Understanding male menopause and the role of testosterone

By: Osler Health International
Posted on: 16 Jan 2024

The female menopause has received a lot of media attention recently. Interestingly, now ‘male menopause’ or ‘andropause’ is also becoming increasingly recognised and gaining attention. The male menopause is attributed to the symptoms caused by a reduction of testosterone in men over time.

But how does a reduction in testosterone affect you as a man? This article explores male menopause, its impact on your well-being and what actions are available.

Demystifying male menopause

While the term “male menopause” might suggest some similarities to female menopause, the condition, more commonly referred to as andropause or hypogonadism, is quite different. Unlike the abrupt hormonal changes women experience, male menopause involves a gradual decline in testosterone levels.

This decline, often beginning as early as the mid-30s, may lead to noticeable changes in physical health, emotional well-being, and sexual function. Understanding these changes can help manage their impact.

1. The role of testosterone in men’s health

Testosterone serves as more than just the primary male sex hormone; it’s linked to many factors in a man’s overall health. Beyond its functions in sexual development and fertility, the hormone plays a crucial role in maintaining muscle strength and mass, bone density, and even red blood cell production.

Testosterone levels are also linked to age, mood regulation, energy levels, and cognitive abilities. The decline in this hormone may affect physical attributes like muscle tone and strength. It may also lead to shifts in mood, energy, and mental clarity.

2. Recognising the symptoms of male menopause

The symptoms associated with male menopause can be subtle and may intensify over time. Physical signs such as increased body fat, reduced muscle mass, and feelings of fatigue may be common, alongside emotional and psychological changes, including mood swings, irritability, and a reduced sense of well-being.

Sexual health may also be affected, with symptoms like decreased libido and difficulty in achieving or maintaining erections. These changes can be distressing and may impact personal health and relationships. Acknowledging the symptoms of a reduction in testosterone is important so you know what is the cause and, therefore, can access the appropriate support.

3. Treatment options and managing symptoms

For those looking to address the symptoms of male menopause, your doctor may recommend several approaches, including hormone replacement therapy with testosterone coupled with lifestyle modifications.

The first step is to understand the cause of your symptoms. Your doctor will conduct a blood test to ascertain your testosterone levels. If the doctor believes the reason is a decline in testosterone, they may recommend testosterone supplements to restore hormonal balance and address your symptoms of male menopause. However, this approach may not be suitable for every male, as it comes with several considerations and potential risks. Please discuss these with your doctor.

Aside from testosterone replacement, lifestyle modifications often help address symptoms of andropause. These may include dietary adjustments, regular exercise, stress management, and adequate sleep. This approach is considered very effective for treating symptoms, and it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional with a Lifestyle Medicine approach. Finding a men’s health clinic that you feel comfortable and listened to is important in all medical care.

Navigating the stigma around male menopause

Despite its prevalence, the topic of male menopause often faces societal stigma, primarily due to common misconceptions and stereotypes about masculinity and ageing. This may lead to reluctance among men to discuss their symptoms or seek medical advice, fearing judgement.

Male menopause is a normal andnatural process. Every man will experience andropause differently, so what works for your friend may not work for you. Please seek sound medical advice before assuming symptoms are testosterone-related.

As healthcare providers and medical professionals, we encourage men to prioritise their health and well-being and come in for their annual checkups, where you can have a conversation about male menopause.

Address symptoms of male menopause with professional help

Male menopause is a natural and normal chapter in men’s lives. Having low testosterone has implications; however, with the support of a trusted doctor, these may be addressed. Any doctor will recommend regular checkups to keep on top of your health.

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