It’s a topic hotly debated in some circles: Is “male menopause” actually a thing? Well, yes and no. Men don’t have as extended or as intense a period as women do with perimenopause and menopause proper, but they do lose reproductive hormones starting in their 30s, which brings changes to their bodies.
At AGP Family Health Clinic in Tomball, Texas, board-certified family physician Dr. Robert Pedroza and his staff specialize in diagnosing and treating men’s health problems, including the decrease in testosterone levels (low T) that affects their sexual and overall health. If you’re a cisgender man and want to know what you’re facing, the team explains it for you here.
Andropause, the name given to age-related decline in testosterone, usually starts in a man’s 30s and continues for the rest of his life, with levels declining about 1% a year after age 40. Most older men, though, still have T within a normal range.
Unlike perimenopause, in which most women experience a whole host of unpleasant symptoms due to plunging hormone levels, low T in older men often goes unnoticed, since most experience no symptoms. In addition, what signs and symptoms are associated with low T aren't specific to low T; they can also be caused by a man's age, medication use, or other conditions such as being obese.
However, signs and symptoms suggestive of low T include:
Additional symptoms include increased drowsiness, sleep disturbances, mild anemia, reduced muscle mass and strength, and increased body fat.
Andropause in men is treated in much the same way as menopause in women, with hormone replacement therapy.
Recommendations for such therapy for men with age-related low T vary. In 2018, the Endocrine Society recommended testosterone therapy for men with age-related low T, but only for those who show signs and symptoms of it.
In 2020, the American College of Physicians recommended that doctors consider starting testosterone therapy in men dealing with sexual dysfunction after explaining the risks and benefits to them.
For some men, testosterone therapy relieves the symptoms of andropause, but for others, the benefits aren't clear, and there are possible risks.
Further research is needed on all types of hormone replacement therapy, but it’s been suggested that testosterone therapy might stimulate growth of metastatic prostate and breast cancer, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and contribute to the formation of blood clots in the veins. Have a discussion with Dr. Pedroza about the risks and benefits.
Yes, cisgender men do go through a form of menopause, and if you’re experiencing troubling symptoms, you need to come into AGP Family Health Clinic for an evaluation. Give our office a call at 832-861-0393, or book your appointment online today.