Male menopause is a term that is often too loosely applied to aging men. Although it may seem to be a similar condition to what women experience, it generally is not the same, and not all men will experience the symptoms of it.
Women experience changes related to rapid hormonal imbalances, largely due to the body’s biological clock saying that the prime time to produce children has passed. Men, on the other hand, experience a normal decrease in testosterone levels as a gradual decline, starting at about age 30. Upon reaching the age of 70, the testosterone levels of some men will have decreased by as much as 50 percent.
Although a gradual decrease in testosterone levels isn’t dangerous in and of itself, symptoms that arise from it can sometimes require treatment. Hence the term “male menopause”.
The symptoms that a man may experience with this can include depression, insomnia, and decreased sex drive. Physical symptoms can also occur, and may include weight gain, hair loss, and tender breasts, among others. Still, these symptoms can also be indicative of other issues, such as a thyroid condition, or may be a side effect of certain medications. This makes it important to get a thorough check-up for the proper diagnoses.
To make it even more complex, aside from aging, certain medical conditions can also cause a decrease in testosterone. This means that once a blood test has determined that hormonal levels are low, the reason for it may also need to be determined. Diabetes and obstructive sleep apnea are 2 conditions that may afflict a man’s testosterone levels.
Once it has been determined that “male menopause”, more aptly called andropause, is clearly the cause of low testosterone levels, then any symptoms may be treated. Although hormonal therapies are available, these might not be someone’s first choice, due to possible side effects. These therapies, called androgen replacement therapies, can even make prostate cancer get worse.
Other solutions might include treatment for individual symptoms. An anti-depressant might be needed to treat depression. Changes in diet and exercise might be necessary for weight issues, and also to increase muscle mass that may have declined. Oftentimes, symptoms are experienced as a completely natural part of aging, and may not need any special treatment to go through.
Even with more information currently available than ever before, treatment of male menopause is still met with a good bit of controversy. Overall, it seems that deeming any part of a man’s normal 40-year aging process as male menopause might be the more controversial aspect of this condition. However, serious symptoms need to be taken seriously, and any treatment must be taken just as seriously as it would be with any other medical condition.
Mayo Clinic, Male menopause: Myth or reality?
WebMD, Male Menopause