Michael Cristman is always moving, the 41-year-old works for Clovis Unified, while raising two children and finding time to hit the gym. So when he could barely make it through a week, he knew something was wrong. "I was dragging by Wednesday, I was dragging."
Michael discussed his symptoms with his doctor, and then was tested for low testosterone levels. It turns out, that was the root of his problem.
For most men, it's hard to talk about but Michael discovered he wasn't alone. "Other friends have decided to do this. I'm not the only one."
Michael's doctor, Thomas Minor at Valley Urology in North Fresno says men tend to dismiss the changes they're feeling, until they realize, andropause or male menopause is a real condition.
Dr. Minor said, "A lot of times it's 'I thought I was just under a lot of stress' or 'I can get through this, this is part of aging'. But we can prove to them with a simple blood test that perhaps you could benefit from some supplementation in a safe manner, they open up and talk about all the other subtle things they've been experiencing."
Dr. Minor says there are several factors that can indicate male menopause which can hit as early as 40:
An overall diminished outlook on life
Weight gain and fat retention in areas of the body where it wasn't a problem before.
And another change that may not be so obvious.
I call it the x-factor which you won't find in a medical textbook but it's where men look in the mirror and just feel as though this is not the gentleman I want to be.
Dr. Minor says his first line of treatment is to encourage his patients to make lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise that can boost testosterone production. But if that doesn't work, and after a thorough medical screening, patients are put on a hormone therapy.
Testosterone can be taken in a number of ways. Patients like Michael can get an injection of the hormone every three weeks. But there's also a cream which is applied to the upper body, once a day, as well as a gel and a patch that can be worn on the body.
Michael says testosterone therapy worked wonders for him. "Energy level spiked, libido spiked and like at the gym, I had a lot more energy. It changed my life, gave me a better quality of life, definitely."
Dr. Minor says his patients are also screened for any prostate cancer risk, before being prescribed, testosterone therapy. He also says, besides better overall health and increased energy, men who take the supplemental hormone might also notice some weight loss.