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Is there such a thing as the “male menopause”?

The menopause in women is well known and we’ve already shared our own guide to everything women need to know about the menopause.

But you may have also heard about a “male menopause”, also known as andropause, that is said to affect men in their late 40s.

There’s some controversy about the use of the term “male menopause”, so we thought we’d look at some of the facts and misconceptions that surround it.

What does the term “male menopause” mean?

It’s worth noting that the use of the term “male menopause” is a controversial one. In fact, many medical professionals steer away from using it.

It’s a misleading name because men don’t experience a hormonal change in their body in the same way that women do with the female menopause.

The female menopause is triggered by a sudden drop in oestrogen. Testosterone levels do fall as men age. However, the decline in most men will be steady and unlikely to cause any problems.

An extreme drop in testosterone levels, to match that of the female menopause, could be due to specific conditions like late-onset hypogonadism or androgen deficiency.

In fact, many of the symptoms associated with the “male menopause”, relate to a number of different conditions that can affect men later in life.

Is the “male menopause” real?

In this case, we’d have to agree with NHS UK and say that it’s unhelpful to use the term, since it draws incorrect parallels to the female menopause.

The symptoms that are associated with the male menopause are certainly real. However, grouping them together under this umbrella term is problematic. For this reason, we won’t be using the term in the rest of this blog.

However, we will look at some of the symptoms associated with it that men may experience as they reach their 40s and 50s.

Symptoms men may experience as they reach their 40s and 50s

Some men develop certain physical and emotional symptoms when they reach their late 40s to early 50s, including:

  • stress, depression or anxiety
  • loss of sex drive
  • erectile dysfunction
  • mood swings and irritability
  • loss of muscle mass
  • a general lack of energy
  • difficulty sleeping

In each of these cases, there could be several factors in play.

For example, stress, loss of sex drive, and mood swings could be due to work or relationship issues, including divorce or money worries.

Erectile dysfunction could be caused by stress or be due to physical causes, such as changes in the blood vessels.

Many of the symptoms that men experience later in life could also be due to:

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms we’ve mentioned, you should see your GP.

You can find out more about the myths and facts surrounding the “male menopause” here:

If you’d like some advice on how our occupational health services can help you support your staff at any stage in their life, give us a call.

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Categories: Health & WellbeingHealth WiseMental HealthOccupational Health

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