Male menopause is a real thing, and the medical term for it is andropause. According to the Mayo Clinic, the term “Male Menopause” has been used to describe decreasing testosterone levels related to aging. See this article from Mark back in 2018.
One of the symptoms of male menopause can be erectile dysfunction (ED). Although for younger men, you can have ED without male menopause. ED can destroy a man’s confidence not just in the bedroom but in the larger picture of his life by causing depression, stress, moodiness and anger all things that peak performers do not want to associate with. But for men aged 35-64 these things can sneak up on us, fast.
We are all so busy “performing.” Being a Dad, a good husband, business owner, a hard worker, friend, trying to get your workouts squeezed into an already hectic week. In many cases, this usually leads to a pattern of not not getting enough sleep because of late night emails for work after having put the kids to bed, up early the next day to get right back at your hard charging life, with too little exercise and not enough Primal Nutrition. Which leaves you with high stress. Stress leads to high cortisol (more about cortisol below).
Maybe you had a little too much wine at dinner … it happens. Your wife or lover wants to “play” and so do you, but no response. Once, certainly is nothing to worry about but the definition of ED is “is the recurrent or persistent inability to attain and/or maintain an erection in order for satisfactory sexual performance.” So, what to do?
First, let’s look closer at the leading causes.
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Possible Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
In order to eliminate the frustration of ED we must first understand what may be causing it.
Too Little Sleep
Research from Mathew Walker’s book “Why We Sleep” point to the necessity of 7 plus hours of sleep per night. Of all the healthy things we can do to at the very least preserve our hormones, sleep is number one! According to Walker in his book, “If you have hopes of reproductive success, fitness or prowess, you would do well to get a full night’s sleep every night.” In fact as far as Testosterone is concerned, Walker cites a study done at the University of Chicago where a group of lean healthy young males in their mid 20’s were limited to 5 hours of sleep for one week. After the sleep deprivation for a week, “sample hormone levels circulating in the blood of the participants showed a marked drop in testosterone.The size of the hormone blunting effect was so large that it effectively ages a man by ten to fifteen years in terms of testosterone virility.” WOW is all I can say!
Too Much Stress
It’s a vicious cycle. Lack of adequate sleep, stress from family and work, financial stress, all of this leads to worry. Worry leads to high cortisol levels. Cortisol is also known as “the stress hormone” and chronically high levels can lead to irritability, moodiness and depression. The results of all that stress is hormones out of whack, especially testosterone, thyroid hormones and adrenal hormones. In other words, cortisol is part of the “fight or flight” mechanism that is built into all of us. When it is ON all the time, that will disrupt our hormonal levels which may lead to ED.
We need our inflammation response. When you slice your finger on a kitchen knife and you see a red ring around the cut, that’s acute inflammation.
Systemic chronic inflammation is the kind that causes problems. Caused by, you guessed it! Vegetable oils cooked under high heat, refined carbs, stress and not enough sleep. Chronic inflammation will not only hurt your sex life but long term, is a leading cause of dementia. These killer culprits lead to insulin sensitivity and inflammation and thus fat gain and yup, hormone distress again.
Not Enough Exercise
According to a report out of Harvard Medical School, “There is no specific exercise program for men looking to reduce the risk of ED. But a well-rounded exercise program that includes just half an hour of physical activity on all or most days of the week delivers solid health benefits.”