Male Menopause- “Manopause”
Menopause has always been known as female phenomenon. Women enter menopause when their menstrual cycle comes to an end and their reproductive systems stop working. This usually happens around age 51 and is accompanied by rapid decrease in the “female hormone” estrogen which is responsible for menopausal symptoms.
As men start to age they have a decrease in the “male hormone” testosterone and eventually reach a stage some refer to as andropause or “manopause”. In fact men, after the age of 30, the average man loses 1% of their testosterone a year. By the time men reach middle age, some of them have experienced so much testosterone loss that they experience many of the same symptoms as women in menopause. These include:
Hot flashes- The dreaded hot flash, the hallmark of menopausal symptoms. Well men experience it too as a result of lost testosterone. Although this is not as common of a symptom as it is with menopause.
Night sweats- Where there are hot flashes there are night sweats, so men and women can wash their sheet, together.
Mood swings- Another common symptom of menopause that both men and women can enjoy together.
Lack of libido- in women it can be a result of result of vaginal dryness, in men it is in the form of lack of libido or impotence.
Other symptoms include: depression, fatigue, decreased bone density, loss of hair.
Many argue that male menopause is not a real thing because men do not have a defined period where they lose the ability to reproduce like in women. In fact they can produce sperm well into old age. While this is a good point, there is still a large percent of men (some say thirty percent by the age of 50) that have inadequate testosterone and experience symptoms because of it so it’s not a trivial matter
Another important parallel is that men treat andropause with hormone replacement therapy just as women do. However, just as hormone therapy may increase the risk of breast cancer in women, it may increase the risk of prostate cancer in men, thus, lifestyle changes such as increased exercise should probably be the first course of action.
One of the important things to note here is that just as women expect sympathy for symptoms associated with a loss of estrogen, women too must be aware and sensitive of changes and symptoms that happen in men as a result of decreased testosterone. On the flip side, women should not be the only ones that are accused of erratic and irrational behavior as a result of hormones; they disrupt men’s moods as well and it is not an exclusively female thing!