Is There a Male Menopause?
Some men report experiencing signs of male menopause as they get older, but how much truth is there in this? Is there a male menopause? How can this be the case when men don’t menstruate?
Menopause occurs in women when their body’s oestrogen levels begin to decline, and men undergo hormonal changes of their own as they age.
Why Do Some Men Report Male Menopause Symptoms?
Between the ages of 30 and 40, men’s testosterone levels typically start to drop, but usually at a slow pace, which shouldn’t be enough to trigger the low mood, erectile dysfunction, weight gain and even hot flushes that men can report as signs of male menopause.
The name ‘andropause’ is sometimes given to this decline in testosterone, with levels of the hormone decreasing by around ten per cent each decade. Andropause symptoms can include loss of sex drive, weight gain, mood swings, hot flushes and loss of muscle mass - all of which can be menopause symptoms in women too.
However, lifestyle or psychological factors may also be behind the development of apparent male menopause symptoms, so men are advised to speak to their doctor if they are worried about any changes that are happening to their body or that are affecting them emotionally.
There are other factors that may trigger menopause-like symptoms in men too; for example, sudden hot flush-like feelings can affect some men who have previously undergone treatment for prostate cancer.
Although rare, some men suffer from the testosterone deficiency hypogonadism, which can be present from birth but can manifest itself more severely in later life, leading to what are regarded as male menopause symptoms. Men who are classed as obese or who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes may be at greater risk of late-onset hypogonadism.
Managing Male Menopause Symptoms
It can be hard for men to find advice and support for any physical and mental changes they experience, as male menopause is not recognised as something that affects all men; overall, it is believed that around 30 per cent of men in their 40s and 50s experience symptoms related to andropause, whereas all women go through menopause.
Despite this, men should always speak to their GP if they have any health-related concerns, while lifestyle changes such as eating more healthily and exercising more could help with midlife weight loss and potentially feelings of low mood too.
Spending time on self-care and looking into talking therapies to deal with feelings of stress, depression and anxiety that have come on in midlife could also help, getting men on their way to feeling how they used to once again.