Male “Menopause”: Myths, Symptoms, and Strategies
Age-related hormone decline has long been thought of as something that only women experience. However, men also suffer from hormone decline as they get older.
While sometimes called male menopause, the accurate term for age-related hormone decline in men is “andropause”.
Andropause is primarily caused by the gradual loss of testosterone production as men age. This decline typically begins when men are in their late 20s or early 30s, with most men experiencing pronounced symptoms by the time they reach their 40s and beyond.
Unlike the symptoms of menopause that women often experience, awareness about andropause and the symptoms it causes is comparatively lower in the general population, and within mainstream healthcare for that matter.
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a real condition that has real and profound impacts on the mental, physical, and emotional well-being of men.
Symptoms of Andropause
Andropause is characterized by a combination of symptoms, including:
- Low Sex Drive :
Many men will notice a decline in their sex drive as their testosterone levels drop. Often, as testosterone declines, estrogen levels will simultaneously increase. Too much estrogen can also reduce libido. This means that having low testosterone and elevated estrogen is like a double whammy when it comes to a man’s sex drive.
Feeling tired, lethargic, and generally unmotivated are common andropause symptoms. Elevated estrogen can also cause fatigue.
- Mood changes:
Irritability, depression, anxiety, and mood swings are common in men with low testosterone. Men who struggle with any of these issues when younger may find that their symptoms are exacerbated when testosterone levels begin to drop. Elevated estrogen can also cause or exacerbate depression and mood swings.
- Loss of muscle mass and strength:
Testosterone plays an important role in a man’s ability to build and maintain lean muscle mass. As a result, when testosterone declines, muscle mass and strength tend to decline with it.
- Weight gain:
The changes in metabolism and decreased muscle mass that occur when testosterone levels are sub-optimal often result in weight gain, especially around the abdomen. Elevated estrogen is another culprit when it comes to stubborn belly fat. This is because fat around the midsection contains high concentrations of the enzyme that causes testosterone to be converted to estrogen.
Low testosterone often goes hand-in-hand with sleep issues. This can mean trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, or poor sleep quality. Men who have struggled with insomnia when younger may find that their symptoms worsen as testosterone levels fall. Men who have low testosterone are also at a higher risk for having their sleep disturbed by sleep apnea.
- Erectile dysfunction:
While erectile dysfunction has many causes, low testosterone is one of them. And once again, elevated estrogen can make matters worse.
Myths About Andropause
Like many medical conditions, there are some myths associated with andropause. These include:
That Male “Menopause” Doesn’t Exist
Men and women both experience hormonal changes as they age.
While women lose most of their progesterone and estrogen production relatively quickly during their 40s and 50s, men’s production of testosterone
declines more gradually over a longer period of time.
However, because andropause happens more gradually than menopause does not mean that it doesn’t exist.
Male Menopause Is Like Female Menopause
While there are many similarities between menopause and andropause—particularly when it comes to symptoms experienced—the two aren’t the same. Different hormones are impacted in different ways and at different rates.
Coping Strategies and Treatment
Andropause will happen to every man eventually. No one escapes it. However, that doesn’t mean that men have to live with andropause and its symptoms. Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) can balance testosterone and estrogen to optimal levels for symptom relief and better overall health.
It is, however, important that TRT be prescribed and overseen by a provider with expertise in TRT. That’s where Renew Youth comes in.
Renew Youth has been helping men to feel their best via physician-supervised TRT since 1999. Would you like to learn more about TRT for men? Call us at 800-859-7511 or use our contact form to set up your free 30-minute consultation.