Unusual enough, it’s not just the women that suffer from the effects of menopause as men also suffer from hormone-related changes in their body as they get older.
An increasing number of doctors notice their male patients experience symptoms associated with change of hormone in their body as they age (about 50 plus years) although the medical community is still debating whether men do really go through the changes as defined in the word menopause, since the symptoms often resemble those of other illnesses such as diabetes. Plus some men who suffer from ‘menopause’ have the same symptoms as women who are going through a menopausal phase.
To put it simply, some doctors refer to the condition as the decline of androgen (testosterone hormone) or “androgen deficiency of the aging male” (ADAM) in their patient’s body – in a simple word: Andropause. Andropause has been observed in association with Alzheimer’s disease and in one study 98% of primary care physicians believed that andropause and osteoporosis risk are related.
Male menopause can be brought on by a variety of factors: depression, dementia, obesity, or illness such as autoimmune diseases or cancer. Certain diseases that affect the heart and lungs also seem to decrease the production of testosterone, which in turn might ultimately lead to andropause.
Older males who experience the following symptoms associated with male menopause such as unexplained depressions and anxiety attacks, fatigue, weakness, impaired memory, the inability to concentrate, insomnia, hot flushes, sweating and sexual-related issues should consult with their doctor. The important thing to note is that although these symptoms are quite general, doctors are still unable to explain their relations with decreased testosterone levels.
During a physical exam the doctor might diagnose you for any telltale signs and may perform certain tests such as blood tests. Primary treatments prescribed for male menopause are similar to that of women’s menopause, namely, hormone-replacement therapy (HRT). Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) aims to bring back testosterone into the normal levels to reduce symptoms. Keep in mind this therapy also carries unwanted side effects such as increased risk of prostate cancer.
You may also be encouraged to make certain adjustments depending on your symptoms such as adopting a healthy diet, adding a workout routine into your daily activities, and managing your emotions effectively. Adding certain medications to treat a variety of other symptoms such as anti-depressants may also help.
To put in perspective, male menopause is not a myth. It is a real medical condition that men should not ignore or be embarrassed about.
By Liya Das