I want to thank Lisa and Kathy so much for this post. I know that many of you readers are in a different stage of life than I am. Many of you have older children and grandchildren. I think you’ll find this article pertains to you or someone you know. For the others of us who aren’t to this stage yet, this information is certainly good to know for the future.
A FAMILY FRAYED BY LOW T
By Lisa Friedman Bloch & Kathy Kirtland Silverman
Some of you out there may be asking yourself why your husband seems less interested in sex… or why he’s more moody, irritable, hypersensitive and even depressed. Can it be the stress that raising small children brings, both for him and for you? Is it the extra baby weight you haven’t quite lost, or his growing neediness because your time and energies are committed elsewhere? There could be a different explanation. A man in his forties, or even younger, can be suffering from low testosterone. And the physical symptoms of his low Testosterone can reveal themselves through changes in his physical abilities and his behavior, which in turn can challenge your relationship.
When we were researching our new book, Manopause: Your Guide to Surviving His Changing Life, we met Gina, 34, who was confused and worried about her marriage. Her husband, Greg, who was 39, had always been an easy-going and loving partner. He was suddenly irritable with both her and the children. She described surprising bouts of aggression, and mood swings. And instead of doing things with Gina and being engaged with the family, he was crashing on the couch for the night and staying glued to the TV. Worse yet their sex life, which seemed to have been lessening over the years, was becoming next to non-existent.
It wasn’t until we explained to her that low testosterone is not just an older man’s problem… that it can happen even to men below the age of 40… that things began to make sense to Gina. Unlike women, men begin to lose their hormones around the age of 30. It is a gradual decline, proceeding at a different pace for every man. To further complicate the situation, the baseline level, the starting point from which a man begins his decline, varies from man to man.
Gina persuaded Greg to visit his urologist and participate in hormone testing, which is done with a series of blood tests. And the results proved he did, in fact, have low levels of testosterone. The good news is that his condition could be remedied with both lifestyle changes, and with hormone supplementation. Today, Greg is back to himself, and their marriage and family life are once again thriving.
One thing Gina and Greg’s story brings to mind is the importance of men having a baseline testosterone test done before the age of 30, since that’s the age when their testosterone begins dropping. Without a pre-established baseline, it is hard for doctors to determine whether a man’s testosterone has fallen to an abnormal level. With a baseline, if things seem to be changing, they can compare a man’s current testosterone level to his earlier one.
There are lots of equally useful tips and strategies for manopause, which affects all men sometime between the ages of 40 and 65, in our book. There is also a quiz that will introduce you to some of the things you may not know about men in general, and manopause men in particular. And if Gina and Greg’s story reminds you of your own experiences, we would be happy to hear your stories, questions or concerns, and we encourage your comments.
This is a guest post by Lisa Friedman Bloch and Kathy Kirtland Silverman, authors of Manopause: Your Guide to Surviving His Changing Life (Hay House)