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Is The Male Menopause Real?

What is the male menopause?

The female menopause ends a woman’s ability to reproduce. Usually in the woman’s late 40's to early 50's, they will experience changes in their bodies, with a decline in oestrogen levels, which mean they will no longer be able to naturally bear children.

However, in their late 40's to early 50's, men may also experience similar changes such as –

  • Increased weight
  • Reduced libido
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Increased fat around the abdomen and chest
  • Moodiness 
  • Irritability
  • Sweating
  • Reduced concentration
  • Reduced energy
  • Dry skin
  • Difficult kneeling and bending
  • Similar emotional symptoms to women experiencing the menopause

This is sometimes called the male menopause or the andropause.

In the 1930's to 1950's, the male menopause was a well discussed topic, but it went out of fashion until it was discussed in American media in the late 1990's.

But, Does the Male Menopause Exist?

There is still little medical evidence to support the idea of the male menopause as such. However, it is accepted that age-related changes in hormone levels do occur in males. Primarily, the level of the male hormone, testosterone, can slowly and subtly decrease. Medical professionals use the term testosterone deficiency or andropause for this, or sometimes late onset hypogonadism (low levels of male hormones).  Generally, men in their 70's have 40% less testosterone than when they are 30.

In America alone, it is estimated that 5 million men are experiencing the male menopause.

The reduction in testosterone in older men tends to occur in men who also have other conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity or heart disease.

This suggests that the reduction in testosterone is only one part of the picture.

Other problems that can contribution to these behaviour changes in men include sleep deprivation, reduced exercise, smoking, increased alcohol consumption, stress and anxiety. Feelings of worthlessness can also contribute to the “mid-life crisis” when men feel that they have not achieved what they wanted to in life.

Some researchers argue that the male menopause is actually as a result of other conditions that can arise as a male reaches their 40's and 50's, not a medical condition in itself.

Treatments to alleviate the symptoms include –

  • Weight loss
  • Being physically active
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Reduced alcohol consumption
  • Stopping smoking
  • Getting appropriate treatment for other conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
  • Testosterone therapy – however, there are considerable side effects to this.

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