Male menopause, also called andropause, is used to describe reduced levels of testosterone that a lot of men experience as they get older. This is different from the female menopause in several ways.
In women, menopause brings an end to ovulation and a relatively short period of increased hormone production. In men, production of testosterone and other hormones steadily decreases over a period of many years.
Andropause can cause a number of physical, sexual and psychological symptoms, some of which can be serious. This is because besides fueling a man’s sex drive, the hormone testosterone performs other important functions in the body. A decline of this hormone therefore would necessarily produce some effects in the body.
Some of the symptoms of andropause include:
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
- Increased body fat
- Reduced libido
- Decreased motivation
- Low energy
- Feelings of physical weakness
- Decreased testicle size
- Development of breasts or swollen and tender breasts
Most men who experience these symptoms find it hard to speak with their doctor and their spouse about it. Decreased testosterone levels is a normal part of aging and one that most men would experience. It is therefore not a thing to be ashamed about.
Some men can manage these symptoms without treatment but some may need to be treated, not because they are weaker than those who do not need treatment but simply because they just need a little help.
The most common form of treatment for andropause is lifestyle changes. Antidepressants and psychotherapy can also be described if depression is present.