Although menopause is a very noticeable stage in life for a woman, it is more difficult to identify symptoms of menopause in men. But they exist.
In the past decade, prescriptions for testosterone gels, shots and patches increased by more than 400 percent for male patients in middle age. Sleepless nights, agitation, weight gain, diminished energy and decreased sex drive—all common symptoms in middle-aged women—also are symptoms that affect their male counterparts.
Until recently, these symptoms were just attributed to men as typical behaviors and general evidence of aging. Think “Grumpy Old Men.”
But new research shows that around the same age that a woman’s menstrual cycle ends, a man’s body is also undergoing internal changes that affect him psychologically and physiologically. Usually, this stage of life—for some men—was used to explain the phenomenon of going through a “mid-life crisis.”
For around 25 percent of men in middle age, their testosterone levels fall below average, and thusly cause symptoms of male menopause. Some have dubbed this “manopause.” Scientifically, it’s called hypogonadism. However, only about 5-10 percent of men in their middle age will ever show symptoms menopause.
Researchers also believe that menopause in men can be exacerbated by stress, depression and heart disease. Stress and depression are natural emotions given that this stage of life for many men involves stressful leadership roles in the professional world and that this is also coupled with the realization that youth is soon to expire.
Testosterone treatment remains a controversial practice, however. It is advised that only patients with both symptoms of male menopause and a low testosterone level receive treatment. Patients with low testosterone levels who show no signs of such generally do not fit the bill for treatment by most doctors.
And these treatments are costly. The expense of testosterone shots, gels and patches is pretty steep. Be certain not to blow your retirement funds early on testosterone treatments that may not last but a few years, at best.
Whether treatment is the way to go or not for men who show symptoms of male menopause, one thing’s for certain. Both men and women can appreciate the experience of their bodies’ changes during middle age and be as compassionate to the other sex and they’d have that person be to them in this stressful time.