International Men’s Day: What is Male Menopause?
Male Menopause Is a Thing!?
Almost everyone is aware of the term menopause but in the context of women’s menstrual and reproductive health. But I am not sure in a room full of 10 people how many of them would have any idea about this term when the subject is men.
If you know, pat yourself on the back now, c’mon. Do it!
This International Men’s Day, let’s talk about what is male menopause in detail, from its symptoms to its treatment!
What is Male Menopause?
Menopause is a natural decline in the reproductive hormones in males and females. Male menopause is a general (mostly unhelpful and misleading, according to the NHS) term for andropause which describes the hormonal level change in males in their older age. The same group of symptoms also describes testosterone deficiency, androgen deficiency, and late-onset hypogonadism.
Men in their early 50s experience a drop in their testosterone production. It is also associated with early hypogonadism, a condition when male sex organs start to show a decline in the production of sex hormones.
The testosterone level from around the age of 30-40 falls at a steady percentage of 2% a year and is unlikely to cause severe problems at this age.
In men, testosterone is produced in their sex glands, called testes, and does more than acting as an agent to fuel sexual drives. It is also responsible for the physical changes which occur when a boy hits puberty. Additionally, it improves mental and physical energy, maintains muscle mass, controls fight-or-flight response, and regulates other significant evolutionary features in men.
Male menopause is different from female menopause in various ways, and that is why the label “Male Menopause” might be misleading for people who start comparing it with female menopause. For starters, not all men go through it. More than that, it does not entirely shut down men’s reproductive systems such as with women. However, it may cause sexual complications because of lowered hormonal levels.
How to know if a man is possibly suffering from male menopause?
Male menopause can cause various psychological, emotional, and sexual difficulties. Let’s see the most common symptoms found in men:
- Low sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Low energy level
- Decreased motivation
- Lowered self-confidence
- Difficulty sleeping or insomnia
- Difficulty focusing
- Increased body fat
- Physical weakness and increased muscle mass
- Fat redistribution
- Gynecomastia, or development of breasts
- Decreased bone density
- Lowered infertility
- Mood swings
- Short term memory
These symptoms can affect efficient daily functioning in men. So, if you are experiencing these symptoms get to the root of it and get it diagnosed! From there, you can look at your treatment options
Treating Male Menopause or Andropause
Pathological (Blood test) Test
Get yourself a pathological test check your testosterone levels (this is the main hormone affected by ageing in men). If your results report a deficiency, you may want to see or will be referred to an endocrinologist, which is a hormonal problems specialist.
Hormone replacement therapy
If the specialist confirms this the diagnosis of andropause, you may be offered testosterone replacement to correct the hormone deficiency, which should relieve your symptoms.
This treatment may be either:
However, hormone replacement therapy is quite controversial. it includes the use of synthetic performance-enhancing and hormone-producing steroids. Synthetic testosterone could have adverse health and risk factors. If you are prescribed hormonal replacement therapy, discuss in detail with your GP, weigh out all the pros and cons before making a decision. Don’t rush, and never take any medicine without prescriptions.
Natural ways of managing symptoms
If your male menopause is not causing you severe hardship or not disturbing your life, you can probably manage your symptoms on your own. Don’t hesitate to tell your doctor about your symptoms, be clear when you list them down. There’s no shame in experiencing mental, emotional or sexual challenges. It’s okay. The most common type of treatment for symptoms of male menopause is opting a healthier lifestyle which includes:
- eating a healthy diet
- getting regular exercise
- getting enough sleep
- reducing your stress by engaging in activities that make you happy
These lifestyle habits can make dramatic positive changes the symptoms and their overall health.
Seeing a therapist can also be very helpful to deal with the symptoms of andropause. A therapist can help to improve your mental health, sleeping habits, confidence and mood swings.
The Sum and Substance
It’s natural to experience a decline in your testosterone levels as you age and grow older. For many, the symptoms are manageable, even without clinical treatment. If your symptoms are causing you life-altering challenges, seek professional help.