What is the male menopause?
If we were to talk about ‘mid life crises’, ‘hot flushes’ and ‘mood swings’, most us would refer to the female menopause, few people would actually associate ‘mid life crises’ with men. As like the female menopause the male menopause is a collection of symptoms that result due to a decrease in the amount of a certain hormone or hormones in the body. The male hormone in question is testosterone.
What causes the male menopause?
Until recently the male menopause has been ignored as most men try and cope with life’s challenges without medical advice and guidance. Medics are now turning their attention to the ‘male menopause’ in the aim to make men aware of the changes their bodies encounter, as they get older.
As men get older there is a natural gradual decrease in their testosterone levels starting around the age of 30 and continuing throughout their life. There are some specific causes that can affect the body’s production of testosterone such as: mumps, hernias, cysts and other diseases that involve the testicles. Alcohol consumption, vasectomy and stress have also been associated with the male menopause.
What are the symptoms of the male menopause?
Men can experience noticeable chemical changes in their bodies around the age of 40 and 55, though changes can occur as early as 30 years old and as late as 65 years old. Symptoms can include: –
- Mood Swings
- Low self confidence
- Pains in joints
- Stiffness of limbs
- Brittle bones (osteoporosis)
- Decrease in sex drive (reduced libido)
- Increased tiredness
- Increased sweating, especially during the night
- Dry Skin
- Reduced exercise tolerance
Am I at risk?
There are approximately 20% of middle-aged men who have a reduced amount of testosterone levels in their body, as many men have never had a test to record the levels of testosterone this figure could actually be much higher.
How will the male menopause affect me?
Low testosterone levels can cause many health issues. Osteoporosis, which can lead to hip and spinal fractures, can occur due to low testosterone levels. High cholesterol levels, depression, anxiety, heart disease and concentration problems are all linked with low testosterone levels.
Is there any treatment available?
Men who are suffering from the male menopause can be treated with testosterone replacement therapy. Your doctor at your local health centre or well-man clinic will discuss what options are available to you. The therapy is given to normalise (increase) the amount of testosterone in the bloodstream. The medication can be given; orally, through skin patches or by injection.
What will happen after the treatment?
After taking testosterone replacement therapy the general well being of the patient should increase. Sexual desire should return. The chances of developing osteoporosis should decrease as the therapy reduces the amount of bone loss. Mood swings and depression should disappear and the patient is more likely to become a calmer and happier person.
How can I help myself?
The following is simple guide to staying healthy and how to prevent many of the symptoms associated with the male menopause: – Eat a healthy balanced diet – Stay as fit as possible – Take vitamin supplements (take only the recommended daily allowance, if in doubt ask your doctor or chemist for advice) – Have regular heath check ups – Try and keep stress and worry to a minimum.