Guys, let’s talk about male menopause.
Yes, you read that right. You’re probably scratching your head, thinking, “Isn’t menopause something women get?” Yes, but some men experience hormonal changes as they get older. However, it’s important to note that female menopause is a legitimate medical condition. Andropause, the term used to describe age-related hormone changes in men, is not a prescribed condition, says Dr. Steven Lamm, MD and medical director of the Preston Robert Tisch Center for Men’s Health.
“Every single woman on this planet is going to go through menopause,” he tells Men’s Health. “Not every man is going to go through andropause.”
But he explains that it’s not uncommon to hear guys refer to the symptoms related to andropause–like fatigue, depression, and decreased libido– as “male menopause.”
Here’s the lowdown about age-related hormonal changes in men:
What Is male menopause?
Simply put, male menopause is a collection of symptoms caused by a dip in testosterone. It makes sense that the term is used for guys in their 50s and upwards, since this is roughly around the same age that women get menopause, he says.
Symptoms include both physical and psychological issues, and can decrease a guy’s quality of life.
What are the symptoms of male menopause?
It goes without saying that not all men will experience the same complaints. However, Lamm explains it’s common for guys experiencing low testosterone to feel fatigued, making your normal workout routine extra challenging.
Some guys may not hit the gym at all, either because they feel too weak or depressed.
It’s fairly common for your sex life to take a hit, too, due to a decrease in libido, sexual performance, or both.
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How do you know if you have male menopause?
You’ll know something’s up when you’re not keeping up with your colleagues, says Lamm.
“A 50-year-old should be functioning at an extremely high level,” he says.
If you’re constantly tired or not getting regular erections, something could be awry.
How is male menopause treated?
Good news: You can usually treat or minimize the symptoms of male menopause. But first, you’ll need to have a series of blood tests to ensure you actually have low testosterone. Then, depending on the severity of the case and precise cause, your doctor may suggest testosterone replacement therapy or prescribe medications that stimulate testosterone production, says Lamm.
However, he advises guys carefully weigh their options before deciding on treatments.
“I think the key is not to jump on trying to get testosterone replacement,” he says.
A healthy diet, exercise, and medication to treat depression may also help men with low testosterone, according to WebMD.
For guys who want to keep their hormone levels high, Lamm advises creating a lifestyle that is conducive to healthy testosterone, which means eating plenty of vegetables, fruit, and whole grains, staying active, and not smoking.
(3/5/2019): This article was updated to include new information from Steven Lamm, MD and medical director of the Preston Robert Tisch Center.
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