Women may not be the only ones who suffer the effects of changing hormones. Some doctors are noticing that men are reporting some of the same symptoms that women experience in perimenopause and menopause
The medical community is debating whether or not men really do go through a well-defined menopause as their testosterone levels decline. Doctors say that men receiving hormone therapy with testosterone have reported relief of some of the symptoms associated with so-called male menopause.
What Is Male "Menopause?"
Because men do not go through a well-defined period referred to as menopause, some doctors refer to this problem as androgen (testosterone) decline in the aging male -- or what some people call low testosterone. It is normal for men to experience a decline in the production of the male hormone testosterone with aging, but this also occurs with conditions such as diabetes.
Along with the decline in testosterone, some men experience symptoms that include:
- Sexual problems
The relationship of these symptoms to decreased testosterone levels is still controversial.
Unlike menopause in women, when hormone production stops completely, testosterone decline in men is a slower process. The testes, unlike the ovaries, do not run out of the substance it needs to make testosterone. Healthy men may be able to make sperm well into their 80s or later.
However, as a result of disease, subtle changes in the function of the testes may occur as early as age 45 to 50 and more dramatically after the age of 70 in some men.
How Is Male "Menopause" Diagnosed?
To make the diagnosis of male "menopause," the doctor will:
Can Male "Menopause" Be Treated?
If testosterone levels are low, testosterone replacement therapy may help relieve symptoms such as:
Just as with hormone replacement therapy in women, testosterone replacement therapy has potential risks and side effects. Replacing testosterone may worsen prostate cancer and increase the risk of heart disease, for example.
If you are considering androgen replacement therapy, talk to a doctor to learn more. Your doctor may also recommend certain lifestyle or other changes to help with some symptoms of male menopause. These include: