Male menopause? It's a reality, awareness is best way to tide over the condition

A few symptoms that could follow from this decline are fatigue, a low libido, and trouble focusing. Representative image: Inside Creative House / Shutterstock

New Delhi: Female menopause is a common knowledge and is addressed seriously. Meanwhile, Male menopause, though rarely discussed, is a reality and requires equal measure of attention and redressal. Since it's an age related symptom, being aware of it is the first step towards precaution.

If you have gained weight recently, developed hot flushes, or remained less sexually aroused, these could be indicative of male menopause. Although men do not go through menopause like women do, the sudden drop in testosterone causes them to go through similar problems. Andropause, or simply male menopause, is the name used to describe it.

As men age, they undergo a range of changes, including loss of muscle mass and greying hair. A prominent alteration observed in men is a reduction in their testosterone levels.

“The topic is rarely investigated because there isn't much research on it, hormone withdrawal isn't as bad as it is in women, and you don't die from a decline in gonadal hormones. When males experience this, it's usually due to a combination of factors like stress at the job, the stress in a marriage, the stress in life management, and lifestyle choices, in addition to the hormone decline,” said Dr. Shobha Gupta, Medical Director and IVF Expert from Mother’s Lap IVF Centre in New Delhi and Vrindavan.

What precisely is andropause?
Male menopause refers to the decline in testosterone levels in males. Dr. Shobha Gupta explains, “The male hormone testosterone naturally declines with age, however, diabetes can also cause this decline in production. A persistent decrease in testosterone levels is referred to as age-related low testosterone or late-onset hypogonadism. It is a more progressive menopause as opposed to the rapid onset of female menopause, which is characterized by the end of ovulation and a decrease in hormone production.”

What are some of the symptoms and signs?
A few symptoms that could follow from this decline are fatigue, a low libido, and trouble focusing. In addition to this, there are also the following indications and symptoms.

» Reduced mental clarity (bad attention, downbeat mood).
» Loss of energy and strength.
» Losing muscle, acquiring fat, and gaining weight.
» Moods that are depressed or lack fire and energy. Irritability.
» Aches and pains in the muscles (stiffness felt).
» Sweats or hot flushes
» Hands and feet that are cold
» Itching
» Sexual dysfunction
» Loss of height

Why does andropause occur?
Testosterone controls several important functions in men. For example, it regulates libido, muscle mass, and sperm production. Testosterone is essential for both bone health and blood production. It is produced in the adrenal glands and testes. As men age, their ability to produce sperm and their levels of testosterone tend to decrease. This leads to a condition called andropause.

When does a man go through andropause?
The onset of andropause can happen around the age of 40, but it can also happen sooner and last until 70. “The andropause debate has gained greater momentum recently, although not all doctors and psychologists agree that men experience menopause because not all men experience it, and those who do usually don't talk about it. Similar to how women express their feelings, so do they,” said Dr. Shobha Gupta.

Diagnosis and Therapy
In the absence of the aforementioned symptom, your doctor may ask for a blood test to measure your testosterone levels. If they are low, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may be suggested. You can get guidance on changing your lifestyle, like increasing your physical activity and eating a better diet.
Dr. Shobha Gupta recommends some handful tips for andropause to be made easier for your body and mind:

Eat healthy: A diet that is balanced in terms of the amount of fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, and dairy items consumed.

Get moving and normal health checkups: Exercise regularly, focusing on muscular, flexibility, and aerobic activities. Get frequent health screenings, especially those for prostate, testicular, and cardiovascular cancer.

Hormones: When you get older, check your hormone levels. Several significant hormones in a man's body start to diminish typically between the ages of 40 and 55.

Reduce stress: Talking to your partner, friends, and family about your difficulties might help you relax and reduce tension.

Intimacy: As you go through male menopause, you will come to see sex as a component of a meaningful relationship that also includes sharing, intimacy, friendship and getting enough sleep.

Men's experiences of menopause vary greatly depending on their personalities. Unlike women's menopause, more research is needed to fully understand andropause, or male menopause, and determine what can be done to assist men throughout this time in their lives.
(With inputs from IANS)

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