What is Andropause?

Women have to worry about menopause—does that mean that men are off the hook? Men actually go through something similar called andropause, which is sometimes referred to as male menopause. Men experience metabolism changes, hormone production drops, and other symptoms as they age. The Stark team had the opportunity to chat with Dr. Jade Teta about the male aging process and what can be done to reverse it.

a shirtless Dr. Jade Teta looks towards something out of picture while at the beach

What is Andropause?

Essentially, andropause is the decline of sex hormone production in males. Most people tend to immediately focus on the testosterone aspect of it, but that’s just one piece of the puzzle. Dr. Teta says, “We focus on just the testosterone, but really what’s happening is the hypothalamus and pituitary— sort of the command and control center of the metabolism—begin to slow its downstream communications with the thyroid, adrenals, and testicles. This slowing down process has profound changes in energy, libido, erections, exercise performance, exercise recovery, ambition, and drive.”

Andropause doesn’t only affect performance in the bedroom or the gym- it also negatively impacts a man’s ambition and ability to focus. Men experiencing andropause typically feel depressed, lethargic, and unmotivated.

While testosterone levels play a significant role in andropause, Dr. Teta says the process is about the global decline of the hypothalamus and pituitary that has all of these effects on mood, body composition, and overall performance.

What Role Does Metabolism Play in the Aging Process?

Metabolism is everything your body does to respond to stress in the outside world—it’s not all about burning fat! Dr. Teta says, “Metabolism is your computer software in your physiology that essentially helps you respond to the outside world. You have to be able to translate what is happening outside of your body to the cells inside your body. The ‘computer software’ signals the metabolism at work (usually through hormones). The metabolism takes all that information—from what you’re eating, how you’re feeling, how you’re moving, life cycles, seasons, and essentially saying, ‘here’s what the current situation outside is.’ Our body needs to respond to that.”

A white haired, older man sits at a desk with a soft glow on his face, while working on his computer

Instead of viewing your metabolism as a fat-burning system that slows down as you age, Dr. Teta recommends viewing it as your key survival mechanism. The metabolism is much more complex than what most people believe; it has a profound impact all over the body. Our metabolism can be viewed as a stress thermometer—measuring external stressors in the outside world and priming our bodies to respond. It’s a very adaptive and reactive system that works hard to keep the body in balance.

Are There Ways to Reverse the Effects of Andropause?

Here’s the good news: a lot can be done to reverse andropause. One of the best ways to reverse andropause is to learn how to manage your stress effectively.

Potentially, we could take a man in his twenties and stress his body out by not giving him enough food and making him vigorously exercise. This lifestyle would stress the metabolism, which would cause the brain-testicle connection to produce less testosterone. Men at any age could stress their bodies into andropause!

Aging is a natural stressor on the body—as you age, your system isn’t able to prepare and adapt as much as it’s used to. The stress load that you used to be able to tolerate in your twenties and thirties becomes too much as you continue to age. In general, most men eventually reach the point when their metabolism starts to get so stressed out that they begin experiencing low testosterone, thyroid, and other hormone levels.

Since stress is one of the leading causes of andropause, reversing symptoms begins with managing stress.

How to Manage Stressors

You can manage stress through a proper diet, regular exercise, and practicing mindfulness. Many older men have increased their testosterone production after learning to manage their stress levels!

If managing your stress levels doesn’t seem to be effective, it’s recommended that you see a doctor to discuss herbal treatments or hormone replacement therapy. You’ll notice a difference in your emotional, physical, and mental health when improving your metabolic function, hormone production, and stress levels.

a man sits on the floor crosslegged, with his headphones in, meditating