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What is The Male Menopause?

Just as the fairer sex sees a drop in oestrogen levels after the menopause, the male menopause (also known as the andropause) is a term sometimes used to talk about a decrease in available testosterone as men get older.
Many men experience symptoms like women experience in the female menopause at a similar time in their lives – this is why it is called the ‘male menopause’.

Here we will look at whether the male menopause / andropause exists and if so what causes it. We will look at how to get it diagnosed if you think you are suffering from the symptoms and how to get effective treatment from specialists.

But first we need to understand the hormone behind the male menopause: testosterone.

What is testosterone? 

Testosterone is a hormone or chemical messenger produced mainly by the testes in men and in smaller amounts in women. It is considered a sex hormone due to its effects on the sex organs and production of male characteristics and behaviours. It has effects throughout the body including the body, the mind, behaviour, fertility and development. It is extremely important for male well-being and physical health, which makes it even more surprising that some parts of the medical community are so against treating it effectively. This hormone, testosterone, is the culprit in the male menopause.

Testosterone in men

Is the male menopause real?

So does the male menopause exist or is it just another scare story by the media?

The answer is yes!

How the male menopause is different from the female menopause

In men the testosterone level drops slightly every year after 30. As well as this the levels of SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) increase every year. Together this leads to a gradual decrease in testosterone levels which can lead to low testosterone and menopause-like symptoms. However testosterone levels do not usually drop suddenly as in the female menopause.

 

How the male menopause is similar to the female menopause

1. When it occurs – This gradual drop in testosterone levels often leads to a low enough level to cause low testosterone symptoms in men. These often occur at the same age as women experience their menopause. This is why it is often called the male menopause.

2. Symptoms – both the female and male menopause can lead to similar symptoms.

  • low sex drive/libido
  • low energy
  • poor sleep
  • sexual dysfunction (erection issues in men, vaginal dryness in women)
  • low mood
  • sweating/ hot flushes
  • joint pain
  • reduced bone density

3. How it is tested – Both are tested with blood tests

4. How it is treated – both are treated with hormone replacement therapy

Male testosterone levels before TRT

What else other than male menopause could it be?

Some of the symptoms of male menopause or low testosterone are the same as other conditions which can occur around the same age.

Depression and anxiety can occur despite normal testosterone levels. These cause low mood and can affect energy levels and libido.

Stress often increases around this age due to increased responsibility at work or men having a mid-life crisis.

So how can I tell what is causing my symptoms?

The easiest and quickest way to find out whether low testosterone (male menopause / andropause) is causing your symptoms is to order a blood test.

This will quickly help you determine whether you have low testosterone levels that need treatment.

Make sure you get a test which covers total and free testosterone levels such as the one sold on our website. The free testosterone level can be much lower than the total testosterone in older men with a high SHBG. This is often not tested by many labs and the NHS.

Testosterone Levels by Age

‘Total testosterone levels are affected by alterations in SHBG that occur in obesity, old age, diabetes mellitus, hyper- and hypothyroidism, and acromegaly, and in men taking certain medications. Accurate and reliable assays for free or bioavailable testosterone measurements usually are not available in local laboratories, and these tests should be performed in a reliable reference laboratory.’

Why is the male menopause ignored when the female menopause is known about and treated?

A lot of men complain that they are not taken seriously by their GP when they complain of male menopause symptoms.

This is something we hear about almost daily from patients. Doctors tell them that they ‘are just getting old’ they are ‘depressed and need anti-depressants’ or even that they are going through a ‘mid-life crisis’!

All of this is usually wrong and another way for some doctors to avoid providing treatment.

Most doctors see TRT / testosterone replacement therapy for male menopause as being dangerous or ineffective. If well-controlled and with proper support this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Unfortunately testosterone still has a stigma attached to it and most doctors have a dangerous lack of knowledge when it comes to it. Despite there being evidence that TRT is beneficial for heart health and reducing the risk of diabetes it is often ignored as a treatment. 

Age corrected testosterone levels for male menopause

Average testosterone levels by age
SHBG levels chart

You can see that SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin), which attaches to testosterone and makes it unable to bind to receptors in the body, rises with age. This is one reason why a man’s free testosterone drops so much with age and can lead to male menopause-like symptoms. And it’s another good reason to always have free testosterone checked when worried about low testosterone symptoms!

DHEA is another testosterone precursor (testosterone is produced from it) that drops massively with age. It is responsible for many male traits and physical changes in the body. It has been shown to increase strength and reduce body fat levels in men. Many men take it as an anti-ageing supplement. With lower testosterone levels this precious hormone also reduces significantly and can lead to male menopause symptoms.

More Symptoms of male menopause

These are the symptoms most commonly seen in men with male menopause, if you notice you’ve developed some of these then the next step is to get your blood tested for low total and free testosterone levels.

More specific signs and symptoms (these symptoms are closely linked to lower than normal male testosterone levels):

  • Reduced sexual desire (libido) and activity
  • Decreased spontaneous erections/morning erections
  • Breast discomfort, gynaecomastia
  • Loss of body hair axillary (armpit) and pubic hair, reduced shaving frequency
  • Small of shrinking testes
  • Low or zero sperm count
  • Height loss, low trauma fractures reduced bone mineral density
  • Hot flushes, sweats
Signs of Low Testosterone

Less specific signs and symptoms (these may indicate low testosterone levels/male menopause or a different condition):

  • Decreased energy, motivation, initiative and self-confidence
  • Brain fog
  • Feeling depressed or anxious, depressed mood, dysthymia
  • Poor concentration and memory
  • Sleep disturbance, increased sleepiness
  • Mild anaemia
  • Reduced muscle bulk and strength
  • Increased body fat percentage
  • Reduced work and physical performance

Get treated!

If you are noticing several of these symptoms then it is definitely worth getting your testosterone blood results tested as you may be suffering from the ‘male menopause’ or low testosterone. It is a simple, quick test that you can do at home. We will send it directly through the post and we test for everything including total testosterone, free testosterone, SHBG and estrogen levels at an extremely competitive price (our test is £59.99 compared to £79+ elsewhere).

Benefits of normal/high testosterone

  • Mental acuity / no brain fog
  • Muscle strength and size increased
  • Improved lipid values
  • Reduced CV risk
  • Improved bone density
  • More assertive
  • Better concentration and drive
  • Less anxiety
  • Improved joie de vivre / outlook on life
  • No IBS
  • Deeper more stable voice

I have noticed 8 out of 11 of these since starting testosterone replacement therapy (the others need specific tests before and after to identify). I have even had blood tests that show perfect lipid values and PSA (prostate specific antigen) levels.

Conclusion

The male menopause may not be exactly the same as the female menopause. However, big decreases in available testosterone are becoming more and more common in older men. If you are starting to notice some of the symptoms above then it is really important that you get tested.

In the modern world where testosterone levels are dropping year by year, your health and happiness depends on having good levels.

It is not the demon hormone that it is made out to be in the media – it improves male mental and physical health when at optimal levels. It improves your relationships and social life. It doesn’t turn you in to a horrible person. If anything it is likely to make you more successful and happy. The media will often try to portray low testosterone as normal in older men. This is not true and you shouldn’t have to live with these symptoms!

Buy a blood test now and find out for certain whether the male menopause / low testosterone is affecting your life.

Or contact us using the form below and we would be happy to answer any questions you might have!

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