Do men go through menopause like women do?
When you hear someone talking about unexplained emotional outbursts, depression, fatigue, forgetfulness, weight gain and low sex drive, you expect it to be a 45- to 50-year-old woman, right? That’s the normal age range for women entering menopause. What very few people realize and even fewer discuss, especially men, is that those are the symptoms of andropause, more commonly known as male menopause.
There are significant differences between men and women going through this stage or “change”. Women may go through a period of time when hormone production is erratic but when it stops, it stops completely. Diminishing levels of testosterone in men happens at a much slower pace. In fact, for many men, testosterone production peaks at a fairly young age and drops 1 to 2 percent per year after that. Symptoms commonly manifest around the same age as women but can appear earlier or not at all. More often than not, when symptoms do appear they are associated with the traditional “mid-life crisis”.
There is a certain mystique to the classic mid-life crisis, more of a rite of passage than a sign of aging. But it is telling that men often blame it for buying sports cars and having affairs, which are poorly disguised attempts at recapturing youth. The truth is that very few men are willing to admit that there is such a thing as male menopause. The word “andropause” literally breaks down into “andro” which means male and “pause” meaning stopped. Stopped being male? How many men are going to be comfortable talking about that?
To be fair, most women don’t like thinking, talking or dealing with the concept or the reality of menopause, either. No one likes to face the loss of youth and the prospect of growing old. It is important to bring this issue into the public discussion because decreased hormonal levels for men can be responsible for a wide range of issues. A more comprehensive list includes:
- Urinary problems
- Increase in abdominal fat
- Muscle loss
- Decreased sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Reduced motivation
- Sleep issues
- Memory loss
- Gynecomastia (enlarged breasts)
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Decreased muscle strength and stamina
- Mood swings
- Decreased mental clarity
- Hair loss
The good news is that there is treatment to reduce many, if not all, of these symptoms. There are few instances when the one-size-fits-all approach is a good idea, and this is definitely not one. Hormonal balance is different for everyone and, at the very least, a thorough examination by a qualified health professional is essential. To make a proper diagnosis your doctor will need to hear about all symptoms, perform a physical exam and order tests to measure testosterone levels and rule out any other possible problems.
Certain lifestyle changes such as a healthier diet and increased exercise may be recommended, as well as hormone replacement therapy. Restoration and optimization with bioidentical testosterone during andropause can relieve many of the symptoms listed about and considerably improve quality of life. Bio-identical testosterone has also been safely shown to reduce the severity of coronary heart disease, osteoporosis and diabetes.
At the Southern California Center for Anti-Aging, testosterone therapy for men is customized and based on symptoms, a physical exam and hormone test results. To learn more about andropause and hormonal replacement therapy, take advantage of our Free Consultation by calling (424) 247-4962 or click here to use our convenient online form.