Male Menopause: Does It Exist? The Debate, Signs, And How To Cope

Medically reviewed by Paige Henry, LMSW, J.D.
Updated February 20, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

For many people, menopause can be a transformative stage of life. People assigned female at birth (AFAB) typically experience menopause, the end of their reproductive years, around age 50, although the transition to menopause tends to begin in the mid-40s. 

While menopause may be nearly universal among people with female reproductive systems, attention has shifted to the concept of “male menopause” in recent years. 

Unsure whether the symptoms of male menopause are real?

About male menopause

Male menopause, also called andropause, is a phase when levels of testosterone decrease in people assigned male at birth (AMAB). This reduction in testosterone can be much more gradual than reductions in estrogen in people who experience menopause, leading some healthcare providers to debate whether male menopause is a “real” event. 

This article discusses the debate surrounding male menopause, key signs that may be associated with this stage of life, plus five strategies to cope with male menopause and other potential effects of reproductive aging.

Is male menopause real? 

This article refers to people assigned male and female at birth as “men” and “women.” Assigned sex refers to reproductive organs and biological functions derived from chromosomes. This term recognizes the difference between sex and gender, which relates to identity and gender presentation. Biology can potentially impact specific health conditions, such as menopause or andropause.

Research suggests male menopause, also called andropause, is real, though health professionals and their patients may use different terms to describe the condition and its symptoms. 

Men and other people with male reproductive systems experience hormonal changes as they age, particularly when they reach their late 40s and early 50s. While testosterone levels fall as men age, this change may be gradual, with about a 1% yearly decline compared to female menopause, when estrogen production declines rapidly. 

Consequently, some healthcare providers find the term “male menopause” unhelpful, as it disregards the rate of hormonal changes experienced among men in middle age. More accurate names for male menopause may include: 

  • Age-related low testosterone
  • Male hypogonadism: a condition in which the body does not produce enough testosterone due to decreased activity of the gonads (testes). This condition is also called androgen deficiency, which is more broadly characterized by lower levels of male sex hormones (androgens), or testosterone than are needed for good health.

In the case of male hypogonadism or androgen deficiency, low testosterone is not age-related but instead the result of a condition where the testicles do not produce enough testosterone.

Signs of male menopause

Because age-related changes in testosterone levels typically happen over many years or decades, some men won’t notice any signs of male menopause. 

In other cases, however, an unusually low level of testosterone could lead to the following symptoms: 

  • Decreased libido (sex drive) and infertility
  • Depression, fatigue, and insomnia
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Increases in or redistribution of body fat
  • Loss of muscle mass and bone density

These symptoms may also indicate another physical or mental health condition, so working closely with a doctor can help to rule out any other potential factors.

How to cope with male menopause

Depending on which doctor you consult and your specific symptoms, you may encounter different opinions and names for male menopause. Regardless of how you label your experiences, your symptoms deserve proper care and treatment. 

The following five strategies can help you manage age-related changes in male sex hormones, become more connected to your body, and improve your mental health.

1. Get a blood test

If you’re experiencing the symptoms of male menopause, your doctor will likely order a blood test to confirm if you have low testosterone. Typically, they’ll assess the following levels: 

  • Total testosterone levels
  • Luteinizing hormone (LH) levels, which can help determine if anything within the pituitary gland is causing the low testosterone
  • Prolactin levels, as high prolactin can indicate pituitary gland complications or tumors

This article is not a substitute for medical advice. Consult your doctor for guidance on the best blood tests for your symptoms.


2. Prioritize a healthy lifestyle

As you age into menopause and beyond, most doctors and mental health professionals may emphasize the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

“Health” is a broad concept with various meanings for different people. Beyond eating and exercising for your body, consider what health means to you as you enter your next life stage.

For most people, healthy aging is a continuous process prioritizing physical and mental health, independence, and quality of life. In addition to the physical aspects of health, consider how you can integrate the emotional, social, and spiritual dimensions of health into your daily life and self-care routine. Some potential activities may include:

  • Regular meetings with friends can help build and maintain your sense of community
  • Doing something you love every day, whether it’s dancing, gardening, or watching an episode of your favorite TV show
  • Spending time outside
  • Relaxing activities like yoga, meditation, or just taking a nap

Any of these activities can be adapted to the demands of your schedule and your physical and emotional needs. Aging may be continuous, but healthy aging can be flexible, rewarding, and fun. 

3. Join a support group

Both online and in-person, many people find solace and hope in support groups for male menopause, low testosterone, and other age-related challenges. You can look for these groups through an online search or social media. You may also ask your doctor or therapist for recommendations. 

If you prefer face-to-face interactions, many hospitals and community clinics run support groups for people with various needs. Whatever the format, these groups can provide strong social support and connection to people with similar values and goals.

The long-term effects of social support can be plentiful and potentially life-changing. When you give and receive support from others, research suggests the exchange can improve your self-esteem, resilience, and immunity. It can also reduce the risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and age-related cognitive disorders.

4. Learn more about treatments for low testosterone

If you’re experiencing male menopause or other causes of low testosterone, there are several treatments for your symptoms. Your doctor may walk you through a personal treatment plan, but some common options include:

  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT): HRT is often delivered as an injection or gel to people with testosterone deficiency. 
  • While HRT can relieve loss of sex drive, fatigue, depression, and other symptoms, replacing testosterone may worsen prostate cancer and increase the risk of heart disease. Before beginning any treatment, consult your doctor for guidance. 
  • Psychotherapy and medications: A combination of talk therapy and, if necessary, psychiatric medication can reduce stress and anxiety and help you manage mental health conditions that may exacerbate the symptoms of male menopause.
  • Lifestyle changes: This can include regularly eating and exercising for your body, but also having fun and spending quality time with loved ones.
Unsure whether the symptoms of male menopause are real?

5. Consider meeting with an online therapist for extra support

Many people experience age-related changes in their hormones and other areas of life, including their careers, relationships, hobbies, and goals for the future. Wherever you find yourself in this stage of life, a professional therapist can be a source of comfort as you navigate the challenges and rewards of aging. 

While some prefer in-person therapy, many patients invest in their mental health from the comfort of their homes. Using an online platform like BetterHelp, you can match with a licensed therapist within as little as 48 hours of completing a brief questionnaire to assess your mental health needs and goals. BetterHelp therapists have at least three years of professional experience and extensive training, and they can guide you through male menopause and other aspects of mindful aging with empathy and expertise. 

Several studies show that online therapy can be as effective as face-to-face options, including a 2022 study of the relationship between patient age and online or “telepsychiatric” care. Compared to younger adults, the researchers found that older patients had similar improvement in the severity of their depression symptoms after receiving treatment through an online health platform. This research indicates that age is not a barrier to benefiting from online therapy but an opportunity to make therapy more available to people of all ages and backgrounds.


If you’re entering your final reproductive years, you may be concerned about the potential hormonal shifts, physical changes, and other signs of male menopause that may develop in this stage of life. 

Many of these age-related changes are gradual and can be managed with proactive lifestyle choices coupled with the support of a licensed therapist. With a mental health professional at your side (or guiding you through the screen), you can define and fully embrace what “healthy aging” means to you. Take the first step with BetterHelp.

Understand how menopause impacts the body and mind
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