Andropause: Men in Menopause?

24.09.2012 | By: T. B.

Everyone has probably heard at least something about the menopause women have to go through. But how much do we know about the male menopause - andropause?



men in menopause

Andropause goes hand in hand with the decline in men's testosterone levels with age. (PhotoXpress)


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The origin of the word ‘andropause’

The word andropause is derived from the Greek roots “andros” (man) and “pausis” (end) and it is similar to the term “menopause” (“menses” are menstrual periods). Andropause is an expression which “caught on”, but is not really uniformly accepted.

How many men are faced with andropause, and when?

Andropause is experienced by 30% to 40% of men between the ages of 45 and 55. The first signs begin showing after the age of 30. However, andropause isn't a mid-life crisis. It's a hormonal change which has also an effect on emotions. While aging, men produce increasingly less androgen. The male menopause is similar to the female menopause in many ways. There has been a lot of discussion on the female menopause, while the possibility of the male menopause hasn't been considered for a long time - probably also due to the fact that "andropause" literally means that at a certain age men lose their manhood.

Symptoms of andropause

A decline in libido, loss of erection, fatigue (about 80% of men constantly feel they're exhausted), irritability, loss of energy, depression (experienced in various degrees in about 70% of men), nervousness, loss of bone density, joint and muscle pain, night sweating, anger, loss of muscle mass and muscle strength, less frequent morning erections, frequent passing of urine, irregular heart beat, osteoporosis, stress, impaired memory, disorientation and increased body weight.

Some men become more “maternal”, spiritual, kinder, more loving and more sensual.

What should you do when andropause occurs?

Men have a hard time facing their deficiencies and loss of potency, so they don't want to talk about it. However, talking about it is one of the most effective ways of helping yourself in overcoming the difficulties caused by andropause. You can talk to either your physician, or to a friend, or to your partner, but it's best if you talk to all of them.

If you exercise regularly, perhaps jog, eat healthy food, drink less alcohol and manage to stop smoking (if you're smoking), you will be in the saddle.

How does andropause affect your love relationship?

Many times it happens that both partners experience climacteric almost at the same time, which can generate great stress in the relationship, if not destroy it. Changes in sex life become quite obvious. Erections are less common than usual, as well as less predictable and less strong. Men may feel particularly uncomfortable if their partner becomes more playful and creative in bed because they're afraid that they will not be able to keep up with their lover. If the partners didn't manage to develop good communication earlier, it's high time to do so. If you don't succeed, you can seek the assistance of a therapist who will help you find new solutions that can lead to the beginning of a new relationship.

Such a change to a relationship is welcome for both men and women because it can be the cornerstone of a union between friendship and love.

Again, andropause isn't a mid-life crisis

A mid-life crisis derives from emotions: children leave home, parents pass away, friends have heart attacks, stress becomes unbearable etc. By contrast, andropause is a hormonal state which can have emotional consequences. A mid-life crisis largely appears between the ages of 35 and 45, and andropause largely occurs between the ages of 50 and 55.

Circumstances in childhood, upbringing and even a successful career can have an effect on the development of a mid-life crisis, no matter how paradoxical this may sound. It's often triggered by a specific event. A mid-life crisis often directly follows the period of success.

Men who find themselves in a mid-life crisis often experience an increase in sexual desire. Sexual intercourse represents the way to avoid problems for a while. By contrast, in andropause libido as well as the ability to have erection decline.

Maintaining the outer appearance of strength and endurance is more important to men than how they really feel.

By leading a healthy life, andropause will have a minimal effect on you and you'll keep your strength.


Read more about sex and sexuality in our Lover's Guide.