Male Menopause Demystified

Sad middle-aged man

If he's been feeling rundown lately, become unusually short-tempered and restless, has less interest in sex, complains that his joints ache, or wakes in the middle of the night sweating, the reason could be male menopause—or, as some doctors call it, "andropause." It's triggered by dropping hormone levels in middle-age. Sound familiar? Third Age: Drop In Hormone Use, Cancer Linked

As we age, both men and women have changes in hormone levels. For men, the hormone change may be slower and less dramatic than a female's, but it's still happening. For men, it's testosterone. Under ordinary circumstances, testosterone levels differ among guys. But after age thirty, levels drop at a rate of about one percent a year. By about age seventy, the decrease in a man's testosterone level can be as much as 50 percent.

With andropause, sex is usually a major issue. The most common symptom experienced by men with low testosterone is a diminished sex drive. Eighty percent of men with male menopause complain of low libido and an inability to maintain a strong erection. Like women going through menopause, men can begin to feel like they no longer enjoy sex. Third Age: What's Killing Your Sex Drive And How Can You Stop It?

The primary treatment for all male menopause symptoms is Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT). Like estrogen replacement in women, testosterone replacement aims to bring hormonal levels back up to a healthy level. Once testosterone levels are increased, many of the symptoms lessen.

However, testosterone replacement doesn't always work well enough to combat erectile dysfunction. Because this is such a severe symptom for most men, other treatments for erectile dysfunction are often prescribed.

Male menopause does not affect all guys, and its symptoms have varying degrees of severity. Still, it's important for men who are experiencing the condition to understand what's happening to their bodies as they age. If you suspect your partner is affected by male menopause, encourage him to talk about his symptoms with a doctor. A simple blood test measures testosterone levels—and replacement therapy is often a solution to the condition. Third Age: Low Testosterone = Male Menopause

Read the rest: Third Age

Sign up for YourTango's free newsletter!

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.