Male Menopause: Fact or Fiction?

by Laura Ramirez on January 29, 2011

Male menopause does exist, but it isn’t exactly like what menopausal women go through. Its clinical term is andropause and it is characterized by decreased hormones (testosterone) in men, although its symptoms happen less suddenly compared to those of female menopause.

What exactly are the symptoms of male menopause? Hormonal changes, just like menopause in women, can cause lethargy, sudden sweating, mood swings, and irritability among men. However, these usually occur gradually. At around age fifty-five, males (even healthy ones) start experiencing a marked decline in the amount of testosterone secreted in their bloodstream. Laboratory studies reveal that by the age of eighty, most men’s testosterone levels are comparable to pre-pubescent boys’. During this time, andropausal men may experience the following indicators of decreased testosterone: overall fatigue and general lethargy, aching or stiff joints, weight gain, insomnia, sleep apnea, depression, irritability or mood swings, decrease in libido, sexual impotence, hair loss, and skin dryness.

Male menopause is oftentimes sneeringly referred to as “mid-life crisis” by those who can’t comprehend what andropause is really all about. While there can be a dramatic testosterone deficiency in men by the time they’re sixty, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they will lose their fertility (in stark contrast with menopause-caused infertility in women). In fact, some andropausal men well into their eighties have been known to father children. Perhaps this is the main bone of contention about whether male menopause is fact or fiction, where the ability to produce children is concerned.

It is important to consult a doctor to determine if the symptoms you’re experiencing are really andropause-related, though. There have been cases involving men suffering from cancer, obesity, depression, and certain heart and lung diseases that can cause testosterone levels to suddenly drop. Once these illnesses are ruled out, it’s time to consider male menopause treatment options so you can continue living your life in a satisfactory manner.

male menopause

Male menopause does not have to get you down.

Be open to your doctor about what you’re going through so they can give you choices in dealing with andropausal symptoms. As with hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in menopausal women, one of the main options to treat male menopause is testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). The aim is to bring testosterone levels back to a healthy level, so you will experience less of the andropausal symptoms…except for erectile dysfunction, that is. The biggest drawbacks of undergoing TRT is that it can be quite expensive, and it can increase risk of prostate cancer and other ailments. And as mentioned, if erectile dysfunction cannot be treated by this method, you are better off seeking other less expensive and more effective treatments.

For starters, your doctor will most likely recommend lifestyle changes that include your diet, physical activities, and forms of recreation. To target symptoms of weight gain, fatigue, depression, and others, switch to a low-fat, high-fiber diet that can make you feel healthier overall and take a supplement that will balance hormonal levels and reduce symptoms of male menopause like Ikawe. Doing cardio exercises regularly can help you get more restful sleep, have better concentration, and have fewer incidences of depression and irritability. Andropause is the best time to cut down or totally quit vices such as smoking and drinking because these can only aggravate most male menopause symptoms.

Male menopause may be considered a misleading term by most men because they usually associate menopause with the all-too feminine symptoms that they belittle and joke about. But as an eye-opening study on andropause conducted by Drs. Anthony Karpas, Andrew B Dott, and Caroline Dott stated:

First, men need to disassociate their ego from their testicles.  Men need to realize and accept that this disorder exists, that it is a simple endocrine problem which is no different than thyroid disease or diabetes, and that it can be treated. Spouses and employers also need to be aware that this is real so they can identify these men at risk early before their work, home, and families are disrupted.

Copyright © 2011 by Laura Ramirez. All rights reserved.

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