What Exactly Is Menopause?
While the very existence of male menopause is still under debate, researchers do tend to agree that male menopause – or andropause, as it’s officially known – is different from female menopause.
Menopause is the time in a woman’s life when her body produces less estrogen and progesterone. It usually starts sometime between the ages of 45 and 55.
Menstrual periods come less often, and women often experience symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings and decreased interest in sex.
Eventually, a woman’s periods stop coming altogether and she can no longer become pregnant. This is when menopause is officially considered over.
Two significant differences separate this from male menopause
First, not every man has symptoms of male menopause – while every woman will go through the experience.
Second, the decrease in testosterone in men starts relatively young and takes place more slowly, over decades. Meanwhile women tend to go through menopause starting later in life, and finishing up in a few years.
So while you might feel your body changing, it’s never been proven that male menopause actually exists…
The Arguments for Male Menopause
The primary argument in favor of male menopause is based around the symptoms many men report. Many men deal with symptoms that are almost identical to common, accepted symptoms of female menopause, like…
- Hot flashes…
- Excessive sweating…
- Decreased sex drive…
These symptoms tend to show up later in life for men and, some doctors are reporting patients who exhibit these symptoms are finding relief once they start a hormone replacement regime.
Given that most men in the 70s have at least 40% less testosterone than they did in their 30s, it’s easy to draw the conclusion that the decreased hormones led to the symptoms.
But does that mean men really go through menopause?
The Arguments against Male Menopause
The primary argument against the existence of andropause is one of the reasons male menopause is accepted to be different than female menopause – if men really did go through menopause, every man would experience the symptoms, not just some men.
Some people believe that if male menopause was real, it could be monitored and tracked by doctors, the same way female menopause is.
The other main argument against male menopause is that most of the symptoms can be caused by underlying conditions that have nothing to do with hormone levels.
Many things – an old-fashioned mid-life crisis, a poorly functioning thyroid, alcohol consumption, even lack of sleep, and more – can cause every one of the male menopause symptoms.
Either Way, The Symptoms are Real
Bottom line is this – whether men go through menopause or not, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should talk to your doctor.
You may indeed have decreased levels of testosterone, at which point you can discuss options for testosterone treatments or supplements. And even if you don’t, you’re still feeling this way for a reason.
Be honest with your doctor – and with yourself. Get a thorough check up to rule out another underlying medical condition.
Make healthy choices by eating well, drinking a little less, and getting exercise, which can help with mood and sleeplessness. Shake up your routine and try something new, which can help with depression and confidence.
So, do men go through menopause? It seems no one is quite sure. But does a label really matter all that much? Whether you call it menopause or not, talk to your doctor, deal with your symptoms, take care of yourself, and find out how to feel better.