"Men" opause: Male Cycles of Life
We often assume that women have all the health issues and men just coast through life, essentially dealing with nothing more serious than hair loss. The truth is much more complex and men are often misunderstood usually because they make light of symptoms until they are debilitating. Men have monthly cycles just as women do, and as they approach mid-life they go through a series of glandular and systemic changes that mimic menopause. This is what is commonly referred to as “andropause”.
Just as with women, men’s emotions, sexual drive, energy level and competitive edge are all tied to gland function and streams of biochemicals. Many of the emotional drives and competitive urges are simply the result of testosterone, adrenalin and serotonin. By paying attention to the symptoms men experience, it is possible to provide a lifetime of vitality and libido, two very important qualities that men value.
Men, more than women, tend to ignore symptoms and try to push through any discomfort or body issues they have. Many times these are signals of imbalances that need attention and as time goes on, many men simply live with a reduced athletic ability, less energy, a weaker libido and a loss of muscle tone. But with a regimen of whole food and natural remedies, men can enjoy a long and vigorous life.
Two of the most important food sources for men as they age are protein and essential fats. Testosterone is made by the body from cholesterol and acts indirectly to stimulate spermatogenesis. But don’t be fooled into thinking that testosterone is the only hormone in men. Often issues with later health in men is due to an overwhelming dominance of testosterone compared to secondary hormones such as Luteinizing Hormone and Follicular-Stimulating Hormone, both released by the pituitary gland. Men also have Estradiol, Estrone, Prolactin, Dehydroepiandrosterone and Triiodothyronine among others. The point is that to concentrate solely on testosterone, or to push the levels of testosterone can wreak havoc in the male glandular system, creating conditions and diseases that are not only preventable, but debilitating.
It is never too early to pay attention to the health of the prostate or to understand the prostate function in the bigger picture of the male body. The prostate gland is a small gland the size of a chestnut that lies under the urinary bladder and surrounds the urethra (exit channel from the bladder). It secretes a milky, slightly acidic fluid that contains citric acid and enzymes which make up the fluid portion of semen and contribute to sperm motility and viability. The prostate gland slowly increases in size from birth to puberty and then expands rapidly maintaining a constant stable size until late in life.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia occurs in approximately 1/3 of all males over the of 60, where enlargement of the prostate causes interruptions in urination and sexual function. This is a strong factor in erectile dysfunction which is probably one thing that gets every man’s attention. There are many reasons for erectile dysfunction including injury (ouch!), stress, infection, hormonal deficiency, nitric oxide deficiency, drug use and vascular disturbances. But the prostate is a big contributing factor and calcium utilization is the key here.
The prostate gland uses a large amount of ionizable calcium and enlargement can be tied to low soft-tissue calcium availability. By increasing supplemental ionizable calcium to soft tissue, prostate health can be maintained. There are even high grade herbs such as saw palmetto that can help to support appropriate prostate gland size.
The important consideration here is to help men to come to a place of acceptance when it comes to their bodies and their health. By understanding that they also have symptoms that need attention and conditions that require some natural remedies, they can continue to run like the wind and have the energy of a lion. There is nothing a man needs more than to be the King of his jungle.