We talked to Dr Peter Chiu all about the male menopause. Does such a thing exist and if so what is it?
Do men also experience Menopause?
This phrase is a little misleading… although men do not go through a well-defined period of hormone changes that occurs in women during menopause, men do certainly experience a change in their hormonal makeup as they get older. Hormone changes are a natural part of aging but unlike the more dramatic reproductive hormone plunge that occurs in women during menopause, sex hormone changes in men occur gradually. However, this hormonal shift in men can cause physical, emotional, sexual, and psychological problems.
What age does the ‘Manopause’ tend to occur?
In men, production of testosterone and other hormones declines over a period of many years and the consequences aren’t necessarily clear. This gradual decline of testosterone levels is called ‘late-onset hypogonadism’ or ‘age-related low testosterone’. A man’s testosterone levels decline on average about 1% a year after age 40. But before you start to get concerned, most older men still have testosterone levels within the normal range, with only an estimated 10% to 25% having levels considered to be low.
What is testosterone?
Testosterone is a hormone. It’s what puts hair on a man’s chest and face and the force behind their sex drive. During puberty, testosterone helps build men’s muscles and deepens their voice. By adulthood, it keeps men’s muscles and bones strong and maintains their interest in sex. Testosterone hormone levels are important to normal male sexual development and functions.
What are the signs of male menopause?
Symptoms of low testosterone may well go unnoticed, however some possible signs include:
- Fatigue, general lack of enthusiasm or energy
- Depressed mood
- Poor concentration
- Sexual problems: loss of sex drive, erectile dysfunction
- Hot flushes or sweats (not just for the ladies)!
- Sleep issues (increased sleepiness or sleep disturbances)
- Reduced muscle bulk and strength
- Loss of facial or body hair
- Increased body fat
- Height Loss
- Chest discomfort
Does every male go through this and how long can it last?
Every man will have a decrease in testosterone as they get older. However, some man may be affected more than others. Male menopause has no set duration and could become long-lasting if not addressed appropriately, damaging a man’s health and well-being.
How is male menopause identified by a doctor?
A diagnosis can be made based on the symptoms, a physical assessment and a mental assessment. Furthermore, I would include a blood test which may include measuring testosterone level and other tests to examine overall health and to rule out medical problems that may be contributing to the condition.
Can male menopause be treated?
The simplest way to manage symptoms of male menopause is by making healthier lifestyle choices which include eating a well-balanced diet, doing regular exercise, getting enough sleep, reducing stress levels, and minimising alcohol and tobacco use. As a doctor I would adopt a holistic approach if the symptoms are caused by a combination of physical, lifestyle, and psychological factors – providing support for my patient’s physical, sexual and mental health.
What can be done to increase testosterone levels?
If the results suggest you have testosterone deficiency a hormone replacement therapy may be a treatment option. As the benefits of this therapy are not clear and there are potential risks, it is important to talk to your doctor to weigh all of the pros and cons of treatment before making a decision.
What should you do if you are concerned?
Visit your doctor. The first thing is to seek a medical opinion on your personal situation. There may be a host of reasons (nothing to do with testosterone) that may be causing your symptoms. If you see a trusted holistic GP doctor they will ask you all the right questions to ascertain what the issue is – mental health, weight, stress, thyroid issues may all play a part. Just a note on the word ‘holistic’ as it could be seen to be a bit ‘fluffy’. To reassure you, at our clinic this means enquiring and understanding the whole of you – ‘joining the dots’ – not just handing over some pills! If you prefer to see a male doctor we have two at Osler Health International: myself and Dr Neil Forrest.
Dr Peter Chiu is a trusted family GP based at Osler Health Raffles Hotel Arcade clinic. Dr Peter trained in Austria and Singapore and sees much of the German community here in Singapore. He is also the Official Consulting Physician of the German, Austrian and Swiss Embassies in Singapore.
Call: 6332 2727 or WhatsApp: 9670 7027