What Exactly is Male Menopause?
Male menopause (aka: andropause, aka: late-onset hypogonadism) refers predominantly to the natural slow decline of the testosterone hormone in males over their lifetime. Menopause, on the other hand, is the natural result of rapidly declining reproductive hormones, like estrogen, in the female body signaled by a period of 12 or more months without a period.
The key difference here is rapid decline versus slow decline.
After the age of 40, a male’s testosterone levels begin to decline about one percent every year. That means older men can expect to have lower and lower levels of the male hormone as they age. It’s natural, and, unlike their female counterparts who can expect to experience a myriad of uncomfortable symptoms as they approach menopause, males often, and conveniently, notice nothing at all.
To make male menopause even more challenging to identify, many of its symptoms aren’t specific to low testosterone. Male menopause symptoms can also be brought on by medications, medical conditions, and lifestyle stressors. These symptoms include (but are not limited to) decreased energy and mood, lack of motivation and confidence, and poor concentration.
Concerned you might be experiencing male menopause? Here are some symptoms to look for:
Can male menopause be tested for and treated?
Yes, you can get tested, though medical professionals usually reserve testing for cases when older males are showing specific symptoms. Then, if an initial test shows low testosterone, consequential testing is conducted on the pituitary gland to confirm.
Treatment most commonly involves testosterone therapy, but it carries significant risks and, in many cases, does not offer noticeable relief from symptoms. If you notice symptoms associated with male menopause, go ahead and make an appointment with your care provider. Whether you’re dealing with male menopause or you have an underlying health condition that’s causing your symptoms, a Carbon Health primary care provider is here to help you.