by Dr. David Samadi
LONG ISLAND, NY – Women are not the only ones who suffer the effects of changing hormones after a certain age. Many men experience some of the same symptoms that women experience in perimenopause (meaning around menopause) and menopause. This includes low sex drive, hot flashes, depression, irritability, mood swings, increased body fat, and decreased energy.
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 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 or late onset hypogonadism.
Male menopause, or andropause is different from female menopause in that female menopause occurs when the production of female hormones drops suddenly. Theovaries run out of the substance it needs to make testosterone.
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.
The connection between symptoms of low testosterone and actual low testosterone levels is controversial. This is because symptoms of low testosterone are present with other health conditions. Low testosterone can also occur with conditions such as diabetes. If low testosterone symptoms are occurring as a result of an underlying health condition, there may be changes in testicular function that appear early on such as between the ages of 45 and 50, or even after 70.
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.
There are a number of ways to diagnose male menopause or low testosterone. Diagnostic tools may include:
Dr. Samadi is a board-certified urologic oncologist trained in open and traditional and laparoscopic surgery, and an expert in robotic prostate surgery. He is chairman of urology, chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital and professor of urology at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine. He is a medical correspondent for the Fox News Channel’s Medical A-Team and the chief medical correspondent for am970 in New York City, where he is heard Sundays at 10 a.m.