The male menopause
Although menopause has a specific meaning for women, their periods ending, some men experience a range of symptoms that have become known as the male menopause.
Some doctors refer to this problem in the late 40s or early 50s as androgen ( testosterone) decline in the ageing male, or andropause.
Male menopause symptoms include:
- Loss of sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Hot flushes
- Mood swings and irritability
- Loss of muscle mass
- Belly fat or 'man boobs' (gynaecomastia)
- Tiredness and lethargy
- Sweating more
- Loss of concentration and short-term memory
How is male menopause diagnosed?
If a doctor were to investigate the possibility of andropause in a man, they would perform a physical examination and ask about symptoms. They may arrange other diagnostic tests to rule out any medical problems that may be contributing to the symptoms. The doctor will then arrange a series of blood tests that may include several hormone levels, including a blood testosterone level.
Can male menopause be treated?
If testosterone levels are low, testosterone replacement therapy may help relieve such symptoms as loss of interest in sex (decreased libido), depression and fatigue. However, as with hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in women, testosterone replacement therapy does have some potential risks and side effects. Replacing testosterone may worsen prostate cancer, for example.
If you or a loved one is considering testosterone replacement therapy, seek medical advice to learn more. Your doctor may also recommend certain lifestyle changes, such as a new diet or exercise programme, or other medications, such as an antidepressant, to help with some of the symptoms of male “menopause”.