There is a lot of awareness around the hormonal changes in a woman as she hits middle-age. With her child-bearing years behind her, production of oestrogen and progesterone hormones in the ovaries reduce, and the menopause arrives.
But there is very little said about the hormonal changes for a man. Have you heard about the andropause? Affecting men as they hit their 40s, this ‘male-menopause’ is a result of the diminishing male hormone, testosterone.
So what do we know about the male menopause? Should men expect the same hot flashes and weight gain that females experience? Here we take a look at the main symptoms of the male menopause that middle-aged men need to be prepared for.
What is the male menopause?
The male menopause can creep up on a man from as early as their 30s, and it could be a while before symptoms appear, if at all. Unlike the female menopause that hits harder between the ages of 45 and 55, the male menopause can continue on, for decades.
The reason for this is that the testosterone levels in a male dip by between 1 and 2 per cent a year after the age of 30. For some men though it might be lower than this, and most men wouldn’t show signs of testosterone deficiency until they are 50.
However, testosterone deficiency in later life can be attributed to metabolic syndrome. This involves a number of conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, that are linked with obesity.
Also, late-onset hypogonadism or testosterone deficiency syndrome can also result in low testosterone levels in older men.
What are the symptoms of male menopause?
The main changes that a man with testosterone deficiency can expect include erectile dysfunction, loss of morning erections, drop in libido, decreased energy levels and loss of muscle mass. However, lifestyle factors or psychological problems are often responsible for many of these symptoms.
As the ratio of testosterone to oestrogen in the body decreases, this can result in some men developing breasts, or gynaecomastia.
Men who have a higher level of body fat can also develop gynaecomastia, due to an enzyme found in fatty tissue that converts testosterone to a type of oestrogen that forms breast tissue.
What treatments are available for male menopause?
The best thing, if you are experiencing any symptoms mentioned above, is to see a doctor. They can help determine the main cause, and can do a blood test to check your testosterone levels. If you have a testosterone deficiency, you may be offered testosterone replacement therapy, which should relieve your symptoms.
If you have gynaecomastia, then you might consider surgery which is a simple way to remove excess breast tissue. You can discuss options with a Gynaecomastia Specialist and decide which approach would be most beneficial to you.
Gynaecomastia surgery generally takes less than two hours, usually performed as a day-case operation either under local anaesthetic with sedation or under a general anaesthetic.
If you have gynaecomastia and are thinking of male breast reduction surgery, contact the Masculum Clinic and book a consultation.