What is Male Menopause?
What is male menopause?
Male menopause is a condition where there is gradual decrease in the testosterone levels in men as they age.
Male menopause occurs in men who are 50 years of age and older. This condition is due to gradual decrease in the male hormones especially testosterone as men age. It is also known by other names such as testosterone deficiency, androgen deficiency, andropause or late onset hypogonadism.
In women menopause occurs over a short period of time where in there is a sudden decrease in female reproductive hormone levels and ovulation permanently ceases. After menopause, women lose their ability to get pregnant. However, in male menopause the changes are more gradual and there is a gradual decrease in the levels of testosterone. In men after they reach 30 years of age there is a 1% decrease in testosterone levels during every subsequent year.
Since not all men exhibit the symptoms of male menopause it is believed that certain health issues and lifestyle choices aggravate the symptoms of male menopause. In older males who are suffering from health issues such as heart diseases, type -2 diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure the symptoms of male menopause are more severe. There are also other factors that aggravate symptoms of male menopause such as consuming alcohol, smoking, anxiety, stress, lack of sleep and unhealthy diet. Men who are depressed due to mid life crisis also suffer from severe symptoms of menopause.
In men, testosterone apart from being responsible for maintaining their sexual characteristics is also needed to maintain their muscle mass, provide energy and help in fight or flight response. Therefore, decrease in testosterone levels can affect these physiological functions as well. Moreover, in men some of the testosterone is also converted to oestrogen. Therefore, low testosterone levels can also lead to low oestrogen levels, which may also contribute to some of the symptoms of menopause.
Symptoms of male menopause
Some men do not show any symptoms of male menopause even though there is a gradual decrease in their testosterone levels. However, in some men the symptoms can be severe interfering with their lifestyle.
The symptoms of low testosterone levels leading to male menopause include:
- Decreased energy levels
- Feelings of depression
- Low self esteem and self confidence
- Loss of concentration
- Disturbed sleep at night
- Accumulation of abdominal fat
- Fatigue and low muscle mass
- Development of breasts also called Gynecomastia
- Decreased sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Increased irritability
- Increased sweating
- Decreased size of the testicles
- Onset of osteoporosis or decrease in bone density
Diagnosis and treatment of male menopause
If your symptoms are very severe and affecting your daily activities then you should consult your doctor.
Your doctor will conduct a blood test to determine your testosterone levels.
In most cases your doctor will suggest making certain lifestyle changes such as eating healthy diet, doing regular exercise, consuming less alcohol, and having good quality of sleep and stress management. In most of the cases making healthy lifestyle changes will reduce the symptoms of male menopause.
Effectively controlling and treating underlying health issues such as high blood pressure, heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, depression and obesity can also resolve the symptoms associated with male menopause.
However, if the symptoms do not improve with lifestyle modifications or other treatments your doctor may suggest hormone replacement therapy.