The female menopause is well documented and I wrote about the ways Fitness can assist to reduce or control most of the symptoms – but what about the guys out there, I felt it only fair that I ask the question…IS there such a thing as
“The Male Menopause”, or the buzz word “Andro-pause”??
Some doctors report that their male patients complain of similar symptoms to their female counterparts about the same time of life – late 40’s to early 50’s, like
increase in fat around the middle
feelings of fatigue / tiredness
lower libido / erectile problems
mood swings & being irritable
decline in muscle mass and strength
These symptoms are indeed very similar to situations that women going through the female menopause, and these are directly linked to the reduction and then cessation of production of a couple of hormones by the ovaries, namely Oestrogen and progesterone, (but also testosterone) making the woman infertile and no longer having her monthly ‘periods’.
The question about the male menopause comes from the fact that men also have a reduction in hormones at this time, particularly that of ‘testosterone’ which may be the cause of some of the symptoms mentioned above, however, this decline is only 1-2 percent a year from about 50 onwards and as we know men can certainly father children well into their Seventies or even higher!
So while the symptoms may be comparable – the intensity and duration or frequency are not, and certainly the outcome is totally different. Testosterone decline may also be genetic or come as a result of disease (e.g Diabetes) but also obesity, resulting from lack of exercise, poor diet and/or lifestyle choices.
A reduction in muscle mass & strength plus increase in fatigue & tiredness are a natural sign of old age and generally happen to men who do not look after themselves. Women have no choice as to whether they go through the menopause, men can choose to work out to maintain their muscle mass, do plenty of cardio exercise and eat well and should be able to avoid most of the ‘male symptoms’.
There are also testosterone replacement treatments available & there has been a marked increase in these during the last 10 years, these can be done either through tablets or to a lesser extent injections & it would be well worth any man at least having his levels checked out & get appropriate advice as there ARE some medical conditions (e.g Klinefelter’s syndrome) that can cause a deficiency. However, the introduction of the popular viagra has reduced some of this demand for testosterone as a treatment for impotence!
So in conclusion, I would say yes, there is some slight evidence of a male menopause, but, this does not effect every male and pales in comparison to the female menopause, both physically and mentally. A lot of men do, I believe have a mid life crisis, the kids have left home, the career may have stalled or become mundane, you may have less in common with your partner when its just the two of you and you are contemplating getting older and how to fund your retirement – that’s a lot to think about & can be quite depressing!
At the end of the day though as we age our bodies naturally change, inside and out. The way our bodies cope with digestion may change, our muscle mass naturally decreases affecting our metabolism, we tend to move less, and as explained here, our hormones change & all our genes say different things. Again EVERYONE is different and there is no one answer. I can give an example of say Madonna and Tom Cruise, whether you love or hate them they look amazing for their age, & yes they have the money to, but it is more than that…they show that you can be 50 and look fabulous! Eat well, exercise properly, relax/meditate, laugh, cry, challenge your mind, get your hormone level checked out and visit your local Naturopath to get proper advice on the natural supplements that can assist you. We do not all need to look the same & we never will, as long as you are happy and HEALTHY that really is all that matters.
CRYPTIC WORD QUIZ – I have a Hoyts movie pass to give to the 1st person who can tell me which recent Hollywood blockbuster I refer to in the title of this blog (note:- the Answer must be placed on the blog, not facebook, Oz only)