The medical term for aging in men is andropause (which sounds similar to menopause in women). It is also known as male menopause or, more recently, the term ‘manopause’ has been coined. Whatever you call it, it describes the transition in life for men who experience physical and emotional changes associated with aging, such as fatigue, loss of endurance and strength, diminished sexual interest and performance, loss of muscle mass, moodiness, and depression.
Written off as ‘this is what happens when you get older,’ many men deprive themselves not only of a better quality of life, but also pass up the opportunity to significantly reduce their risks of heart attack, diabetes, and fractures through treatment.
Symptoms of Andropause
Every man is unique and may express various symptoms at different times in their life. Unlike menopause, characterized by the relatively rapid onset of hot flashes, night sweats, and sleep disturbance, changes in male symptoms are subtle and come about gradually, sometimes over the course of years.
Muscle mass decreases by about 8% per decade, starting at 20 years of age. This is reflected by diminished endurance, loss of stamina, exercise fatigue, and overall loss of strength.
There is often a loss of sexual interest and diminished libido, as well as various forms of erectile dysfunction. When a man takes certain medications for blood pressure control or uses an antidepressant, it can have a significant adverse impact on sexual function.
As one age, there is an increase in visceral fat in the abdomen which surrounds the intestine and other internal organs. Aside from additional weight gain, this fat is associated with the production of inflammatory proteins which contribute to the onset of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Testosterone provides an important contribution to maintaining bone strength. With decreased production, there is an increased risk of osteoporosis and fracture. The effects can be devastating. Aside from the major impact on the quality of life, there is a significant mortality rate with hip fractures after the seventh decade.
Depression, fatigue, inability to focus, lack of concentration, and memory loss become more and more prevalent with diminished hormone production through male menopause.