Warning Signs Of Male Menopause

By Juliet Smith 7 months ago

What is male menopause?

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Menopause is a well-known life phase that women experience but many people are unaware that there is a comparable condition for men. Referred to as "male menopause" or andropause, the phenomenon is a genuine medical concern that arises when a man experiences a significant decline in testosterone levels. It's important for every man to have knowledge about the signs of male menopause!

Is it a myth?

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The phenomenon known as "male menopause" refers to the decline in testosterone levels that occurs as a result of aging, but it is vastly different to women. In women, the process of ovulation comes to a halt, leading to a significant decrease in hormone production. The production of testosterone and other hormones in men gradually decreases over the course of several years, leading to uncertain consequences.

A reduced ability to exercise

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According to the NHS, a reduced ability to exercise is one of the biggest symptoms a man might gain in his early 50s that could potentially point at male menopause. You might have never heard of the term before reading this article, but hopefully you'll be able to identify with some of the symptoms being addressed, and be able to get the help you need.

Increased fatigue

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One common symptom that individuals may experience is a sudden and unexplained lack of energy. A common experience among many men is a noticeable decline in energy levels, leading to a lack of motivation for their once beloved hobbies and activities. Simple tasks like getting out of bed in the morning or making it through the day can become challenging.

Significant mood swings

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One of the most noticeable changes that men experience when going through andropause is the sudden changes in mood. Unpredictable mood swings that come out of nowhere can be attributed to a significant hormone imbalance. So the next time you're unnecessarily angry or emotional, don't just shrug it off. You might be going through male menopause after all!

Noticeable fat redistribution

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This is one that a lot of men can probably relate to; fat redistribution. For most of our lives, our body image is insanely important, and we try our hardest to look a certain way in order to fit in and be desired. Around the late 40s, early 50s, our bodies go through a change, and men can get larger bellies or gynaecomastia (man boobs) which can be really shameful!

Heightened irritability

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Along with mood swings, some men can get ridiculously irritable while experiencing male menopause. It can't often be helped, and sometimes the rage comes from absolutely nowhere. If you are seeming to be a little less short-fused with your partner or children recently, consider whether you've been experiencing any other of these symptoms to identify if you've got a condition.

Sexual performance issues!

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This is potentially one of the hardest and most shameful symptoms on this list, and one that a lot of men don't really want to talk about, but sexual performance is a hugely important sign of the male menopause. You might have noticed a difference in your sexual performance recently, that seems out of character and you can't control it. If so, you might want to reach out for some help.

A lowered libido

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Not only is a change in sexual performance a big indicator of male menopause, but a lowered libido is also up there as a factor. The drop in testosterone affects the libido that you've been experiencing. Maybe you're not just lazy, or not attracted to your partner, but perhaps your body is undergoing a change that's effecting your libido! It's not always easy to talk about.

Erectile dysfunction issues

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This is definitely a symptom that most men wouldn't be comfortable sharing, but you'd be surprised at how many men are effected by it. Erectile dysfunction is the inability to get erect (or stay erect) for periods of time. Around 52% of men will experience some form of erectile dysfunction in their lifetime, solidifying the fact that there's nothing to be ashamed of.

A drop in self-confidence

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It's no surprise that all of the above factors can have a massive impact on the way that you feel within yourself, and dramatically effect how confident you are. It's easy for these factors to effect your mental health negatively, and thus your confidence, but you shouldn't suffer alone. If this sounds like you, reach out to your doctor or loved ones for help.

A lack of enthusiasm

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Given the significant drop in energy levels, excitement etc., it's no surprise that your enthusiasm has probably dropped quite a bit too. Do you often get moaned at by your loved ones purely because you're not looking or feeling excited about something? It's not something you can help, is it? So, before you start getting defensive, look into why you're feeling this way.

Significant loss in muscle mass

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When individuals experience a general decline in muscle strength that hinders their ability to carry out everyday activities, it could potentially indicate a low level of testosterone. If you're at least forty years old and you've lost a significant amount of muscle mass, then you very well may be going through the male menopause, and might want to get checked out.

Loss of bone density

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Osteopenia, characterized by a decrease in bone mineral density (BMD), is a condition that leads to weakened bones. It's frequently observed in men over the age of 50. Osteopenia typically doesn't present any noticeable signs or symptoms. However, there is a painless screening test available that can effectively measure the strength of your bones.

Short-term memory loss

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Along with struggling to concentrate, male menopause can dramatically effect memory too, which can often just be put down to age. Realistically, it's important to recognize if it's a relatively normal level of memory loss that you're experiencing, or whether you are seriously experiencing a huge hormonal imbalance that needs addressing and rectifying.

Increased difficulty sleeping

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While experiencing andropause doesn't mean you're going to exhibit every single symptom and sign on this list, it's useful to see how many of them you can identify with in order to get the right help. Another big sign of men going through male menopause is an increased difficulty in sleeping. You might spend half the night tossing and turning, struggling to nod off.

Regular night sweats

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Not only would you have difficulty sleeping, but night sweats can also make an appearance too. Your hormonal imbalance could be to thank for this! Have you noticed much more recently, that you wake up from your sleep and the bed sheets (and you) are completely drenched? Yeah, the reason for that could be the male menopause, don't just dismiss it.

Infertility is one too!

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While a lot of people aren't looking to copulate in their late forties or early fifties, for some, it really is something they'd be looking to do. Perhaps you've waited all your life to have children, or maybe you struggled to have them beforehand. Often, hormonal imbalances can be the cause of infertility in men and this is definitely something you should talk to your doctor about if you're worried.

Reduces levels of energy

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Energy levels can be hard to maintain, even as a youngster, and are generally quite different and vary from person to person. Yet, you might have noticed that your energy levels have seriously depleted just recently, and you just can't even get up to wash the dishes, or take the dog on a walk. No, you're not lazy, you might be going through male menopause!

Height loss!

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While this one is potentially not something you'd consider as a sign of male menopause, it definitely is something that can happen around this stage of life. By the age of 80, it's quite normal for men to lose two inches of their height. However, if you're noticing yourself shrink at an alarming rate by time of your 40s and 50s, then maybe there's something deeper going on.

A change in your concentration

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For those going through the male menopause, experiencing difficulties with concentration might have become apparent. It's easy to just brush it off as ageing, but in actuality there could be a lot more going on than just getting older. Many men who've experienced male menopause have spoken about how much they struggled with their concentration levels.

Hot flushes and sweats

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A lot of women talk about their hot flushes and sweats when they get into menopause age, but did you know that it's not just the women that go through this symptom. The hormonal imbalance that comes with male menopause means that men may also get the same symptoms. You shouldn't disregard or feel ashamed about any of the symptoms listed and if it's worrying you, consult your doctor.

How is it diagnosed?

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So, how does a doctor diagnose you with male menopause, or andropause? Well, if you've been suffering from the symptoms listed, and you're over 35, then you can potentially be assessed for andropause by your doctor. They will typically perform: a physical exam, urinalysis, blood work, and diagnostic imaging. They'll usually have a conversation with you about your medical history too.

How many people suffer with it?

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Unlike menopause in women, the decrease in testosterone and the development of symptoms in men are more gradual. In Canada, it has been observed that a significant proportion of men, specifically over 25% of those aged 40 and above, encounter symptoms associated with andropause. So it's many more men than you think! While not all men will experience this (unlike women), it's still a difficult condition.

Now, ways to combat male menopause...

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According to the NHS, male menopause isn't always something that can develop, but rather, is something that can be caused by a number of different factors. These factors tend to be able to be managed by changing different elements of your lifestyle in order to reinstate the hormonal imbalance that's going inside. It's important to not feel shameful about your male menopause!

Eating a healthy diet

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So in order to help you restore that hormonal imbalance, help with your muscle mass, fat redistribution and general mood, you should try and adopt a decent diet. Your diet should be balanced and not sugar-foods heavy, as this is to blame for a lot of mental health conditions. A good diet can actually go a long way, so don't rule it out immediately.

Reducing stress levels

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Stress can be a nuisance for all sorts of medical conditions, and doctors will always prescribe you with "less stress" for various medical problems. With andropause, that also is the case. Reducing your stress levels (whether that be eliminating stressful factors in your life or taking a step back from work) can really help you restore that hormonal imbalance.

Getting a good amount of sleep

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Even though it might be hard with andropause and the symptoms associated with it, getting a decent (and consistent) amount of sleep each night can really benefit you. The general rule of thumb is that anywhere between 6.5 hours and 8 hours a night is good, but the closer to 8 you can get, the better. Try falling asleep around the same hours too in order to remain consistent.

Exercising regularly

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Exercising regularly has been proven to help with all sorts of mental health conditions, which can be a reason why you're experiencing andropause, or a symptom of andropause itself. Try and push past the barriers that male menopause is throwing at you, in order for you to get the better of it, rather than it get the better of you. You should feel better for it!

Hormone replacement therapy

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Last, but not least, is hormone therapy. This can be utilized if your testosterone levels are really low, and can sometimes be injections, testosterone gel or medication that you take. If you're confused about any of this, or think you might be experiencing male menopause yourself, definitely consult your doctor for a formal diagnosis and treatment path.

How to support anyone going through menopause

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Menopause is a very difficult period of time for someone going through it - it can be confusing on top of every other change happening. The support of people around them is going to be key for working through the menopause stage, whether it's female menopause or male menopause. Here's how you can support someone going through it - and use these tips to be kind to yourself if you're going through it, too!

Learn as much as you can about it

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Just like reading articles like this one, you should arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible to understand what a person going through menopause is going to be experiencing, and what it all means. The better you understand it, the better you're going to be able to support them. Don't depend on them being able to tell you about it, because they might not fully understand it themselves!

Know the symptoms ahead of time

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You can be better prepared for what's to come if you know all the symptoms ahead of time. That way, you won't question when something begins to change, like thinking 'why are they suddenly in a different mood?' or 'why are they hot and uncomfortable, are they ill?' Knowing the symptoms means it will more quickly click into place about what's going on when it happens.

Speak openly about it

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Sometimes, a person going through the menopause might not want to readily talk about it or bring it up. Some people might even feel embarrassed about the changes going on in their body. This is why it can really help if you can be the first person to speak up about it and encourage an honest conversation about it, showing that you don't mind talking about it.

And listening to them is extremely important!

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But it's also important to ensure you're listening as well as speaking, as you don't want to steamroll them by talking about everything you know or everything you think when they're the one going through it. Be ready to listen openly, without butting in and without judgement, when they want to speak about their experience with it and what's happening.

Remind them that they're appreciated

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It's very easy to no longer feel like yourself when you're going through the menopause, because of so many changes happening. This can leave the person feeling a little useless and out of sorts, and this can affect their mental health, too. Small things like reminding them how much they're appreciated and how well they're doing will make a big difference.

Draw attention to their usual, awesome qualities!

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Be sure to not focus too much on the 'negatives' of the menopause, either, and talk about other things - like their usual qualities that make them who they are, the things you usually laugh about, and just a reminder of all the awesome things they've done - and are capable of. It might sound silly, but sometimes they just need that boost of a reminder of who they are normally without feeling these changes.

Understand that symptoms are unique to the person

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This is the thing about menopause: you can do as much research as you need to about the standard symptoms and what to expect, but it's not guaranteed everyone will go through it the same way. Some people might only get some of the symptoms, other might get some of the symptoms much worse than others... you need to understand what that specific person is going through without assuming it's 'standard' menopause.

Do what you can to make the symptoms a little easier

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Once you understand the specific symptoms they're going through that are impacting them negatively, you can then work out what to do to best support them. One of the biggest things you can do is not to take anything personally, because getting offended or angry over their mood swings is only going to make them feel worse. Try to take some of the load off what they're feeling.

Make the changes together

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If there's something they need to do or change to better help with their symptoms, it can be really supportive to do it along with them so they don't feel alone - and so they're more likely to keep up with it. If they need to exercise more or change their diet to manage any health changes or weight changes, it can be helpful if you do this together as a lifestyle choice.

And understand you might have to make changes you're not happy about

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This counts more if you're a couple with one of you going through the menopause, because of the shared living space and bedroom space you'll likely have. With the menopause, it can be common for feelings of discomfort, sleep troubles and hot sweats at night. You might have to make some compromises with how you usually like to sleep, for example, to make them more comfortable.

Build up their self-esteem

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Menopause can result in a lot of physical changes, like hair changes or body image issues, and this can do a number on the person's self esteem. To best support them, do what you can to pick their self-esteem back up and make them feel better about themselves. Make sure to give compliments where you can! And help with confidence boosts in any areas they're struggling.

Resist bad habits in front of them

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If they're trying their hardest to stick to a healthy diet or new exercise routine, or anything that's alleviating their symptoms through their own willpower, it's going to be very difficult for them if they catch you eating a slab of chocolate or watching them work out from your place on the couch. If you're not going to do it together, at the very least just don't rub it in their face!

Make your employees feel comfortable

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If you're an employer, another way you can support people going through menopause is to create an open workplace where they feel comfortable talking about problems they might be having because of menopause symptoms. They might need extra support from their employer through understanding how going through the menopause might impact their work.

Encourage blood tests

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Some people can go through the symptoms of menopause without it actually being that, as sometimes other health conditions can result in symptoms of menopause. Blood tests are a good way to understand what's going on, and why changes are happening in the body, so you can also support someone going through menopause symptoms by talking to them about blood tests if they think they need further investigation.

Look for official support groups

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There are many healthcare providers or support groups that are there to speak with, and support, people going through menopause. There should be one you can find most suited to your circumstance, and this can be a big help if you yourself don't feel equipped to support them in the way they need. Especially for people of different genders going through the menopause, there are tailored groups out there.

Be lenient and patient

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In a close relationship especially, if your partner is having severe mood swings and being a little more difficult than usual, it's hard for you, too, but sometimes you have to practice patience and let a lot of things go with the understanding that they can't help it! There's no point getting into an argument over every mood swing, because that will only make it worse.

Make some s*x life changes

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One of the biggest ways menopause can affect a person - and a couple - is their s*x life. For women going through the menopause, s*x can become more uncomfortable or even painful, and any gender going through it may have a huge dip in libido. So what's important here is working through different ways you can still feel close, if that means changing what you've always done.

Let them control the temperature

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Temperature is going to be one of the biggest struggles for a person going through menopause - and the person living with them who has a completely different idea of hot or cold! But for the sake of making it more comfortable for them, let them have control over the air conditioning, windows open or closed, fans and the thermostat... and just work around it!

Let them decide whether to talk about it

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The last thing they might want is for you to constantly be asking about their symptoms (even if you really mean well) and especially if you talk about it in front of other people when they might not have wanted everyone to know! Be ready to listen when they want to speak about it, but don't make it the topic of every conversation - and let them lead!

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