Is Male Menopause Something to Worry About?

Everyone ages, and with this they experience hormonal changes which lead to numerous bodily changes. Where women experience dramatic hormone shifts, thought, men experience theirs more gradually over a period of many years. This has been coined as the ‘male menopause’, which is something of a myth but refers to genuine hormonal changes which men may notice as they age. The term usually refers to the decline in testosterone levels, or the reduction in the bioavailability of this hormone in relation to ageing. However, it is important to recognise that the female and male menopauses are very different processes. In women, the hormones plummet dramatically, but men suffer far less intense shifts. Most doctors prefer to use the term andropause, as this better describes the age-related changes in male patients. Of course, everyone is different, and testosterone levels vary from man to man. Older men, though, have lower levels than younger men. As you age, the testosterone levels decline by around one percent each year after the age of 30. By the age of 70, they can have declined by as much as 50 percent.


You can spot the symptoms of a low testosterone levels in the body with a variety of symptoms. Your sexual function may be affected, including erectile dysfunction or fewer spontaneous erections. Some men notice that there are changes to their sleep patterns, leading to insomnia or increased sleepiness. Physically, men sometimes complain of an increase in body fat, reduced muscle and strength, and decrease bone density. There may even be a loss of body hair and swollen or tender breasts, which is known as gynecomastia. Much like women experience in menopause (thought far rarer in men) you may have hot flushes, and less energy. Lastly, hormones affect our emotions so it’s natural that with a shift in the levels, you may notice some emotional changes. This might lead to a decrease in self confidence, feelings of sadness or depression, or trouble concentrating. These are all natural processes with age, but some may be an underlying issue relating to a separate health problem – it’s worth speaking to your GP who can advise why you’re experiencing certain symptoms. You should be honest with your GP – work with them to identify any health issues which may be contributing to how you’re feeling, so that they can determine what the best course of treatment is. Don’t keep any information back, even if you think it isn’t related – it may help with your diagnosis.


You should also choose healthy lifestyle choices, such as more exercise and a better diet. Your lifestyle can help you to maintain energy and lean muscle mass, as well as building strength. Regular exercise can also affect your mood, balancing out any emotional problems you’ve been experiencing as a result in the testosterone shift. If you’re feeling down regularly, speak to someone about it – you may be suffering with depression, which can make you irritable, isolated and withdrawn. These are issues which are best dealt with early, before they develop and become harder to treat. Therefore, if you’re noticing that you’re feeling lonely or withdrawn more than usual, you should consult your GP who can refer you to a counsellor if need be, or prescribe medication to combat the issue. There is a lot of controversy surrounding the treatment of testosterone replacement therapy, as the benefits aren’t clear, particularly for older men. It could potentially increase the risk of prostate cancer and lead to other health problems. It’s best to speak to your GP to ascertain if it is the right choice for you.

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