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It’s a Guy Thing! What You Need to Know about MANopause

by De C - June 21 , 2021

Photo Credit: by Ayo Ogunseinde, Unsplash
Photo Credit: by Ayo Ogunseinde, Unsplash

No, that headline does not have a typo in it. We’re indeed talking about MANopause, not menopause. That is “male menopause.” Most know that menopause is the time in a woman’s life when she stops getting her period (usually between the mid-40s and early 50s). But men are not exempt from age-related changes in their hormones and that’s where manopause comes in. Here’s what you need to know...

What is the manopause?

Manopause is a condition that goes by many names. Clinically it’s known as andropause, which is defined as “a collection of symptoms, including fatigue and a decrease in libido, experienced by some middle-aged or older men and attributed to a gradual decline in testosterone levels” by the Oxford dictionary. It’s also casually referred to as testosterone deficiency, a.k.a., hypogonadism.

Let us break down that last word for you - hypo is a prefix referring to anything that is low, under, beneath, down, or below normal, as in hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). And the other part of that word, gonads, are the testes, or testicles, which we know are the male sex glands that are part of the male reproductive system. (By the way, women have gonads too - they are the ovaries. So, hypogonadism is defined as the “reduction or absence of hormone secretion or other physiological activity of the gonads (testes or ovaries)”

“Late-onset hypogonadism or manopause is extremely common in men during mid-later life. As a man’s testosterone levels start to drop, it can have numerous effects on the physical and mental health of individuals,” says Navin Khosla, superintendent pharmacist at FROM MARS.

Who does it affect?

It can affect men aged 40-50 when testosterone levels start to decrease as a result of aging, which can lead to a large percentage of men experiencing a range of symptoms from mood swings to a lack of energy.

Men gradually lose testosterone starting as early as their early 30s. Low testosterone is clinically diagnosed when the level of the hormone in the blood dips below 300 nanograms per deciliter. Nearly 40 percent of men older than age 45 have low testosterone, according to the Urology Care Foundation, according to Bayfront Health. And, according to Mayo Clinic, a man’s testosterone levels decrease on average about 1 percent every year after the age of 40.

The good news is, according to the New England Journal of Medicine, male menopause only affects 2.1 percent of males!

What are the symptoms?

There are many symptoms to look out for and some of them are very similar to what women experience when they go through menopause. The main symptoms are mood swings, lack of energy, sexual issues such as erectile dysfunction, and trouble sleeping.

“These are the main symptoms you’re likely to experience, but there are some more physical changes you may notice, as testosterone levels in your body start to decrease. These can include a loss of muscle mass, or you may even notice you’re gaining a ‘beer belly.’ All of these side effects are completely normal and although it’s understandable to be concerned, there are numerous treatment options,” says Khosla.

The most common manopause symptoms are:

● Low energy

● Fatigue

● Depression

● Weakness

● Low libido

● Decreased spontaneous erections

● Erectile dysfunction

● Sleep disruption

● Mood swings

● Increased body fat

● Decreased muscle density

● Decreased bone density

● Breast discomfort or swelling

● Infertility

● Height loss

● Hot flashes or sweats

What can you do about it?

If you start experiencing the symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor. They’ll likely order a blood test to check your testosterone levels and to see if there are any other medical conditions that could be causing these symptoms.

Most experts recommend only testing older men for low testosterone if they have symptoms. If that first test does show low testosterone levels, the test should be repeated to confirm the results. If low testosterone is indeed confirmed, most doctors recommend further testing of the pituitary to determine the cause and rule out other hormone deficiencies. The pituitary gland is part of your body's endocrine system, which consists of all the glands that produce and regulate hormones.

Treatment options can range from lifestyle changes to your diet, exercise routine, and sleep to mental health therapy to injected testosterone replacement therapy. “If it’s low, a combination of topical or injected testosterone replacement therapy, exercise, healthful eating and treatment for emotional issues may help you feel more like your old self,” says Khosla.

Most doctors will recommend lifestyle changes before testosterone replacement therapy, which can have side effects. For instance, some experts say that testosterone pills can have a negative effect on the liver. There’s also testosterone gels, skin patches, and injections that get testosterone into the blood directly without affecting the liver as much, according to WebMD. Of course, your doctor will know best. The topical therapies, though, still have side effects, such as rash, itching, or irritation at the area the testosterone is applied.

Here are Khosla’s top 3 Tips for coping with the manopause:

1. As testosterone levels drop, it can cause men to feel anxious and sometimes depressed. If you believe you’re experiencing a change in your mood, then it’s worth seeking help from your doctor, who can talk to you about possible coping mechanisms.

2. During mid-later life, it’s not uncommon for men to experience problems when it comes to sex. Low levels of testosterone can cause erectile dysfunction, which many men worry about. This isn’t something to be ashamed of and there are many treatment options which can be bought from a registered pharmacy or prescribed by your doctor.

3. Another factor which can negatively impact your testosterone levels is your diet. It’s important to keep the amount of alcohol you’re consuming to a minimum, as well as making sure you regularly exercise and stick to a nutritious diet.


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