Does Male Menopause Exist & What Are the Signs?
By: Stephanie Kirby
Updated February 03, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Kay Adkins, LPC
When one thinks of menopause, they think of the female body. A woman can no longer get pregnant, she goes through hot flashes, and has many other bodily changes. We tend not to think of menopause in the male sense. However, some have argued that there is such a thing as male menopause. Does it exist? If so, what are the signs and treatment for it? Let's find out by diving into the world of male menopause.
What is Menopause?
In order to figure out what male menopause is, we should first look at what the definition of regular menopause is. Menopause is when your body produces less female sex hormones due to age. Most women will stop producing eggs and end up having irregular periods, soon having no periods at all. Some women may have night sweats, irritability, hot flashes, and other odd sensations, such as the decline in sex drive. Some women may experience no symptoms at all. Menopause typically happens during mid-40s to early 50s, with each experience being different.
So What Is Male Menopause?
Male menopause involves a man's hormone levels changing as one ages. It's also known as andropause. Testosterone levels go down, and me may experience different symptoms. Like female menopause, male menopause happens during middle age.
Testes produce testosterone and they serve many different purposes. It keeps sex drive strong, helps through the changes when puberty happens, gives both physical and mental energy, keeps muscles strong, and does a whole lot more.
Male menopause is much different from female menopause, however. It's much rarer and isn't experienced by every man. Also, a male's reproductive organs aren't completely shut down. Despite reduced reproduction loss, there are still many reasons why male menopause can be a problem, and we will discuss its symptoms.
There are several symptoms associated with male menopause symptoms may be related to mental, sexual, or physical, and will get worse if left untreated. The following are other symptoms that can impact daily functioning.
Lower Levels of Energy
No matter how much rest one gets, a man feels like it's not enough. Someone may attribute their low energy to aging, but it may be due to the fact that their testosterone levels are decreasing. If you are male and have lower energy, it may be pertinent to get a physical to see what may be the cause.
If one is experiencing chronic depression, or an increase in sadness, it could be because there are hormones are out of whack. Depression can definitely happen more as you grow older, and there may be many reasons as to why it's happening - from hormonal changes to life situations. Talk to someone to see what could be causing depression.
You Feel Less Motivated
Some people handle middle age as a way to be more motivated. With their time ticking away, it gives them a reason to find their dreams and run with them. However, someone with male menopause may be less motivated. They may think it's due to normal aging. However, it may be due to a drop in testosterone, and it can be treatable.
You Don't Feel as Confident
As individuals grow older, they may experience some confidence issues. However, if self-confidence has gone way down, it could be due to a lowering of testosterone. Always check with a doctor to see what the problem is.
You Can't Sleep
If you are having problems sleeping, it may be due to male menopause. Hormonal changes can create sleep disruptions. Seek out professional assistance if sleep disruptions persist.
Sudden Weight Gain
If there is an increase of body fat, it could be because of male menopause. Metabolism tends to go down in the aging process, but if body fat increase too fast, it could be due to male menopause. Again it's always worth speaking to a medical professional.
As testosterone decreases, muscle mass goes down as well. Individuals may feel weaker and have a sense of being less productive. This is okay. It could be a sign of male menopause. By treating it men will be able to maintain muscle integrity.
Some men may even notice that they start to develop breasts. This happens with fat increase and can happen because there is not enough testosterone production. Talk to a doctor to identify why there may be breast development. Breast reduction is possible for men with more testosterone. In some men, the breasts may feel swollen and tender, but this is rare.
Decreased Density in Bones
In some cases, men may experience frailer bones than usual. Testosterone keeps bones strong, and when there is a deficit in testosterone, bones can weaken. This means incidents of falling can damage bones easier.
As men grow older, it may be harder to maintain an erection, making it more difficult to have sex. There are many reasons for erectile dysfunction, and one of those reasons may be a decrease in testosterone. While there are pills that can treat erectile dysfunction, treating the root cause should be a top priority.
In other circumstances of male menopause, men may experience failure to ejaculate, most probably due to abnormalities in the libido. A myth is that older people have no sex, but this is not the case. If men are experiencing a low libido, it could be due to your male menopause.
Men who are trying to have kids and failing infertility may be permanent, or it could be reversed.
Body Hair Loss
As men grow older, it's normal to lose hair on the head, especially if there is a genetic predisposition. However, if the hair on the man's body is falling off, it could be due to low testosterone. It is important to find out way there is more hair loss than is typical.
Smaller Testicle Size
Some men may think they are imagining smaller testicles, but in many cases, male menopause can cause a man's testis to become smaller when there is lower testosterone due to this medical condition
Finally, men may have hot flashes just like a woman can with menopause. This is when someone suddenly feels warm with no other cause. It's not a fever, nor is it the temperature in the environment. Sweating my also occur. Some describe hot flashes as 'burning up from the inside out.'
These are the symptoms of male menopause. Individually or collectively, they could be symptoms of something else. Men who experience many of these symptoms may want to have their testosterone levels checked for male menopause.
Treating Male Menopause
What can men do if they suffer from male menopause? First, talk to a medical professional. Many men experience the symptoms listed above and often feel a sense of shame about their condition. It's important to know that these symptoms are not tied to a decrease in masculinity. There is no shame in wanting to treat these problems. This is normal and doing so may increase daily functioning and well-being.
Here are some ways men can increase testosterone:
Running, lifting weights, and doing more physical activity, in general, can increase testosterone levels and strength. Men with a sedentary lifestyle, may explain why your testosterone levels are low. Speaking to a doctor about increasing physical activities and exercise may help with increasing testosterone
A change in diet can increase testosterone levels, as well. Foods rich in protein may increase these levels. Changing the foods consumed or adding other nutrients may be helpful, not only for testosterone levels but may increase quality of life in other areas.
Sleeping more can increase testosterone levels.
Lower Your Stress Levels
Stress can make your testosterone go down dramatically. Treat your stress by handling your problems or speaking to a counselor on what you can do about your stress. If there is a cause for your stress, a counselor can teach you how you can handle it. If your stress is caused by something else, there may be ways to treat your stress, such as through meditation. Either way, you can find a therapist near you. There's no shame in seeking help for your problems, no matter how embarrassing you think they are.
One last resort is hormone replacement therapy. Adding testosterone to the body can treat male menopause. However, there may be multiple side effects. Those who have prostate cancer should not try it, as it can encourage the growth of the cancer cells.