Everything You Need to Know about Male Climateric

Are You Experiencing Male Menopause?

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Are you over 40 and feeling overweight, tired, irritable, depressed or undervalued? It could be a midlife crisis—or it could be male climacteric, otherwise known as "male menopause." Here's what you need to know if you're experiencing this change in your life.

Is Male Menopause Real?

We know for sure that women go through very definite physical changes in their midlife. Ovulation stops, hormone levels drop quickly and within a few short years they become unable to have children.

Of course, these features don't apply to men. That's why there is a lot of discussion as to whether or not male climacteric exists in any real medical sense.

In contrast to women, male hormone levels remain pretty constant and most men can father children into their seventies. Men experience only a gradual decline in hormone levels and, by the time they are 80, serum testosterone concentrations fall to about 75 percent and free testosterone to about 50 percent of what they were at age 20. Because hormonal changes aren't to blame, some experts believe male menopause is not a physical phenomenon, but a mental one.

Male Climacteric as a Psychological Event

The term "male menopause" has come about because so many men experience mid-life dissatisfaction and difficulties that mirror those of women who are going through menopause. For some men, these issues become all consuming. Menopause is a word some people are using to express, amongst other things, unfulfilled desires and expectations, work dissatisfaction, the loss of passion in personal relationships and the loss of a positive body image as aging becomes more apparent.

The signs and symptoms of male menopause may include:

  • Depression and nervousness
  • Decreased libido
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Decreased bone and muscle mass
  • Hot flushes and sweats
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Poor concentration
  • Increased body mass and fat

When Hormone Levels Signal Disease

The gradual lowering of testosterone levels may be naturally protective to the male body.

But for some men, more dramatic hormonal changes can signal the presence of diseases such as hypogonadism, when the body doesn't produce enough testosterone, has an impaired ability to produce sperm or both. 

If testosterone levels are linked with a decrease in sexual activity, declining muscle bulk or reduction in minerals in bones, then hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may help. This is not always the case, however, and there are significant risks in HRT such as non-cancerous growth of the prostate and excessive blood production. HRT in men has also been linked to prostate cancer and can exacerbate sleep apnea. Talk with your doctor to find out about the risks and benefits for you.

Male Menopause: Just Part of Aging?

Men, like women, face many changes as they age. This is harder for some than others. Symptoms of possible disease should be investigated, but in many cases, these changes should be embraced as signs of growing older. Reflect on the gift of being alive instead of focusing on the search for novelty, change or the quest for youth.

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