What is Male Menopause?
Most people associate menopause with hot flashes, mood swings and the absence of menstruation. So what's testosterone got to do with it?
Starting at around the age of 40, men start to lose about one percent of their testosterone per year. This gradual decrease in hormones is often referred to as male menopause or andropause because it produces many of the same symptoms as female menopause: irritability, abdominal weight gain, decreased sexual desire and function, sleep disturbances, sadness, fatigue, loss of strength and even hot flashes.
These midlife changes are often more subtle in men than in women. That's because women experience a complete shutdown of ovarian hormone production at menopause versus the slow decline in testosterone in men.
The most uniquely male symptom, erectile dysfunction (ED), is perhaps the most misunderstood. ED and male menopause are not mutually exclusive, although they are closely associated and similarly treated, sometimes with male hormone replacement therapy (MHRT) to boost virility.
What About Normal Aging?
The changes men experience at midlife are often viewed as the natural consequence of aging, making it difficult to diagnose menopause in men. Blood tests that measure total testosterone are helpful but inconclusive, and there is no specific medical diagnosis for male menopause at this time.
All the same, no one disputes that the symptoms of male menopause are very real and compromise the quality of life for millions of men. It is estimated that between three million and five million men in the United States alone experience some symptoms of male menopause. And most are not seeking help.
How can this trend be reversed? Quite simply by speaking up and taking action. There is no reason to settle for mediocrity as you age. Every man should ask his doctor about ways to manage stress, optimize health and enjoy life to its fullest.
Men can reclaim their lives by using meditation, hypnosis, biofeedb ack, mindfulness-based stress reduction, nutrition and fitness programs, natural supplements and yoga classes.
There are so many things men can do at home as well. Good health is not just about eating right and getting exercise. It's just as important to have a good laugh, enjoy some alone time and connect with friends. Having sex is also good for your mind and body because it relieves stress and helps to keep your prostate healthy.
Women have known for years that success at midlife is not a measurement of hormones but of quality of life. It's encouraging to see more men taking steps to recapture their health and happiness at midlife as well.
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Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor