What is male menopause?
Male menopause, or a lack of male hormones linked to age, is a biological phenomenon which is affecting men between the ages of 40-55 years old, characterised by a decrease in the production of testosterone. It is an effect associated with the process of natural ageing.
The term male menopause, similar to female menopause, is nevertheless disputed because there is no real end to reproductive capacities in men, unlike the function of a woman’s ovaries. Additionally, male menopause does not affect all males but in fact just 30%. It is because of this fact that some people want to rename it acquired hypogonadism or testosterone deficiency syndrome.
Male menopause is a progressive process that occurs over several decades. In fact, the rate of testosterone starts to decrease after the age of 30 by approximately 1% per year.
Symptoms of male menopause
The reduced rate of testosterone production brings about many gradual changes for men. The first change is of a sexual nature: a man’s sex drive may decrease and they may experience difficulties in having and maintaining an erection. However, there is no impact on their reproductive abilities. This change is usually accompanied by physical disorders such as weight gain (the accumulation of stomach fat), a decline in muscle tone or decreased hair growth.
Male menopause can also cause insomnia (which can lead to exhaustion and irritability), hot flushes, concentration and memory difficulties, osteoporosis, depression and prostate problems.
Causes of male menopause
Male menopause can be explained as the reduced rate of production of testosterone. This is the steroidal hormone which is produced and secreted by a man’s testicles. It is bound to two proteins in the blood plasma, SHBG (sex hormone binding globuline or globin bound to sexual hormones) and albumin, which transport and regulate it in the blood.
The SHBG is also attached to another hormone, oestradiol. Without the rate of this increasing with age, this implies therefore that a lower amount of testosterone will appear in the bloodstream.
Treatments for male menopause
The only existing medical treatment to treat male menopause is a testosterone-based hormone replacement therapy. The aim is to reduce the symptoms by re-establishing a good quality of life. If erectile dysfunction persists, doctors can prescribe medicines such as viagra to help revitalise a man’s sex life.
Regularly exercising is also recommended for monitoring your diet and avoiding stress.