Hormonal Changes? Maybe He Has Male Menopause!
If your emotional wellness isn’t all-that-great, people blame it on your hormones. If your male counterpart gets in a mood, on the other hand, it’s down to work stress, or money problems, or just one of those days. Right? Perhaps not. While ageing-related hormonal changes are known for affecting female sexual health in a condition called menopause, an increasing amount of evidence points to a similar hormonal change in men. The term “male menopause” may not be entirely accurate, but it still makes the right point: much in the same way that your oestrogen levels drop after a certain age, your partner’s testosterone levels will decrease, and this will have an impact on his wellbeing.
For the male version of age-related hormonal changes, many doctors prefer the term “andropause.” The reason for this is testosterone is also known as androgen and, as we’ve already covered, andropause and menopause have quite a few differences, and so it would be misleading to call it “male menopause.” Menopause is a uniquely female condition, signalling the end of menstruation and all that this process entails. Suddenly and dramatically, your oestrogen decreases and you are unable to conceive a child. In andropause, however, men do not lose their ability to reproduce. Although sperm count in semen can decrease with age, sperm production doesn’t stop and men in their 80s have been known to father children. Moreover, the hormonal decrease involved in andropause is very gradual, with most men losing 1% per year starting around age 35.
That said, there are many similarities between andropause and menopause. While the condition doesn’t affect all men, the natural decrease in testosterone that comes with ageing has an impact on the vast majoring, including about 25 million men in the United States alone. Then you have remarkably similar symptoms to those you experience during menopause, such as moodiness, fatigue, weight gain, depression, decreased sex drive, decreased muscle mass and bone loss. However, even though these symptoms can be quite pronounced, andropause is still somewhat difficult to diagnose. Many mistake andropause for a midlife crisis or erectile dysfunction (ED). Nonetheless, a midlife crisis is a psychological phenomenon, rather than a physical one, and ED occurs when communication between particular nerves, arteries and muscles breaks down, as opposed to the slow, natural decrease in testosterone that characterises andropause.
Therefore, your partner needs to take a trip to the doctor in order to determine whether his symptoms are related to andropause or to some other condition. There is a test for decreased hormone levels in spite of the fact that andropause is a somewhat hazy diagnosis. Your partner’s GP will perform a blood testosterone test if your partner shows up with symptoms like irritability, fatigue and decreased libido. Andropause is basically low testosterone, and so while there are other changes in male sexual systems that occur with ageing – like prostate enlargement – andropause is mostly the result of a gradual decrease in testosterone over many years.
With that in mind, the obvious choice for treating andropause seems to be the addition of testosterone, and thistreatment is certainly becoming more common. Just as women have hormone replacement therapy (HRT), men can use testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) through injections, creams or oral tablets. The goal of TRT is to get your partner’s testosterone back up to a normal level, but it’s not always that simple. You may already know that HRT has been found to bring on some serious side effects in women – such as triggering certain types of breast cancer – and, in a similar way, TRT has its dangers. Therefore, before trying TRT – which can cause prostate cancer, stop sperm production and increase your partner’s risk of stroke – your partner’s doctor will first advise lifestyle changes, such as exercise, a healthier diet and the elimination of alcohol.