Is there such a thing as male menopause or is it a media hype to get men's attention? It depends how you define the term male menopause. Generally, in women, menopause is an abrupt and clearly noticed event that happens within a period of a few months when the ovaries stop functioning. Well, in men, the testes do not stop functioning abruptly. There is a decrease in testosterone levels as men age. This testosterone decrease occurs at the rate of about 1 percent a year starting in one's 30s. Hence, if menopause is defined as an abrupt transition, then the term male menopause is a misnomer. However, if the term male menopause is defined as a period of time in a man's life where vitality and sexual energy are reduced and become noticeable - a period which may take many years or a decade or two -- then I guess we could loosely use the term male menopause.
There is a decline on average of 1% of testosterone per year starting at age 30. It does not occur in all men. Some men who are very healthy and virile do maintain their testosterone levels for longer periods of time.
Cleve Clin J Med. 2012. Androgen deficiency in older men: indications, advantages, and pitfalls of testosterone replacement therapy. The decline in testosterone with age has been associated with specific physical changes that affect quality of life and life expectancy, although a cause-and-effect relationship is yet to be established. While female menopause is rapid and well described, "male menopause" or androgen decline in older men is gradual and marked by nonspecific symptoms. This makes diagnosis of true testosterone deficiency and prediction of response to testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) challenging. This article reviews androgen decline in men, focusing on those over age 40, and covers symptoms, indications, contraindications,diagnosis, treatments, and the risks and benefits of treatment [corrected].
There is a growing interest, as well as a booming industry, in the use of testosterone therapy for middle-aged and older men. This interest has led to the definition of a new condition, termed 'male menopause' implying that this condition is due to falling levels of testosterone. This trend risks replicating both the rejuvenation fads of a century ago and the recent experience in estrogen therapy for menopause that has been propelled for decades by advocacy substituting for reliable scientific evidence. Is testosterone treatment appropriate for men with symptoms of male menopause? There is no scientific agreement on this topic. My personal opinion is that hormones should be used only as a last resort since they have serious risks if misused. See testosterone and the over the counter hormone DHEA. Another hormone sold over the counter that some men use for male menopause treatment is pregnenolone. Men have to be very careful using hormones. Androstenedione used to be available over the counter until the FDA disallowed it.
Male menopause symptoms
The most common symptom of male menopause would be a continuing decline of sexual vitality and libido. Another would be with a general decline in overall sensory appreciation, and lowering of passion for life.
Q. I'm going through male menopause since I notice sex is not as much fun and special. I'm thinking of taking a male enhancement pill to improve libido. Do they work and how safe are they?
A. Many herbal pills for sex do work to increase libido. It may take trial and error to find the one herb or the herbal product combination that works for you.