Is Male Menopause Reality or Myth?
We all know that menopause is the fact for women at a certain age, but does this middle-age change only have a feminine side? If we look at menopause as a series of hormone changes that are a natural part of the process called aging, it seems that men are no exception.
Yes, women go through a more dramatic reproductive hormonal change that is almost instant, and men’s sex hormones change gradually. But it’s still a fact that doctor’s offices are filled with men who experience sexual dysfunction and a bunch of other symptoms such as depression, weight gain, fatigue, mood swings, and even hot flushes. Usually, the cause is low testosterone levels, but can it be also be considered menopause as this is an equally big change at a later point in life?
The symptoms are certainly similar and the time they appear is always between 40 and 50 years of age. In addition to this, hormone therapy with testosterone seems to be helping men with all these symptoms. All this points to the fact that women are not the only ones who suffer under the effects of hormone changes, but can we say with absolute certainty that men go through a well-defined menopause?
Controversy, or Choose Your Words Carefully
Pronouncing the term ‛male menopause’ is highly controversial, especially in the company of medically educated persons. The main reason is the fact that it is simply not accurate enough and it can lead to a completely different direction by drawing a parallel with the experience only women go through (if you want to say it right you should go for late-onset hypogonadism, but it will still need a lot of explaining. Maybe easier to remember is ADAM – Androgen Deficiency in the Aging Male ). The second reason is simply the fact that this disorder is not yet universally accepted. But if the symptoms are similar, if the therapy is similar, then what’s the big difference?
Well, the best case they got so far is that they don’t have enough evidence to say that male symptoms are certainly linked to decreased hormone levels, which means that they may simply be the consequences of the aging experience. What backups this theory is the fact that from four million men who experience low hormone levels, most declines are age-related. Yes, but female menopause is also age-related, isn’t it? For now, just choose your words carefully and get ready for the questions.
Different Causes of Hormones Decrease
It is easy to be precise when it comes to female menopause – it is the end of fertility, which is marked by the drop-off in progesterone and estrogen levels that are produced by the ovaries. We know when, we know exactly why, and we know that symptoms can last for several years.
This kind of precision is not fully possible when it comes to men. A healthy male individual can be able to produce sperm even after his eighties. Yes, the decrease in testosterone levels usually starts at about 40 years of age and is going down by one to two percent per year, but it doesn’t happen to all the men. So, it’s not a universal experience like in the case of women.
On top of this, aging is not the only factor for this decrease – low testosterone can also be caused by injury, obesity, anxiety, stress, lack of exercise, alcohol consumption, smoking, sleep deprivation, and even diabetes. That means that the way of life can cause these changes in our body, which is nothing new.
There is also an obvious difference in the ‛problematic’ hormones, but things are not so black and white there, either. It is proven that some proportion of testosterone in men is through an enzyme called aromatase converted into estrogen, so healthy men should also have more estrogen. This means that decrease of testosterone is at the same time a decrease in estrogen and it is not completely clear which of these hormones’ decrease causes the symptoms.
Differences in Treating Menopause Symptoms
As the medical professionals openly confess, the truth is that they don’t know if the lack of testosterone is actually causing the symptoms before patients are given additional testosterone so they can see if there is any improvement. It is proven that hormonal therapy works for women and the studies have shown that testosterone can increase strength and muscle mass, which increases the mobility of older men who have trouble climbing the stairs or walking properly.
So the testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) could be a way to go, which is an equivalent to the ‛standard’ menopause treatment. There is no doubt that it can improve the sense of wellbeing and overall health. Some symptoms like the ability to sustain an erection or impotence are not likely to improve by this therapy, but libido might enhance.
On the other hand, some men on this therapy have experienced a very high rate of cardiovascular problems. Maybe that is just pure chance because other studies haven’t spotted any connection between cardiovascular risk and testosterone, but it is suggested that the risk of the blockage in the urinary tract and of prostate cancer can be increased.
Other side effects may include epilepsy or sleep apnea, but all this has no real evidence in medical literature. The real issue is the fact that if you administer any hormone into the body, the gland which is producing it generally ceases to function, so recovery is not guaranteed when therapy stops. This basically means that committing yourself to the therapy may become a lifelong experience, so it’s best to consider some other options first.
Maybe all you require are some medications, but it isn’t a rare case that the patient just needs a change of lifestyle, as we have shown that the way you live can easily cause all these symptoms. Some healthy exercise routine might get you back on the track in no time. Same goes for a diet, but a healthy one.
Menopause usually causes weight gain and people tend to starve themselves to death, but the truth is that your body needs all the nutrition to recover. The most common problem is that organism is left without protein because we think that is what makes us fat, but the fact is that protein can actually help us lose weight.
Our bodies lose bone and muscle mass with age, and if you don’t take enough proteins to maintain it, it can be a real cause of your weakness and frailty. Basically, you need to counter these things that are naturally lost with age, and if you haven’t been doing that you can keep up with supplements. Just be careful because there are a lot of low-quality chemicals on the market, so you need to make sure you find clean and all natural protein supplement.
As you can see, there are many similarities, but also many differences in both, causes and treatment. We’re not sure if the term ‛male menopause’ is legit or not, but this is just the question of words. The fact remains that our bodies are going through some changes in a course of years and that we should provide them with everything they need in order to make that changes go smooth, without consequences.
Ronald Wolf is a digital marketing freelancer, Australian outdoor boy and a strong believer in digital nomading and all of its benefits, but also is aware of the hardships and troubles you might find.