Andropause: Men May Go Through Menopause, Too

This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

A couple of years ago my husband and I had begun to notice many changes taking place in our intimate relationship, changes that were building a wall between us. We’d been together too long, and love each other too much, to just give up on us. So we decided that he, too, should see a doctor. The results were: He was a-okay physically and mentally but was simply going through normal changes in a man’s life. And everything that the doctor described matched with our findings on the web for a conditioned called andropause, or "man-opause.”

I’d already been diagnosed with menopause. But andropause was new to us. Their symptoms, we learned, are just as real as what women go through in menopause, and andropause is just as taboo, if not more so. Talking about these life change, be they male or female, and all its myriad issues, is by far the most difficult conversation to have, even among close couples that have been married many years.

The symptoms of andropause experienced by men will vary: decreased energy and libido (lack of interest in sex and/or erectile dysfunction due to low testosterone levels) obvious muscle aches, not able to get a good night’s sleep, and, yes, even hot flashes, night sweats and depression. (Sound familiar?) No one man will experience the same thing, and, in fact, some may say they never experienced these changes at all (yet another similarity and truth!)

Here's why it happens: When men have reached the maturing years of between 40 and 55, their testosterone levels begin to decline and changes will become apparent. Some of the more common changes are: reduced frequency in sex and erectile dysfunction (a very sensitive and embarrassing issue for most men), depression, fatigue, and even levels of anger will manifest in that special someone you’ve never known to be easily aggravated. Lean body mass may decrease as well and there could be significant increase in fat mass. Hence the weight gain happens. So keeping fit becomes of the essence (staying leaner and more active helps the cause against the symptoms of aging); living a sedentary life just makes matters worse.

But all is not lost; there is help. Testosterone Replacement Therapy can help to re-energize the feeling of lethargy and increase lean muscle mass—keeping muscles from atrophy. It could also improve your sex life, reversing the aging process. It is sort-of borrowing years and extending a better quality of life.

Although my husband is not on TRT since we decided the problem was not serious enough, just being aware of andropause has helped us cope. Now, he aged 57 (now facing andropause), and I aged 56 (have been living with menopause the past 4 years), are facing these changes of life together.

In conclusion, men’s “middle age”, is in many ways very similar to what menopausal women suffer from. So this is where we must learn to stand and fight together. This is where, with love, patience and understanding, and a little education on the subject, couples can live a better quality of life in their aging years.

We dream a life to be; we live to dream that life! (vka)