Men experience a type of menopause, just like women, called andropause. This has a slower onset than the menopause and tends to creep up on men in their middle age.
Decreasing levels of testosterone are a natural part of the ageing process. The older a man gets, the lower his testosterone levels may drop. Several causes other than ageing can also lead to low testosterone, however. These include injuries to the testicles as well as chemotherapy or radiation for treating cancer in the genital area. Other causes include diseases of the pituitary gland, and medicines that affect this gland, such as steroids.
A man may feel more tired, gain weight around their midriff and feel less sexually aroused due to a decline in their libido. These symptoms can indicate that you may be experiencing a decrease in your testosterone levels. However, there are several natural ways to boost your levels without resorting to drug therapy which are easy to incorporate into your life.
According to a new report in Pulse (2016) testosterone is one of the top 10 most commonly prescribed drugs which may be costing the NHS £20 m each year. Many GPs are medicalising low testosterone when it is often a sign of the ageing process and could be boosted naturally through diet, exercise and lifestye changes. Where lifestyle changes do not work, taking testosterone can be helpful.
In the USA men spend about $2 billion a year on testosterone therapy to treat symptoms of “Low T,” without a medical diagnosis of abnormally low testosterone. Some doctors believe that this increasing number of men are seeking to regain their youth, both sexually and physically without little thought to the side effects of treatment.
A recent study by Edinburgh University scientists published in the journal Scientific Reports (2016) examined the effects of testosterone on blood vessel tissue and found it triggered the production of hard deposits or calcification, increasing risk of heart attack and stroke. The research was promoted by the increasing use of testosterone to improve sporting performance.
This study raises concerns about the inappropriate use of testosterone but also can help scientists look at new ways to treat heart disease too.
Eat the right foods
There are certain foods which can naturally increase testosterone, such as pomegranates and oatmeal. They both contain arginine, an amino acid, which increases endothelial nitric oxide. Nitric oxide relaxes the veins of the penis allowing blood to flow, thus having a positive effect upon erectile function. Watermelon contains citrulline, a non essential amino acid which is converted into l-arginine by the kidneys, which increases nitric oxide.
Eating cruciferous and green leafy vegetables can help to protect against certain cancers. Spinach is a great source of magnesium, which helps dilate blood vessels, thus improving blood flow. Tomatoes contain lycopene which can help boost sexual health by protecting against prostate cancer and reducing the risk of enlargement of the prostate. It can also help erectile dysfunction. It has recently been found to improve the quality of sperm. A study at Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, USA found that lycopene improved sperm count and swimming speed, and reduced the number of abnormal sperm.
It is important to avoid foods which are high in saturated fats and processed foods. They can have an impact upon your heart and cause heart disease which has been linked to erectile dysfunction. You can also gain weight eating large quantities of such foods which can impact upon your sexual performance by making you feel less energetic and unable to sustain your sexual activity.
Avoid high protein diets
Eating a high protein diet can cause your testes to produce less testosterone. By eating a diet high in fruit, vegetables, especially green leafy ones and cruciferous vegetables and whole grains you can protect your testosterone levels. High protein diets have been promoted as an aid to losing weight but the long term effects of high protein can impact upon your health, including increased risk to developing cancer.
Your body needs carbohydrates to make energy. When you deprive your body of carbohydrates, it’s forced to burn body and dietary fat and protein to make energy instead. Ketones can accumulate in the body when your body begins to burn large amounts of body fat. If ketone levels reach dangerous limits, a person may succumb to a diabetic coma, which can be fatal if not treated.
You can also suffer damage to the internal organs as your body burns the protein stored in the tissues of your heart, liver and kidneys.
Limit alcohol intake
Most men are aware that alcohol can have a negative affect upon their sexual performance as it can cause erectile dysfunction, but it can also increase the metabolism and elimination of testosterone from your bloodstream by reducing the rate at which your body can produce testosterone. Alcohol can affect your liver function too, which is responsible for regulating the availability of free testosterone in our body.
Have more sex
Having more sex can boost your testosterone levels. Regular sex can decrease stress levels and promote a better night’s sleep as well as lowering your blood pressure. The endorphins produced when you have sex make you feel happy and can promote a feeling of well being and harmony.
As your testosterone levels are higher when you wake up, try morning sex. If you feel tired or find it more difficult to get in the mood in the evening, try going to bed earlier or having sex in the middle of the day. Coming home for lunch and getting dessert too is extremely indulgent but will make you feel really good and bad at the same time!
Explore using sex toys in your relationship. Many sex toys are not designed to treat erectile dysfunction (ED). However, some of them offer ways in which men can experience sexual pleasure, such as through vibratory stimulation. Other products enable a man to sustain an erection suitable for coital sex, or change the way his erection feels.
Studies conducted at Indiana University in USA in 2009 found that 45% of men aged between 18-65 years had used a vibrator and that vibrator use is associated with improved sexual function and being more proactive about sexual health.
Get more sleep
Getting more sleep is not just about the amount of sleep you have but the quality of it too. Create a relaxing environment in your bedroom to enable you to fall asleep quickly and remain asleep. Ditch the technology before bedtime, including mobile phones, laptops, tablets and televisions. These not only prevent you from relaxing before you fall asleep but can be real passion killers, unless you are watching a naughty film or reading erotic fiction! Aim for a minimum of 7 hours if possible.
Manage your stress levels
Feeling stressed can affect your testosterone levels. When you feel stressed, your body produces cortisol which blocks the production of testosterone. Having sex can reduce your stress levels as well as feel pleasurable. Try to relax through meditation, find a hobby which helps you to unwind or exercise to relax. Recognise the situations which cause stress and try to avoid them or limit your time spent in such environments.
Get on your bike
As your testosterone levels diminish so does your strength and muscle mass. Getting regular exercise can combat this and make you feel healthier too. You may need to change your exercise regime by incorporating more weight lifting to increase muscle mass. Try to avoid continual long distance, marathon style exercise as well as high intensity exercise without rest days. This type of exercise can cause adrenal fatigue which lowers testosterone levels.
Avoid chemicals like BPA
Bisophenol-A (BPA) is a chemical used to make plastics and to line aluminium cans. There is increasing evidence that exposure to low levels of BPA can cause hormonal changes and increase the risk of developing prostate cancer.
All the above are simple ways to boost your testosterone levels and can be easily incorporated into your life with minimal effort. Ensuring that your hormones are balanced is beneficial not just for sexual health but general health too. Testosterone is important for bone health and can help prevent osteoporosis. It is good for your heart, can aid sleep and improve your memory and ability to concentrate.