Like women, men see their sex hormone levels drop as they get older. Sometimes, this process is called male menopause or andropause, but it differs greatly from female menopause.
Doctors may use other terms to describe this process, such as testosterone deficiency syndrome, androgen deficiency, and late-onset male hypogonadism. (Hypogonadism is another name for low testosterone.)
A man’s testosterone levels start to decrease around 1% each year around age 30. The process is gradual, and his fertility is not always affected. Men may still father children into old age.
In contrast, the decline in estrogen production during female menopause takes place in a much shorter time span. After menopause, women are no longer able to have children.
When men’s testosterone levels fall, they might experience some of these symptoms:
- Diminished libido
- Erectile dysfunction
- Depression, feeling less motivated
- Mood swings
- Sleep problems
- Decreased muscle mass
- Decreased bone density
- Development of breasts
Not all men have symptoms, however.
Men who do have symptoms should see their doctor. While the cause could be age-related, other health conditions could be involved, such as thyroid issues, medication side effects, or obstructive sleep apnea. It’s important to have a thorough physical exam.
Often, symptoms can be alleviated by making lifestyle changes, like eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and reducing stress levels. If problems are caused by medications, adjusting the drug type or dosage might help.
In other cases, doctors might prescribe testosterone replacement therapy.
To learn more, please see the following links:
See the complete Low Testosterone Q & A here.
Lipschitz, David, MD
“Is there such a thing as the male menopause?”
(October 3, 2017)
“What Is Male Menopause?”
(Reviewed: March 8, 2016)
“Male menopause: Myth or reality?”
(May 18, 2017)
(January 14, 2017)