It is often highlighted that TCM can help with women’s issues and the men counterpart is rather downplayed.
Similarly to women, men also go through stages of bodily changes throughout their lives and even face hormonal changes as well, a period of time called the andropause. Andropause, otherwise known as the male menopause, is usually triggered by low testosterone or androgen levels, hence decreasing the sex drive and makes one feel moody and weak. The process of andropause plays out over a longer period of time than menopause, where the hormonal shifts such as the decline in testosterone levels begin to take place starting in a man’s mid 30s and continue into his 50s or later. The hormonal shifts are subtle over decades though, unlike women’s menopause where the hormones can decline rapidly within a few years. By the time the symptoms of andropause are evident - which can show up as loss of muscle mass, decreased athletic performance, lowered mental function, diminished sex drive, the vitality and vigor of men have already been much reduced and pathology is already in place.
Of the ten most common causes of death in men, five are directly related to this reduction in androgen dominance in the body of men. The five major players of death for men are mainly heart disease, stroke, diabetes, suicide (depression) and Alzheimer’s disease. However proper management of men’s health starting from the middle years can play a significant role in prevention and treatment of these disease patterns.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a very common andropause disorder, where the prostate becomes enlarged. Symptoms of this disorder include frequent urination, trouble starting to urine, weak stream, inability to urinate or loss of bladder control. So the question for men is not “How do I avoid prostate enlargement?” but “how do I keep an enlarged prostate from causing me problems?” And the answer lies in good management of andropause
Generally, men tend to be poor at self care and often reluctant to seek medical care from a complementary or conventional professional. However more men are beginning to realise the benefits of preventive care. As men live longer, they realise it is important to maintain optimal energy, acute mental function, balanced emotions and good physical strength and stamina. All the above mentioned problems that can be faced by men in the process of aging can be addressed with TCM and specifically with acupuncture by improving the circulation and slow down the process of andropause and its accompanying health problems. By doing so, it makes a full and vital life into “old age” for men a reality.