy, who were almost 80 percent more likely to experience an adverse medical event.
Thousands of middle-aged Bahamian men often mask the erectile symptoms of low testosterone by self prescribing themselves often unregulated sexual stimulants.
Testosterone supplementation may take the form of a once monthly or twice a month injection, a transdermal patch or the application of a gel.
Bahamian men, you now know that male menopause is a real heath entity that could potentially have devastating health complications and may significantly reduce not only the quality of one’s life but the longevity. Live a healthier and longer life and regain your sexual libido and stamina and erections.
• Dr Greggory Pinto is a Bahamian urologist who has trained in South Africa, Germany and France. He is a member of the European Association of Urologists. Dr Pinto can be reached at Urology Care Bahamas at the Surgical Suite, Centreville Medical Centre, Collins Avenue and Sixth Terrace. Call (242)326-1929, e-mail email@example.com, or visit the website, www.urologycarebahamas.com.