Women may not be the only ones who suffer the effects of changing hormones.
Sometimes called male menopause or andropause, doctors are noticing that male patients are reporting similar symptoms that women experience during menopause.
Andropause is a medical condition caused by low testosterone levels in men. Older men tend to have lower testosterone levels than younger men. On average, male testosterone levels gradually decline about one percent a year after age 30. By age 70, the decrease in a man's testosterone level can be as much as 50 percent.
When does the male biological start ticking? All men experience the symptoms of andropause to some extent in their 40s and beyond. Andropause in men is similar to menopause in women, except the symptoms of andropause (and the intensity of those symptoms) can vary greatly. It is estimated that at least 95 percent of men in their fifties experience the symptoms of andropause.
Symptoms of Andropause include:
• Sweating and hot flashes
• Decreased libido
• Poor concentration and memory
• Decreased muscle mass
• Sleep disturbance
• Body fat gain, particularly abdominal weight gain
• Aches and pains
• Loss of height
The medical community is currently debating whether or not men really do go through a well-defined menopause. However, andropause is a real condition and it can be treated. Doctors say that male patients receiving hormone therapy with testosterone have reported relief of some of the symptoms associated with so-called male menopause.
It's important to have a thorough medical evaluation before attributing low testosterone to normal aging. Left untreated, various medical conditions (such as obstructive sleep apnea) may decrease testosterone levels.
Men often do not seek treatment for andropause. A lot of men feel uncomfortable speaking about their symptoms and, in the past, doctors haven't taken men's menopause seriously. Signs of menopause in men can also be difficult to diagnose. Thanks to new studies, though, doctors have become more aware of this problem and are beginning to realize the importance of treatment.