Middle-aged men experience andropause, similar to menopause

If you are a man experiencing hot flushes, poor sexual function and cold sweats, you could be experiencing male menopause.

Yes, male menopause exists. Some doctors refer to it as low testosterone. Also known as andropause, it is the decline in the levels of the male hormone testosterone in men.

Dr Morgan Mkhatshwa of Bonitas Medical Fund explained that the condition happens just as women’s levels of estrogen begin to decrease, any time from the age of 40-plus right into the 70s.

Dr Morgan Mkhatshwa

Mkhatshwa said it is vital to visit a general practitioner to perform a physical exam, ask about symptoms, order tests to rule out medical problems that may be contributing to the condition and do blood tests that may include measuring testosterone levels.

“There is not much research into the subject, probably because you don’t die from the reduction in gonadal hormones and the withdrawal of hormones is not as dramatic as in women. Together with the reduction in hormones, there are often other factors involved when men experience this,” said Mkhatshwa.

He said marital pressures, life management, work pressures, and lifestyles can exacerbate the problem. “Many practitioners believe that balanced, youthful levels of human hormones improve the quality of life.”

Mkhatshwa believes more research is needed on andropause or male menopause to fully understand the condition and determine what can be done to assist men through this phase of their lives.

These are some symptoms of andropause:

  • Decreased mental sharpness (poor concentration, depressed mood)
  • Decreased energy and strength
  • Weight gain, decreased muscle, and increased fat
  • Depression and/or loss of eagerness and enthusiasm
  • Irritability
  • Sore body syndrome (feeling stiffness)
  • Hot flushes or sweats
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Itching
  • Poor sexual function
  • Height loss

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Anelisa Sibanda

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