Menopause (and perimenopause) begins when a woman no longer is capable of releasing an egg monthly as a result of the natural decline of hormones. With this lessening comes the symptoms we all know: night sweats, hot flashes, sleep issues, etc. When people think of the transition to middle age and menopause, most think women.
However, a growing trend is showing that men, too, often go through a similar transition period as they age. For men, middle age doesn’t necessarily mean a precipitous decrease in reproductive ability, though a decline in testosterone can be a cause of menopause-like synonyms. The Mayo Clinic writes, “in women, ovulation ends and hormone production plummets during a relatively short period of time. In men, hormone production and testosterone bioavailability decline over a period of many years and the consequences aren’t necessarily clear.”
Male-menopause, sometimes called andropause, is widely debated in the medical community. The symptoms associated with the decline include fatigue, depression, weakness, and sleep issues like night sweats and hot flashes. The term andropause is often used by doctors to reference the general hormone changes in men that occur as you age.
Male testosterone levels vary greatly from male to male, though, “older men tend to have lower testosterone levels than do younger men. Testosterone levels gradually decline throughout adulthood — about 1 percent a year after age 30 on average.”
For those who believe they could be suffering from a change in hormones and a potential decrease in testosterone, having an honest discussion with your doctor is recommended. While some take testosterone supplements, the risks can outweigh the benefits. More information about menopause can be found here and via the North American Menopause Association.