Male menopause is also known as andropause, which is a result of a gradual decrease in testosterone. Testosterone is an androgen. Male menopause is not the same as the type of menopause that women go through. For this reason, doctors usually refer to “male menopause” as low testosterone or an age-related decline in testosterone levels such as testosterone deficiency, androgen decline in the aging male, late onset hypogonadism.
Testosterone levels in men gradually decline throughout the course of adulthood. This happens about one percent a year after the age of 30 on average. The loss of testosterone is rarely noticeable in men younger than 60. And by the time men reach their 80s, about half them have low testosterone.
- Low energy. Testosterone helps men maintain their energy level. So when a man is suffering from male menopause, they often have low energy. Testosterone replacement therapy can help increase energy levels.
- Insomnia. Low testosterone can cause insomnia. A healthy testosterone level is important in order to get regular sleep as it regulates sleep. When a man has low testosterone levels, he can experience insomnia or have a disruptive sleep.
- Low libido. Men with male menopause often experience low libido due to a lower amount of testosterone. A prior study even showed that 91 percent of men with male menopause experienced a decreased libido. Fortunately, testosterone replacement therapy has been found to improve libido in men with low testosterone. This could be in the form of gels, patches, or intramuscular injection.
- Abdominal fat. A healthy testosterone level is needed because it helps slow down the buildup of abdominal fat. If you have a decreased level of testosterone, it is easier for abdominal fat to accumulate. Abdominal fat is both a cause and an effect of low testosterone. As the amount of abdominal fat increases, an enzyme in the fat tissue converts testosterone to estrogen, which lowers testosterone levels even more. With even less testosterone to slow the fat accumulation, abdominal fat increases.
- Depression. When men have low testosterone, they can become depressed. This is because testosterone helps to regulate their mood. Prior research among depressed men showed that the lower a man’s testosterone level was, the more severe his depression. Depression as a result of low testosterone has also been shown to improve with testosterone replacement therapy. This type of treatment may even work for men who did not respond to regular antidepressants.
- Osteoporosis. Testosterone is needed to help the body maintain adequate bone density. If a man has low testosterone and is suffering from male menopause, his bones may become less dense, and more fragile. This can increase a man’s risk for developing osteoporosis.
Other symptoms of male menopause include less spontaneous erections, breast enlargement, reduced endurance, increased fatigue, decreased motivation, difficulty remembering things and inability to concentrate, increased irritability, and reduced muscle size and strength. Men suffering from male menopause may also have a low sperm count.