Male Menopause

There has been a lot of controversy about it in the past and no one can confirm or deny it but there is some strong evidence that men may also have changing hormones that are linked to menopause, just like women in peri menopause and menopause. Some doctors that were giving their male patients hormone replacement therapy for other reasons claimed that their patients found some relief to these symptoms of “male menopause.”

There is no technical label for male menopause so when men come to the doctor complaining of menopause related symptoms the doctors usually call it a testosterone decline and contribute it to the aging male. Men do experience a decline in the production of the male hormone testosterone with aging, but this also occurs with some disease states such as diabetes. The symptoms associated with this decline in testosterone are fatigue, weakness, depression, and sexual problems. The relationship of these symptoms to the decreased testosterone levels is still controversial.

With women, menopause represents a well-defined period in which hormone production stops completely, male hormone (testosterone) decline is a slower process. The testes, unlike the ovary, do not run out of the substance it needs to make testosterone. A healthy male may be able to make sperm well into his eighties or longer.

Minor changes can be seen in men as early as 45-50 years of age and much more commonly in men around the age of 70. To make the diagnosis, the doctor will perform a physical exam and ask about symptoms. He may order other diagnostic tests to rule out any medical problems that may be contributing to the condition. The doctor will then order a series of blood tests which may include several hormone levels, including a blood testosterone level.

If it is discovered that the testosterone levels are low, testosterone replacement therapy may help relieve such symptoms as loss of interest in sex (decreased libido), depression, and fatigue. Testosterone replacement therapy in men does have some potential risks and side effects. Replacing testosterone may worsen prostate cancer. Sometimes a doctor may also recommend certain lifestyle changes, such as a new diet or exercise program, or other medications, such as an antidepressant, to help with some of the symptoms of male menopause. While it is clear that there is no clear cut definition of male menopause, it is certain that many men do experience certain symptoms that are associated with it.