Both males and females, all human beings were born with different bodies. Although most of our internal and external body systems, features, and functions are similar. Some exceptions help us stand out differently from each other. 

Yes, these are indeed our sexual features and reproductive systems responsible for giving us a separate identity of our own. 

However, with certain problems or malfunctions in this system, we might experience severe inconvenience and discomfort that hinders us from doing a lot in our lives normally. 

Male Menopause – A Myth Or A Reality?

Male Menopause

Wait, you might be wondering if you read the above heading correctly or not. Well, yes, you did. As it appears to be, it looks as if males get to experience menopause. Something that only females were do experience at the end of their reproductive years. When their menstrual cycle finally ceases to function.  

In women, the appearance of menopause is not sudden and expected. Rather, it takes time – preferably months or even years. Before the final change sets in and the cycle is set to have ceased for good. Usually, it is the beginning of certain symptoms such as hot flashes, mood changes, and irregularities in the menstrual cycle of females. That make them alerted that their menopause might just be around the corner. [1]

But, what about the males then? Because as far as we know, men do not undergo any sort of monthly cycle. So what is this whole discussion about the male ‘menopause’? 

It turns out that there is indeed something present in the medical literature. That refers to male menopause and all the associated changes. This is also known as ‘Andropause’ in the medical language. [2]

Andropause – The Male Version of Menopause

Male Menopause

To keep it simple, we shall compare both male and female menopausal changes. By keeping them side by side to learn about the subsequent changes in both genders. 

In females, the principal sex hormones are estrogen and progesterone. In males, the main hormones are androgens, or more appropriately, testosterone. 

This testosterone plays an integral role in sexual maturation. And the development of secondary sexual characteristics once a male reaches the age of puberty. From this age onwards, from the teenage years to the mid-twenties. Testosterone levels are continuously rising and peak only, thus helping a man achieve their muscular, masculine form. [3]

At What Age Does Male Menopause Occur? 

Male Menopause

Normally, it is seen that after a man reaches the age of forty. The testosterone levels in their body start declining. This decline is very slow and usually drops by 1-2% annually. Thus making it longer and slower for a male to achieve menopause. [4]

As compared to females, there is no sort of complete ‘shutdown’ that occurs. Or is expected to occur in these males. 

Rather, these hormonal levels decline slowly and progressively. In the midst of it, men experience all sorts of symptoms. That makes them sure that they, too, are undergoing some sort of ‘menopausal’ changes in their life. Testosterone levels do not ever get famished in a man, which is a fact. [5] 

What Are The Symptoms of Male Menopause? 

Since andropause is mainly related to the declining levels of testosterone in a male’s body, the symptoms of this male menopause are also associated with all those functions that testosterone controls or regulates in a man’s body. [6]

However, some of the most common signs and symptoms that accompany male menopause include the following: 

  • A decreased sexual drive or a general disinterest in engaging in sexual activities, 
  • Loss of muscle mass,
  • Increased fatigue, 
  • Anxiety, depression, and mood swings, 
  • Development of ‘gynecomastia’ or increased fat deposition around the breast region,
  • Weight gain, 
  • Hot flashes. 

There are other associated symptoms too, but most commonly, men experience these symptoms while going through their menopausal periods. [7]

How Long Does Male Menopause Last?

Unlike the female reproductive cycle, which is somewhat predictable, the male version of menopause is not fully understood. This is the lack of awareness and education in men regarding this particular phase. [8]

Many men do not know that such a phenomenon exists, so they often feel as if something is wrong with them or that they have developed some sort of disease that makes them feel this way.  

However, male menopause is also seen to last for a longer duration, unlike the females whose menopause usually occurs 4-5 years after the symptoms of menopause have set in. [9]

In males, it takes about 10-15 years, or sometimes even more, for the effects or symptoms of menopause to set in and exist. Therefore, it can be safely assumed that in males, menopause lasts for an indefinite period after taking place in the late thirties to mid-forties. [10]

Male Vs. Female Menopause: What Are The Differences? 

There are noticeable differences that exist between a woman’s and a man’s menopause. In males, there is an obvious absence of their menstrual cycle, and so, it is majorly the symptoms and signs that one has to judge to declare that this particular male is undergoing menopause. [11]

However, some males were also seen to experience hot flashes, just like the females during this time. Females experience this due to the sudden drops in the level of estrogen, whereas males experience this due to fluctuations in the levels of testosterone. [12]

Since testosterone levels decline at a very slow rate, they can cause hot flashes in men, which often becomes a source of problems for them. 

But apart from these pronounced differences, there are other differences that make menopause different for both men and women. A few major ones are discussed below: 

Occurrence: 

Where it is a known fact that all women are bound to undergo menopause when they reach a particular age, not every male member needs to experience it too. 

It was mostly found that at different places in the world, many men with low testosterone levels were bound to experience andropause at some time in their lives, usually after their forties or fifties. But it is not evident that every male will experience it, and it varies from person to person. 

Infertility Factor: 

When a woman achieves menopause, it is evident that her reproductive years are over and she will not be able to birth a child any further. However, for males, this is not the case. [13]

Although testosterone levels do decline over time, they never drop down to becoming non-existent to the level of altering a male’s fertility factor. These reduced testosterone levels are still sufficient enough to produce semen that is viable and potent enough to cause pregnancy in females. 

Male Menopause Treatment: 

Male Menopause

Contrary to how it may sound, menopause in men is not a disease. It is simply an age-related change that is bound to occur on one or the other day in a man’s life. 

However, the symptoms of this change might be serious enough to warrant treatment or even a doctor’s consultation trip to exclude a severe underlying disease. But in the majority of males, the symptoms usually are not that severe to grab unwanted attention. [14]

There are a variety of treatments, ranging from natural to herbal to medicinal, that help takes care of a man’s symptoms during this andropause period. All of them have been briefly discussed as follows: 

Natural Treatment For Male Menopause: 

The natural remedies for male menopause that exist are usually related to one’s mental health. It is generally observed that feelings of anxiety, depression, and frustration all the time may lead to a man feeling worthless and ultimately alters one’s stress hormone levels. 

These hormonal imbalances combined with the already-low testosterone levels may cause further stress and lead to deterioration. 

Therefore, changes in one’s natural lifestyle changes are always a welcoming change that helps men deal with their unpleasant menopausal symptoms. [15]

It is recommended that a diet rich in vitamins, zinc, selenium, and omegas helps reduce the burden of symptoms that men usually experience. If not naturally, then supplementation through synthetic vitamins also helps deal with these symptoms. [16]

Medicinal Treatment For Male Menopause: 

The medicinal treatment is usually done for the long term. It has unpleasant side effects too, and not every man finds it feasible for themselves. 

Usually, men have prescribed antidepressants for their mood swings. In some men, estrogen, and testosterone replacement therapy work wonders in toning down highly severe symptoms. 

Nowadays, a recent mode of treatment called the ‘Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) is employed in men with extremely low testosterone levels that start altering their daily lifestyle. [17]

But despite these medical treatments and therapies, many men manage to deal with their symptoms naturally and let time do wonders, which is often the easy way out that exists without any significant side effects as well. 

Conclusion

Therefore, contrary to popular belief, male menopause is a real deal and not something fictitious or made up. It exists, and many men experience it during their middle ages, although not all men might go through it. 

The psychological symptoms are somewhat similar to females. With appropriate lifestyle changes and vitamin supplementation, male menopause can easily be considered as something that is purely an age-related transition and not a pathological process. 

Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your own healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.

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Dr Andleeb Asghar, Pharm.D

Dr Andleeb is a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D) graduate with real-life experience working in health and wellness-related companies. She has also published various research papers in the health and medical field. Currently, she takes joy in creating health-related content for a wide range of audiences, which is a craft she has been perfecting for over five years. She enjoys diving deep into published research papers and journal articles to source helpful content for her readers. LinkedIn

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  • Dr Andleeb is a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D) graduate with real-life experience working in health and wellness-related companies. She has also published various research papers in the health and medical field. Currently, she takes joy in creating health-related content for a wide range of audiences, which is a craft she has been perfecting for over five years. She enjoys diving deep into published research papers and journal articles to source helpful content for her readers. LinkedIn

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Dr Andleeb is a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D) graduate with real-life experience working in health and wellness-related companies. She has also published various research papers in the health and medical field. Currently, she takes joy in creating health-related content for a wide range of audiences, which is a craft she has been perfecting for over five years. She enjoys diving deep into published research papers and journal articles to source helpful content for her readers. LinkedIn