People may joke a lot about men having a similar experience as women when they hit their golden years, and they call this male menopause. Is there any truth to this phenomenon or is this just a running joke that has crossed generations? Do men really go through something akin to what women suffer when they reach their 50s?
Women undergo what is called menopause when they no longer ovulate, and this means that the hormones associated with this show a significant decrease in a span of 4 to 8 years. For men, the decline of testosterone is more gradual and happens over a span of a few decades. The fall of hormonal levels begin after they turn 20, with a marked decline of around 14% happening every decade. This is called andropause.
Differences and Similarities in Symptoms
Much like a woman’s menopause, a man who is undergoing andropause will experience a wide range of symptoms. Some of these will be similar to what women go through, and these include such woes as hot flashes, night sweats, sleeplessness, and having mood swings. Also part of this list of symptoms that are shared with women undergoing menopause are depression, feelings of constant tiredness, and a lower sex drive.
Aside from these similarities, men also have their own griefs to add to what they experience when andropause occurs. Men going through this stage in their lives may also find themselves losing hair, suffering from erectile dysfunction, and even developing breasts due to the increase of estrogen and reduction of testosterone in the body. Some men are luckier than others however, since a few don’t feel any of these symptoms even when they are undergoing andropause, or the lowering of testosterone levels.
How to Determine If You are Going Through Andropause
How can you tell if your testosterone levels are dropping, and are actually experiencing andropause? If you suspect that what you are seeing are symptoms of dropping testosterone levels, the only way you can be sure is to visit your doctor. A blood test will help determine whether or not you are indeed suffering from “male menopause”.
There are a few conditions that can bring about similar symptoms, such as thyroid problems, alcohol abuse, and even medication side effects. This is why consulting with a doctor and having your symptoms diagnosed is needed – to help determine what the cause is and to help give you the right treatment. For andropause and hormonal imbalance, men can ask their doctor about hormone replacement therapy (HRT). This treatment will help return testosterone to levels that will relieve you of your symptoms, but since this treatment is not ideal for everyone, a doctor’s diagnosis and advice is important before anything is done.