Is “Male Menopause” a Myth?

In the past people would jokingly talk about the male menopause. When a man would suddenly leave his wife, buy a new sports car and get a younger girlfriend, they would all say, he’s going through the male menopause. Today, we understand that male menopause is real, and it may cause as many issues in men, as women suffer from their menopause.

In medical terms, male menopause is actually called Andropause. As men age, they may experience decreased levels of testosterone. Testosterone is one of the male hormones of androgen origins.

Andropause is still not widely recognized as being a health problem. The WHO—World Health Organization—does not acknowledge the word as a real medical term.

Medical terms aside, many middle aged men suffer from a drop in testosterone. This can cause physiological changes in men during midlife.
It’s not just decreasing testosterone that men can suffer from either. Ddehydro-epiandrosteron is another important male hormone that is a mouthful to say. But often the word testosterone will be used to cover all male hormones.

Going through the male menopause can cause health issues in men. Hormones are responsible for building proteins in the male body. It’s also essential for sex drive, and building muscle mass and strength. These hormones also play a part in different metabolic functions such as liver function, and the formation of bone.

Combined together, a decrease in testosterone can cause health issues, as well as emotional issues for the middle aged adult male.

The production of testosterone is controlled by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in the brain. These can trigger the release of hormones. If the body detects decreasing levels of testosterone, brain hormones can trigger a round of testosterone in the testicles.

What scientists are studying is why the brain suddenly slows down the triggers to cause this testosterone production? In almost all men, there are below-normal levels of male hormones as they age. Surprisingly, both men and women may experience the “opause” at around the same time in life: the early 40s.

It’s also noted that as the testosterone drops to lower levels, the hypothalamus and pituitary gland produce two different hormones: LH and GnRH. These can help to trigger more testosterone, but then this will taper off again. This is when a man is officially entering Andropause.

While everyone experiences a drop in hormonal levels as they age, men don’t suffer as badly as women in this respect. For men, it’s a gradual tapering off. While some men may experience something specific, for most, they won’t know that something has happened until later in their 40s. This slow decrease in testosterone happens until men are aged 80, whereas most women are done with the menopause by age 50 to 60.

If men find they are suffering from decreased libido, depression, or mood swings, it may be time to seek medical attention. For some reason, Andropause is accepted in other parts of the western world, but for Americans, it can be as stigmatized as menopause once was for women.

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