This week I will be discussing the effects that changes in our hormones have on us. As we age our hormone levels change and with that our lives and relationships can start to change.
- Men and women become less horny (that’s serious stuff in any relationship if you ask me!)
- Men especially and women become grumpy (even grumpier) and irritable and have mood swings.
- Men and women also have memory problems
- Men and women gain fat and lose muscle
- Men and women have trouble sleeping
For women, in a nutshell that means – less sex and being married to a tired, fat, grumpy and weak man who can’t remember things. 😉
(does having less sex, poor memory, being tired, fat and weak make us men grumpy I wonder?!)
And for us Men it means ….well I better keep my mouth shut if I know what’s good for me! lol x
All jokes aside, with those few examples above of the changes that go on, combined with “life and all it has to throw at you” then it can lead to problems with your relationship with your partner and kids, health problems and much more.
Its a sad thing to say but relationships fail and families break up because of the menopause and man-o-pause wrecking peoples lives.
It is said that more changes happen in the body between 45-60 years old than when you’re a child.
As we get older our body naturally starts to slow down, and we become more susceptible to suffering from health problems. Specifically there is a time in a women’s life where they experience many negative changes all at once, this is called menopause.
Menopause is sometimes known as “the change” of life and comes about as a result of the end of menstruation. The average age for a woman to reach menopause is 52, but it is not that uncommon for some women to experience menopause during their late 30s and early 40s.
Why does menopause occur?
Menopause comes about due to a change in the balance of the body’s sex hormones. Before menopause you have pre-menopause (or perimenopause), at this stage estrogen levels decrease which leads to the ovaries stopping producing eggs every month.
During this pre menopause or perimenopausal stage, the ovaries start to shut down and a woman’s fertility begins to decline, each time a woman doesn’t to ovulate the ovaries fail to produce another important hormone, progesterone.
This is what frequently causes disruption of menstruation and emotional wellbeing, leading to mood swings.
The symptoms of perimenopause are often ignored or missed by women and their doctors because of a reluctance to blame hormonal changes on a range of physical and mental health problems, regularly experienced by women in their late 30s and early 40s.
In an article in The Daily Mail, (3) Dr Sarah Jarvis, a spokesperson on women’s health for the Royal College of General Practitioners says “Women who complain of perimenopausal symptoms are as likely to be suffering emotional and physical problems brought on by lifestyle changes – children leaving home or their marriage going through a difficult stage. So without proper medical conformation, it’s difficult to establish if their problems are related to the menopause.”
Menopause symptoms usually last for 2-5 years before disappearing.
? – Did you know that Urinary tract infections can be a common sign of low estrogen in women.
For all the men out there reading and thinking this has nothing to do with you – please read on…
There is a male version of menopause known as MAN-o-pause but more scientifically knows as andropause. The changes that men have to deal with are a lot more gradual than female menopause.
Man-o-pause is believed to be the result of the slow gradual reduction of the production of the testosterone hormone. This occurs in middle age men. The reduction in testosterone occurs in all males and females with age (yes females need testosterone too).
So what does this mean for men?
Well this means that you can expect to receive very similar health problems to the women who suffer from menopause.
It is only in more recent times that doctors and physicians are accepting that MANY of the health problems that middle age men experience is down to andropause.
Testosterone is what makes a man a man. Testosterone is an androgen and is one of the main hormones in males. It’s found in every cell in the human body which would indicate it’s important.
Testosterone is is an anti depressant and is one of the main forces behind a male’s sex drive, energy and motivation.
Many men remain reluctant to admit they may be suffering from the male menopause as they see it as a threat to their masculinity.
They are particularly horrified at having to admit to erectile dysfunction, which is one of the most common symptoms of MAN-o-pause.
A psychotherapist and author of a book ‘Male menopause’ Jed Diamond, described andropause as ‘like puberty in reverse.’ It is an emotional and physical change that many men go through.
Testosterone decreases 1% per year from age 30. (4)
Between the ages of 40-49 about 5% of males suffer from andropause. From the age of 50-69 up to as much as 45% of the population have it. It isn’t a sudden condition that you just get, this is something that gradually creeps up on you for years.
There are many symptoms of menopause and man-o-pause that affect males and females. Some people will suffer from just one or two of the symptoms, others may suffer from 10, and they will also vary in severity.
To help you find out if you are suffering from menopause or man-o-pause I have put together a list of 21 Menopause symptoms for women and 18 Man-o-pause symptoms for men to look out for.
Signs and Symptoms of Menopause and Man-o-pause
|Hot flushes and night sweats||Hot flushes and sweating|
|Loss of libido||Loss of libido|
|Feelings of dread and apprehension||Nervousness|
|Regular headaches||Memory problems|
|Vaginal dryness||Becoming Angrier
|Urinary tract infections||Erection problems|
|Rapid heartbeat||Loss of muscular strength|
|Bleeding gums||Lean muscle mass reduction|
|Tingling extremities||Increase levels of fat around internal organs|
|Pain in muscles and joints||Loss of body hair|
|Breast atrophy and||Loss of bone density|
|Skin thinning and dryness||Mood swings|
|Unusual tiredness and fatigue||Unusual tiredness and fatigue|
|Concentration issues and memory loss||Concentration problems|
|Allergies||Poor spatial orientation|
|Loss of balance||Reduced intellectual activity|
|Body fat increase||Body fat increase|
What can we do about it?
If you find that you suffer from some of these symptoms then I would suggest you go and see your doctor. They will be able to diagnose the problem, I must state that many of these problems are just a result of aging and they ultimately can’t be reversed.
But they can be slowed down greatly.
Some doctors refuse to treat these conditions, many women get offered hormone replacement therapy (HRT), very few men get offered testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), however a few very good forward thinking GP’s which are seeing the benefits for their patients, and it is becoming more common.
HRT and TRT use synthetic hormones to balance out your body. I have clients who swear by it and others who have tried it and it didn’t work for them.
One woman told me she was “scared” of HRT because of all the bad press it has had.
Another said she didn’t want to come off it as it had changed her life, although initially she did have to try a few different types, until she found one that was good.
A specialist doctor reported the risks of HRT as “tiny” as compared to the benefits.
Its a personal decision between you and your doctor thats for sure.
There are lots of different types and quality HRT/TRT and invariably the NHS give you the cheapest one to start. It’s not matched to your body specifically, it’s a generic prescription medication.
However more interestingly some of my private clients have been trying bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, also known as – BHRT. It comes in gel form which you rub into your skin.
They have been to see a private doctor in Harley Street in London. I’m looking for something a bit closer or if the doctor will come down to Wales once a month or so, I will keep you posted on this.
BHRT is taken by many affluent people and celebrities looking for longevity and anti-aging strategies.
One man said about his testosterone therapy “its like being reborn” another woman reported “its like having the clock turned back 20 years, I got my life back”.
There has been lots of excitement around BHRT as it is a natural form of hormone and is matched to your body and what it needs, early reports suggest it’s much safer than conventional synthetic methods.
For females you have the option to try HRT, discuss this with your doctor, and don’t give up if the first one doesn’t work, tell the doctor it’s not helping and if you can try another kind (they will then give you a better quality option).
For the males who suspect they are suffering from andropause the doctor should give you a testosterone test to check your levels.
Please note in my recent experience with clients, if you see some NHS doctors they may fob you off the first few appointments and then tell you you are fine and not prescribe anything.
I must say there are some great doctors who are happy to get the right tests done and solve this problem easily.
It’s not easy to get what you want from the GP.
The key to naturally beating the menopause and andropause is to be as healthy as possible, and eat cleanly.
Eating fat is very important as fats are where your hormones come from. Eating good quality beef, eggs, fish/fish oil(high DHEA content), butter, avocado, nuts, seeds, extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil.
A quality nutrition programme and regular exercise will help a lot. I would also suggest you allow yourself to de-stress every day to completely relax and unwind.
You can do this however you see fit, a massage, yoga class or just a bit of quiet time at home. Reducing your stress levels is important in dealing with menopause and man-o-pause effectively.
Making positive changes to your lifestyle is found to be a good way of dealing with the menopausal and man-o-pausal symptoms.
There are certain foods and substances which can act as a trigger and set off these symptoms it is best to avoid these, especially during the evening hours – smoking, alcohol, caffeine and spicy foods are all potential triggers.
Avoid snacking on sugary foods, have a piece of fruit and some nuts, these will leave you less vulnerable to a dip in energy. Eat slightly smaller meals/portions as your body requires less calories as you age. Also make sure to include legumes, oats and turkey in your diet as they contain tryptophan, which you need to build serotonin (your happy hormone), which is linked to appetite and sleep.
Avoid fizzy drinks as they strip the body of much needed minerals – calcium, zinc and magnesium and vitamins D, E and K, its a good idea to take a decent multivitamin too (I use www.alimentnutrition.co.uk – great quality and great price, they supply people like boots and GNC in america).
Women should also eat more phyto-oestrogens. Phyto or plant oestrogens found in certain foods are oestrogenic compounds that bind with oestrogen receptor sites in the body cells, increasing the total oestrogenic effect. Eat linseeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, celery, rhubarb and green beans to boost up your natural estrogen levels.
Men can eat more quality lean beef, eggs, butter, nuts, celerey and oysters to boost your testosterone naturally. Men with low testosterone should avoid alcohol as its an estrogen producer and reduces testosterone levels greatly.
So in order to beat the menopause and man-o-pause you need to be living life the healthy way and you may need to see your doctor.
I have packed in the facts and the nutritional solutions this week. By taking all of this advice on board you should be in the best position to slow it right down.
Thanks for reading and please comment below with your thoughts, opinions and experiences.