Have you ever wondered if men go through male menopause, also known as andropause? You're not alone.
The short answer?
The long answer?
Definitely yes. It is just different from the traditional menopause women experience.
The hormones in men do change, and they can decrease with age and other factors, such as stress and obesity. The androgen hormone DHEA converts into testosterone, which then goes through a process called “aromatization” to become estrogen.
Men do need some estrogen. They also need a little bit of progesterone, just not at the same levels as females.
Progesterone levels tend to follow testosterone levels — but not always. If a man’s progesterone declines, he may experience mood swings such as depression, weight gain and lower libido.
When testosterone starts to plummet, he will notice lack of motivation, lack of desire for hobbies, act more irritable, have a lower sex drive, find difficulty with erections, lose muscle mass, and have foggy thinking. If that testosterone over-converts into estrogen, he’ll feel weepy and emotional, gain weight in the abdomen, and develop breasts.
These symptoms of hormone imbalance and decline can occur at any age, however the most common age for these to really stand out are at age 40 and older. The reason for this is that testosterone is thought to decrease by about 1% or more per year, starting around 30 years of age.
Therefore by the time a man hits his 50th birthday, his testosterone is down by about 20 percent. This process can be sped up through poor dietary choices, obesity, insulin problems, high stress over the long term, and certain medications.
It is well known and accepted that women go through menopause and as a result, there are thousands of books, websites, conferences, and educational pieces to help with this transition.
Andropause, on the other hand, is only recently starting to become understood and accepted. Men may not know to talk about this with their health care provider or realize the impact their stress and weight gain is having on their hormones.