May 16, 2011

No Myth: Menopause For Men

Old Man Walking and Menopause For Men
Image by bitzcelt via Flickr

Hey there, mister! Why that sullen face, why so irritable? Do you feel like you’ve lost your confidence and zest in life? Do you carry this sinking feeling that your time is running out? Do you often feel nervous, anxious or fearful over something? Do you have trouble sleeping at night due to hit flushes and night sweats? You could be going through menopause for men.

Andropause – The Menopause For Men

Yes! There is a male version of menopause. Some call it midlife crisis but it is actually called andropause. Men in their 40’s or 50’s go through hormonal shifts that upset their mood, temperament and sexuality and these changes could make an impact on their life socially, psychologically, mentally and spiritually. Some start early at 35 or late at 65.

The Hormonal Shift

Middle-aged men, like middle-aged women, also go through hormonal shifts that lead to andropause. However, menopause and andropause have their differences. In andropause, a decline in the levels of testosterone, dihydroepiandosterone (DHEA), thyroid, and human growth hormone (HGH) and an increase in estrogen level characterize these hormonal reordering. It is vital to maintain the balance of the levels of testosterone and estrogen. Although estrogen is helpful in preventing osteoporosis and prostate cancer in men, it is crucial to keep the concentration of this hormone lower than that of testosterone. However, a number of men have greater estrogen than testosterone levels when they reach their 50’s.

Symptoms of Menopause For Men

Some men are lucky to be spared from these life-altering symptoms and simply proceed with the second phase of their lives unaffected. However, some others go through a rough time during these hormonal changes and symptoms. These include irritability, forgetfulness and lack of focus, indecisiveness, loss of self-confidence and interest or depression, joint aches, a decrease in libido, feeling fat and weight gain, prolonged recovery time from injury or sickness, increased or reduced energy levels and many others. With help and understanding from loved ones, these men can find a renewed direction and a new way of leading the next phase of their lives.

Detecting Menopause For Men

A number of tests can be done to diagnose andropause, including a complete blood count and chemistry profile, free and complete testosterone, estradiol, progesterone, luteinizing hormone, DHEA and homocysteine. Levels of DHEA, testosterone and estrogen can also be gauged through a saliva test.

Treating Menopause For Men

Testosterone replacement therapy can help address the declining levels of testosterone in andropause and could improve symptoms like fatigue, decreased libido and depression. However, potential risks of the treatment must be weighed against the benefits. For instance, testosterone replacement could exacerbate prostate cancer. Consult your doctor to help you decide if it is appropriate for your case. You may also consider lifestyle modification, such as a new diet, and an exercise plan, to address some symptoms of andropause.

Menopause in men is not a myth; in fact, it is a condition that must be understood by loved ones and must be addressed to help men easily go through the next phase in their lives.

See related articles.

“Symptoms of Male Menopause”

“There’s More Than One Male Menopause Symptom”

“Male Menopause Symptoms”

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Dr. Joe Jacko

Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio at Grandview Primary Care. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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