When we talk about middle age as a society, it’s generally accepted that women hit menopause and that men might have a mid-life crisis. But what if men are not just having some kind of breakdown where they question their past choices and their future? What if these men are having their own form of menopause?
It’s time to talk more about male “menopause” and the symptoms men could experience from it, including difficult emotional symptoms. Men are often expected to bottle their emotions, so emotional changes could be particularly hard for them to navigate.
Plus, women are used to dealing with hormonal changes throughout their lives, but men may not be as equipped to do so. Let’s address male “menopause” – what it is, what the symptoms are and how to navigate it.
What Is Male “Menopause”?
Male “menopause” – or Andropause as it is more accurately called – is not quite the same as it is for women, aside from the obvious differences. That’s because all women with normal functioning go through a sudden and significant reduction of sex hormones, whereas not all men experience symptoms of andropause.
Also, women’s reproductive function ends with menopause, whereas men can continue to produce sperm. Some refer to andropause as testosterone deficiency syndrome, but this is not completely accurate since testosterone is not the only hormone that is deficient. It is often thyroid hormone, human growth hormone, DHEA, and other key hormones that contribute to the symptoms of andropause.
Nonetheless, andropause is similar to female menopause because they both affect sex hormones. In men, andropause can happen at any age, but generally beginning as early as a man’s early 30s, when the levels of testosterone, growth hormone, thyroid hormone or others decrease. Men have a more gradual reduction in hormone levels compared to women’s quick decline during menopause.
Mental Health Symptoms of Andropause
If you’ve heard of this problem, you’ve probably heard of the physical and sexual symptoms like reduced energy levels, increased body fat and reduced muscle mass, and erectile dysfunction. Of course, these are serious and difficult aspects of andropause. Yet there are other symptoms that men don’t generally want to talk about. These are the emotional symptoms of andropause.
First of all, it would be normal for a man to react emotionally to the physical and sexual changes he goes through. For instance, it can be difficult to have trouble getting and staying hard and to have a reduction in the quality and amount of ejaculate.
Yet at the same time, he could experience sadness, depression, and trouble concentrating. He might lose his mental edge, finding it hard to remember names and information. It might become harder for him to keep up with the younger men at work. On top of having trouble performing sexually, he might have less interest in sex, to begin with. He could feel less motivated and have less self-confidence.
How Can Andropause Be Treated?
Men are not usually encouraged to talk about their feelings and emotions they’re experiencing. Yet it doesn’t help to ignore them. When a man’s testosterone goes down, he can have trouble handling changing emotions. It’s worth addressing the problem when it’s getting in the way of your health, happiness, and productivity.
And doctors are used to hearing about it. While you might not want to say anything, it’s likely that some of your friends and colleagues are going through the same thing. After all, statistics show that it happens in 2-5% of men from 40 to 49, 6-30% from 50 to 59, and 20-45% from 60 to 69. After that it becomes extremely common, affecting as many as 70% from age 70 to 79 and up to 90% of men in their 80s.
And while andropause might not be quite the same as female menopause, there are still plenty of available ways to manage and treat it. Lifestyle changes like creating healthier sleep, exercise and diet help manage the symptoms of andropause. Finding ways to reduce stress can also have a positive impact. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is an excellent treatment option and should be overseen by a physician who specializes in Age Management & Hormone Optimization.
Andropause comes with many changes that can affect your virility, your health, and your productivity, which means it can impact your personal relationships, your work and how you feel. It’s worth talking to a specialist so you can minimize the negative emotional impact that these changes can bring. Optimizing your hormones can help you to continue to live life to the fullest with the highest quality of life possible for you.
If you’re interested in learning more about our comprehensive Age Management & Hormone Optimization program, contact us through this form to schedule your free consultation, or call us at 323-874-9355.