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Men and the menopause 

PAGE 32 Male-Menopause

Some men develop depression, loss of sexdrive, erectile dysfunction and other physical and emotional symptoms when they reach their late 40s to early 50s.

Other symptoms common in men this age are mood swings and irritability, loss of muscle mass and reduced ability to exercise, fat redistribution, such as developing a large belly or “man boobs” (gynaeco-mastia), a general lack of enthusiasm or energy, difficulty sleeping (insomnia) or increased tiredness and/or poor concentration and short-term memory.

These symptoms can interfere with everyday life and happiness, so it’s important to find the underlying cause and work out what can be done to resolve it.

The label “male meno-pause” (sometimes called the “andropause”) is an unhelpful term sometimes used in the media to explain the above symptoms.

This label is misleading because it suggests the symptoms are the result of a sudden drop in testosterone in middle age, similar to what occurs in the female menopause. This isn’t true. Although testosterone levels fall as men age, the decline is steady – less than 2% a year from around the age of 30-40 – and this is unlikely to cause any problems in itself.

A testosterone deficiency that develops later in life (also known as late-onset hypo-gonadism) can sometimes be responsible for these symptoms, but in many cases the symptoms are nothing to do with hormones.

Lifestyle factors or psychological problems are often responsible for many of the symptoms described above.