Male menopause may sound like a gimmick, but it exists. Named Andropause, it is caused by a decrease in testosterone levels in men, just like menopause is caused by a decrease in estrogen and progesterone levels in women.
Andropause (male menopause) and menopause are both caused by a drop in hormone levels, and both affect men and women in their 40s and 50s. However, men may start experiencing the symptoms of andropause in their late 20s, when testosterone levels begin to decline. In contrast, menopause symptoms usually start in women in the early to mid-forties and menopause occurs when women stop menstruating, which occurs when women are around 51 years old.
Men and women experience many of the same symptoms during andropause and menopause, although the symptoms of andropause are generally much less intense and less noticeable. The symptoms shared among men and women are listed below.
Symptoms Common in Both Andropause and Menopause:
– Hot flashes–a sudden sensation of intense heat
– Decreased sex drive
– Memory problems
– Muscle and joint aches
– Mood swings
How Estrogen Levels Affect Andropause:
Like menopause, andropause is related to estrogen levels. While menopause is caused by a decrease in estrogen levels in women, men may experience an increase in estrogen levels during andropause.
Maintaining a healthy balance of estrogen is important in men. Small quantities of estrogen helps improve brain function, protect the heart, maintain strong bones, and increase male sex drive. However, men may experience a spike in estrogen levels during andropause, causing negative side effects.
For example, high estrogen levels can reduce sex drive and cause fatigue, loss of muscle tone, and increased body fat (especially around the middle). Excess estrogen can also reduce levels of testosterone, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. To prevent testosterone from converting to estrogen, some men are treated with an estrogen blocker.
Andropause Affects Men in Less Noticeable Ways:
Andropause can affect the way men feel about themselves on a daily basis. Men with andropause have reported feeling more irritable and depressed, less motivated, and more fatigued.
In the past, people have attributed male menopause symptoms to the midlife crisis, depression, or aging, but low testosterone levels can affect a mans mood and his sense of well-being. Low testosterone levels can also decrease energy levels and cause insomnia.
The symptoms of andropause vary from man to man, and many of the symptoms may go unnoticed for years. To help you identify andropause, the most common symptoms of andropause are listed below:
Symptoms of Andropause:
– Body fat gain, particularly abdominal weight gain
– Decrease sex drive and inability to achieve or maintain an erection
– Reduced motivation (depression)
– Nervousness, anxiety, and irritability
– Poor sleep quality or insomnia
Now that you better understand male menopause (andropause), it is your responsibility to raise awareness. The next time you hear about andropause in conversation, remember the information youve just learned. Most importantly, if you think you have the male andropause symptoms, take action. Contact professionals that specialize in low testosterone treatment as a method of treating andropause. The sooner you speak with a physician and get checked for low testosterone levels, the sooner you can begin feeling like yourself again.