Is there such a thing as the Male Menopause?
Author: Margaret Yates
Contrary to popular belief – the Male Menopause is not a “mid-life crisis”! It’s an actual medical condition that affects some but not all men as they age. The more common term for it is andropause (also known as late-onset hypogonadism) which is a condition that is associated with the decrease in testosterone.
Testosterone levels in men fall slowly over time, unlike women where there is a more sudden decrease in the female hormone oestrogen over a period of a few years usually between ages 45 and 55 which can result in severe symptoms. The male hormone, testosterone, decreases slowly over many years which means their bodies have more time to adjust to the changing hormone levels so their symptoms may not be as pronounced.
According to www.nhs.org, testosterone levels decrease by less than 2% a year from around the age of 30-40. By the time men reach their 80s, about half have low testosterone. The only sure way to learn if you are low on testosterone is by taking a blood test.
Just like the female menopause, the male menopause is part of the ageing process. Most men will sail through it and not notice any changes but others may find it more challenging to deal with and can experience troubling symptoms.
Common symptoms that men may experience in their later 40s or early 50s include:
- Loss of sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Mood swings and irritability
- Loss of muscle mass, general lack of enthusiasm or energy
- Difficultly in sleeping growing “man boobs” as testosterone levels drop and oestrogen levels change
- Difficulty sleeping
If you are experiencing these symptoms what should you do?
This can be a tricky time in life for men as well as women, so symptoms may not be a result of low testosterone and hormone changes. Psychological issues due to money or relationship worries, caring for parents or worrying about children may cause stress and anxiety. A “mid-life crisis” may also be responsible. This can happen when a man reaches life’s halfway stage and has anxieties over what he’s accomplished so far, either in his job or personal life, and can lead to a period of depression or a period of trying to accomplish more!
The first thing to do is ask yourself whether there are factors in your life that may be causing you stress and anxiety and try to tackle them first. Speaking to a professional may be beneficial as might exercise and relaxation techniques. You could speak to your GP who can test your testosterone levels and if you are found to be deficient you may be referred to an endocrinologist who specialises in hormone issues. There are treatments that can treat you such as tablets, patches, gels and implants.
The important thing though is to seek help.
About the Author
Margaret Yates is a life coach and Master NLP practitioner and supports both men and women at this stage of life. You can find out more about Margaret helps at www.zen-divorce.co.uk