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2023-06-29 21:12:50

Male Menopause: Definition, Symptoms, What to Do

You’ve probably heard of how women go through menopause when they hit middle age. But did you know that men also experience something similar? Yes, there’s something called male menopause! (Kind of ironic, right? Menopause? Manopause?) Let’s dive into what this is, what it looks like, and what the gentlemen can do to support themselves mentally and physically as they start to collect more years.

What is Male Menopause?

Male menopause — which also goes by the names andropause and manopause — occurs around the time when men reach their late 40s to early 50s and can last up to around 20 years. This period can be marked by symptoms like:

Important note: We want to point out that the term “male menopause” is actually a little misleading. For women, menopause happens once ovulation stops, and there’s a sudden and significant drop in estrogen. In men, the decline in testosterone happens much more slowly and over a longer period of time. So, menopause and male menopause aren’t simply male and female versions of the same process.

What Causes Male Menopause?

The explanation for andropause used to be simple and straightforward: around this time in their lives, men experience a drop in testosterone. However, science is learning that it might be a little more complex than this.

For starters, yes, testosterone levels do decline. However, starting at about 40 years old, a man’s ability to make testosterone starts to drop just 1% to 3% a year. So, while this most likely plays a role, it doesn’t fully explain all of the symptoms they can experience.

middle-age man fishing on a lake

If a man is experiencing mental health struggles, those can contribute. For instance, depression and anxiety can affect sex drive and sexual performance. Any relationship issues or financial struggles can also play a part. Then, there are lifestyle habits to consider. Smoking, a poor diet, consuming too much alcohol, getting insufficient sleep, and a lack of exercise can wreak havoc and contribute to male menopause.

This can also be around the time that adults experience the dreaded midlife crisis. Men might start to question what they have (or have not) accomplished. They might feel like they’re “running out of time.” This can lead a person to doubt their value and worth as a human, which can trigger mental, emotional, and physical challenges.

When Hormones Come Crashing Down

Now, all that being said, there is a scenario where hormones can mostly explain male menopause. Late-onset hypogonadism occurs when the testes produce little to no hormones. In some cases, hypogonadism can be present from birth and lead to delayed puberty. However, it can also develop later in life, contributing to male menopause. (It’s worth noting that this isn’t a very common occurrence.)

A blood test can help determine if a man might be experiencing late-onset hypogonadism and not the expected, age-related drop in testosterone levels.

How to Support Your Health as You Age

What can a man do if he thinks he might be going through male menopause? Bloodwork is the best way to start to get a handle on the situation. eNational’s Men’s Anti-Aging Hormone Panel provides insight into the current status of their testosterone levels, sex hormones, and potential warning signs of prostate cancer. There’s also a more specific prostate health panel.

For something more robust, consider the Standard Men’s Health Panel or Complete Men’s Health Panel. The standard panel looks into cardiovascular, organ, thyroid, bone, and sexual health. It also provides information on inflammation, joint pain, erectile dysfunction, heart disease, and certain cancers. The complete panel looks into kidney and liver health, cholesterol levels, lipid levels, bleeding disorders, thyroid functioning, testosterone, and sexual health. Plus, it can dive deeper into any specific hereditary issues.

husband kissing wife on the cheek, on a beach

Depending on what the test results say, a healthcare provider will be able to provide the appropriate next steps. This might include prescription medication or talk therapy. Lifestyle changes might also be in order. This might mean moving more, eating differently, or learning to better manage stress through meditation, journaling, deep breathing, or other means.

Fun fact: Certain nutrients — like vitamin D, magnesium, and zinc — are important for maintaining healthy testosterone levels. While science hasn’t yet reached a consensus, consuming foods high in these nutrients could be beneficial in offsetting the symptoms of male menopause. Think of foods like fatty fish, avocados, and eggs. You might also consider supplementing, but speak with your healthcare provider first.

In some cases, a follow-up with a specialist after your bloodwork might be helpful. Some men benefit from testosterone replacement therapy, which can be delivered via injection or gel.

Order Your Bloodwork Panel with eNational Today

With around 2,700 locations around the United States, eNational is never more than a short drive away. You can order a test online in just a few clicks, find the location most convenient for you, and receive your results via email. You don’t even need to visit your doctor first. Should you have follow-up questions or need help figuring out the next steps, you’ll be able to speak with a clinician once you receive your results.

Get ahead of male menopause so that you can feel great at any age. Find a testing center near you and order your test today.