Yes, there actually IS something like "manopause." It's called andropause, and it can hit many men hard.
Bob noticed the changes happening slowly over a period of a few years: he started feeling lethargic, lost interest in having sex, noticed his body mass changing, and on top of it all…he was having fewer erections.
Bob, who always had a healthy sex life and enjoyed life to the fullest, began to feel like there was something wrong. He saw his wife going through menopause experiencing some of the same symptoms, and wonders if he isn’t going through some form of male menopause.
Yes, such a thing exists: it’s called “Andropause.”
The loss of energy, sex drive, and physical agility can hit many men hard.
Gail Sheehy, author of Passages and Menopause: The Silent Passage, wrote in a 1993 article in Vanity Fair magazine,
“If menopause is the silent passage, ‘male menopause’ is the unspeakable passage.
It is fraught with secrecy, shame, and denial. It is much more fundamental than the ending of the fertile period of a woman’s life, because it strikes at the core of what it is to be a man.”
Years ago there was no name or recognition for this. In fact one little study came out in 1944, when Drs. Carl G. Heller and Gordon B. Myers wrote a paper, “The male climacteric: its symptoms, diagnosis and treatment,” in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association. Subsequent studies did not occur in the U.S. but continued overseas until the 1970’s.
At least we gals have had centuries of study and affirmation of what we go through during the “change of life”.
The symptoms these doctors wrote about were exactly those described in more recent literature as symptoms of andropause or male menopause:
- Frequent fatigue
- Moodiness and depression
- Decreased sex drive
- Decrease in life’s enjoyment
- Waning strength of erections
- Falling fast asleep after eating dinner
- Lowering of strength and stamina
- and sometimes even hot flashes!
“Welcome to my world” you may say…
But here’s the big difference between andropause and menopause:
While men and women may experience similar symptoms, menopause results in a complete end to reproductive fertility.
Andropause is a biological change; a slow loss of testosterone with most symptoms experienced by men from 40 -70, yet men can still reproduce into their 90’s (although it’s little consolation to them if they can’t “rise to the challenge”).
“This is a highly prevalent disorder,” said Robert Brannigan, MD, urologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. “Unfortunately, we estimate that 95 percent of cases are undiagnosed and therefore untreated. When ignored, symptoms can seriously disrupt one’s quality of life.”
“It’s important that men pay attention to their body and openly discuss symptoms with their physician in order to prevent overlooking the cause and avoid missing an opportunity for appropriate therapy.”
“This disorder is not something that should be ignored,” said Brannigan, as studies have found the condition has been linked to chronic medical conditions such as high cholesterol, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The most common treatment options are much like those of female menopause: hormone replacement therapy (HRT) via implants, topical gels, patches, and injections. Through HRT, doctors have had great success restoring sexual function and muscle strength. And men often experience an increase in energy and an improved overall sense of well-being quickly.
So what can you do for the men in your life going through andropause? Encourage them to see their doctor—there are plenty of treatment options that can help.