Seniors – Understanding Aging
With tens of thousands of people turning over sixty every day, the need for knowledge of what’s happening to their bodies becomes crucial. Here are some key elements that will help people understand and cope more easily with this inevitable condition.
- What happened to me? Many of us go along blissfully living our lives until one day we look and see this extra flesh hanging from our arms or notice lines in our face that weren’t there before, or our joints feel a little creaky and we wonder what happen to us. We still think we’re in our forties but our body doesn’t agree with us anymore.
- What happened in menopause in women and andropause in men. These terms identify the effects that reduced hormone production brings about in our bodies We’ll discuss them both. Ladies first, so menopause first.
- What is Menopause? Menopause is the day one year after a woman stops getting her period. Postmenopause is what happens for the rest of her life. The average age in the U.S. is 51. The 2-10 years leading up to the day her menses stand still, is called peri (around) menopause. During this transitional time, a woman’s ovaries are slowing down and her estrogen and progesterone production, yoyos up and down. The result is that most, but not all women, get an assortment of unwelcome symptoms, varying from mild to severe. The short list includes hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, mood swings, depression, hostility, anxiety, fuzzy brains and memory lapses. Sexually, there can be vaginal dryness, which makes intercourse painful, or a sudden lack of interest altogether.
- What is Andropause? Andropause is the result of the natural slow, steady decline of testosterone (T). After the age of 30, T goes down by 1%-2% a year, so that by the time a man is 50, he has 20-40% less. At 60, there’s 30%-60% less, etc. Depending on how much he was genetically endowed with, that can make a greater or lesser impact on him. Thus, everything T influences can also be reduced to a greater or less degree including his sex drive, energy, self-confidence and ambition. This is when a guy can start having problems getting an erection, staying hard, feeling fatigued, depressed or irritable, gaining weight and losing muscle mass. Obviously, this can also be worrisome to the women in their lives.
- Some Challenges You Might Face. Not to be discouraging, but as you can see or are actually experiencing, andropause and menopause can create new challenges for singles and couples. You may have to deal with some emotional and physical symptoms, as well as new sexual problems. We’ve seen couples where it’s too painful for the women to have sex or they have completely lost interest in it. On the other hand, there are couples where the women are more sexual than ever and their mates lose their ability to get an erection or become disinterested. That’s very difficult for a couple where the sex has been good, or at least available. Health issues and the medications that are prescribed for them also can affect quality of life and sexual connection. Aside from hormone-related issues, older couples may have to deal with the financial stresses of not being able to retire or not having enough savings at retirement, and conflicts on what to do and how to live.
- What are some solutions? Much new research in Europe has shown that bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is a safe and effective remedy for the symptom of menopause. We have some excellent suggestions in our book SO THAT’S WHY THEY DO THAT! Men, Women and Their Hormones. There are also some suggestions for men about Testosterone replacement therapy but other caveats apply.
- Living your best life. There are lot’s of things you can do to make the golden years exciting and enjoyable. It starts with eating a healthy diet. Getting enough exercise. Staying sexually active. Learning new things. Doing something that makes you happy and gives value to others. That may be the most important one of all.