Comprehending Andropause or ‘Male Menopause’: Symptoms, Causes, and Contrasts with Female Menopause

Hormonal shifts are typical as individuals grow older. While menopause is a natural occurrence in women with female reproductive organs, men can experience andropause.

Understanding Andropause Or ‘Male Menopause’: Symptoms, Causes, And How Is It Different From Female Menopause
Understanding Andropause Or ‘Male Menopause’: Symptoms, Causes, And How Is It Different From Female Menopause

You may have heard of menopause, a stage in a woman’s life when her menstrual periods cease, marking the end of her ability to conceive. Typically occurring in women in their late 40s to early 50s. A somewhat analogous but distinct phenomenon also exists in men, known as andropause or ‘male menopause’. However, the UK National Health Service (NHS) warns against the term ‘male menopause’, suggesting it can be misleading as it implies that men’s symptoms stem from a sudden decline in testosterone during middle age, akin to female menopause, which is not entirely accurate.

So, what exactly is andropause, and what triggers it? Dr. Pallavi Prasad, a Fertility Consultant at Nova IVF Fertility in Basaveshwara Nagar, Bengaluru, sheds light on the subject in an interview with the OnlyMyHealth team.

Exploring Andropause: Causes and Insights

Exploring Andropause: Causes and Insights

“Andropause, also known as late-onset hypogonadism, is a condition that affects some aging men as they enter their middle age and beyond,” explains Dr. Prasad, noting that it involves a gradual decrease in testosterone levels, the primary male sex hormone.

Dr. Prasad clarifies that while andropause is sometimes colloquially termed “male menopause,” it differs from menopause, which impacts women. The NHS further elaborates, stating, “Although testosterone levels decline as men age, the decrease is gradual, typically around 1% per year from approximately the ages of 30-40, and is unlikely to cause significant issues on its own.”

The UK Health Body adds, “Symptoms often attributed to testosterone deficiency later in life, also termed late-onset hypogonadism, may occasionally be responsible for these symptoms, but frequently they are unrelated to hormonal changes.”

What Triggers Andropause and When Does It Typically Occur

What Triggers Andropause and When Does It Typically Occur

Dr. Prasad explains that the primary cause of andropause is the natural decline in testosterone production that accompanies aging. While testosterone levels may begin to decrease as early as the mid-30s, symptoms typically become more noticeable in the 40s and 50s.

Furthermore, as testosterone levels decline, there can be an imbalance between testosterone and estrogen in the body, resulting in various symptoms.

Andropause commonly manifests in men between their late 40s and 60s. However, it’s important to recognize that not all men will experience andropause, and the severity of symptoms can vary significantly among individuals, notes Dr. Prasad.

Signs and Symptoms to Be Mindful of during Andropause

Common Signs and Symptoms of Andropause Include:

1. Fatigue
2. Mood swings, irritability, and depression
3. Reduced libido or sex drive
4. Difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction)
5. Decreased sexual satisfaction
6. Decrease in muscle mass and increase in body fat
7. Hot flashes or night sweats in some cases
8. Insomnia or disrupted sleep patterns
9. Difficulties with memory and concentration
10. Decreased bone density, potentially leading to osteoporosis

Understanding Andropause is Essential

Understanding Andropause is Essential

While menopause and its symptoms are widely acknowledged, andropause remains a less discussed topic.

Dr. Prasad emphasizes, “Bringing up andropause increases awareness about the physical and emotional transformations that aging men may encounter. It empowers men to understand that these changes are a natural aspect of aging and not something to feel ashamed of.”

This awareness, in turn, motivates men to seek medical guidance and support when necessary. By addressing symptoms associated with andropause and managing issues such as depression, sexual dysfunction, or reduced bone density, individuals can significantly enhance their quality of life, leading to a healthier and more fulfilling later life, concludes the doctor.