Andropause is the clinical term which describes a decrease in testosterone, the male sex hormone. Other terms used also include male hypogonadism, and testosterone deficiency syndrome.

The symptom is a normal part of the aging process, with testosterone reducing by 1% per year after age 30, and currently affects about 39% of men over the age of 45. The condition is significant in everyday life because testosterone is responsible for maintaining a wide range of bodily functions.

SYMPTOMS
Some common symptoms associated with male andropause include decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, weaker bone strength and decreased energy. Other secondary symptoms could also include increased body weight, lower muscle strength, depression, and insomnia.
Men are often more prone to having low testosterone if they also suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes, or obesity.
Confirmation of low testosterone however, can only be confirmed by a blood test.

CAUSES
Low testosterone can be caused by testicular damage from infection or radiation therapy, as well as certain conditions affecting the hypothalamus and pituitary glands of the brain. Several prescription medications also have the side effect of lowering testosterone production, while certain genetic conditions may also contribute to lower testosterone production.

TREATMENT
Medical treatment of low testosterone involves supplementing testosterone via a variety of routes – the most common being topical gel and patches, with injections being less popular. These applications allow a sustained supply of testosterone to the body, and thus bring testosterone levels back to a healthy level. Gel and patch forms may be associated with minor skin irritation and higher cost, but are the most convenient. Injections usually last several weeks, but require a physician appointment and injection discomfort.
Supplementation however can be associated with a risk of increased heart attack and other health concerns however, and the risk should be evaluated on a case by case basis by a physician.
The efficacy of testosterone supplementation has demonstrated rapid aid. Benefits include increased muscle mass, decreased body fat, regular libido, restored mood and energy levels. Patients must be informed however that the supplementation would be a life-long therapy regimen.

PATIENT MEASURES
Patients should be advised to maintain a healthy diet and include physical activity in a daily routine – these measures help the maintenance of strength, mood, and energy – all areas commonly affected by low testosterone.

OTHER
Patients should also consult their health professionals prior to taking any herbal remedies – many offer minimal benefit and may be harvested from dubious sources. Testosterone supplementation should not be used by men with known histories of breast or prostate cancer, although there is no currently verified evidence linking supplementation with higher rates of cancer.