Do Men Go Through Change of Life?

What's Male Menopause?


Many people think that "male menopause" is a contradiction in terms and usually refer to it as a joke to describe a man's midlife crisis.

However, truth be told, there is some validity in this term that accurately describes physiological changes that occur in men similar to midlife changes that occur in women.

Traditionally, women have been the gender that was referred to as going through the "change" which actually meant the change of life. This was a term coined decades ago to describe the time when a woman's ability to conceive or reproduce had ceased.

More succintly though, usually the "change" was referred to when describing certain changes in a woman's personality, her body and even her mental outlook. Most all of these changes have a direct relationship to the decreasing hormone levels in a woman's body.

So why can't men have the same decreasing hormone levels and experience a syndrome very much like menopause in women? They do and in fact, more and more studies are showing that it can be as traumatic and as life-changing an event as it is for women.

One of the main reasons that health care providers and the everyday person haven't given it much thought is because men can go on fathering children well into their 80s, maybe even beyond. For that simple reason alone, much research wasn't really devoted to figuring out how men's bodies change in a very similar fashion to women's as they age.

Change of life in men is known as andropause.
Change of life in men is known as andropause. | Source

Aging and Testosterone Levels


Have you ever wondered in the last decade why so many men are on Viagra and Cialis? It's struck me as odd for some that there are all these men who all of a sudden have erectile dysfunction.

Millions of dollars in little blue pills aside, scientists and pathologists have coined the new phrase for male menopause as andropause.

This word sums up what is really at the root of most of these so-called ED problems and why so many men are having a tough time facing the aging process.

Just as in women, men start to experience a decrease in testosterone starting at around age 30. It's estimated that men lose on average at least 1-2% of their testosterone per year after that.

So by the time a man reaches the ripe old age of 50, he's feeling the loss of guy hormones much like women start to miss their girl hormones.

Exactly as it is for women, men also begin to experience physical changes.

While menopause and andropause are of course two different things, in reality, they have some similar symptoms like:

  • hair loss
  • irritability
  • weight gain--especially in the middle part of the body
  • lack of energy
  • moodiness
  • fatigue
  • lack of libido or sex drive
  • erectile dysfunction or impotence
  • depression
  • mood swings
  • decreased muscle mass
  • bone loss or decrease in bone density
  • forgetfulness
  • memory loss
  • temperature changes--yes men can have cool and hot flushes

Studies also show that low testosterone levels may have an impact on increased morbidity rates from cancer and cardiovascular disease in men.

How Can You Treat Andropause?


Again, much like in the feminine version of decreasing hormonal levels called menopause, andropause can be treated with hormonal therapy--namely testosterone or androgen.

However, the down side of hormonal therapy for men is that it can increase the risk of certain cancers such as prostate cancer. This is an identical parallel to women who take hormonal therapy to combat symptoms of menopause and face the increased risk of breast and uterine cancers.

So what's a man to do?

The answers lie in being honest about feelings and symptoms. Sometimes that's more difficult for men to do than it is for women but it's essential. Talking it over with a medical professional is key and checking blood levels is a great place to start.

Monitoring should be done to keep an eye on bone density to guard against bone loss and risk of factures.

Without hormonal therapy, testosterone levels can be supplemented by natural products such as Provacyl which is a natural supplement in pill form. It doesn't require a prescription because it's an herbal supplement.

Other herbals such as ginkgo biloba and vitamin E are also said to increase sex drive and offer relief of symptoms such as memory loss.

Some foods are said to naturally increase testosterone levels and some lifestyle changes may help as well. See the table below.

Lifestyle modification such as getting appropriate weightbearing, regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, staying at the correct weight, and not drinking, smoking or doing drugs also help fight some of the more prominent symptoms of andropause.

Most of all, being honest about the changes that he feels occurring in his body is the front line treatment for men as they age. Contrary to being a sign of weakness, it's a sign of a man's character when he can admit that he has a physical problem and doesn't relegate it to work stress or a midlife crisis.

No one likes playing "beat the clock" but as we age, there are some simple cold, hard facts that we all have to face. Our bodies don't feel the same way they did 10 or 20 years ago. They don't respond the same way they did at that age either.

Understanding the process is part of the "cure." In order to work on something and make it work better, you have to recognize the symptoms and then formulate a plan of action.

Whether we can in fact reverse all the effects of aging is doubtful, but there's no reason why healthy men can't enjoy a happy, enjoyable lifetime beyond male menopause. The same is true for women.

Lifestyle Changes to Boost Testosterone


  • sleep--if deprived of sleep, testosterone levels decrease dramatically the older you get and is the #1 cause for decreased testosterone levels--without good sleep, your body can't rebuild and that includes testosteronekeep a good weight but don't become underweight
  • get rid of belly fat but keep it to a slow weight loss--1 or 2 pounds per week
  • low-carb high protein diets can affect testosterone negatively
  • drinking can kill your testosterone levels--moderation is the key--never more than 2 or 3 drinks per day if you want to keep your testosterone up
  • give up smoking--and think about the drugs prescription or otherwise you put into your body--these have a negative effect on testosterone
  • skipping meals can have an adverse effect on testosterone so eat regularly
  • recommended diets include those high in zinc and monounsaturated fats
  • weight lifting is known to build muscle mass but also try jumping rope or other gym exercises
  • don't stress the same muscles two days in a row when working out--it stresses muscles and decreases testosterone production--allow recovery time after heavy exercise
  • build muscle but instead of many reps, do less reps with more weight
  • have morning sex
  • use it or lose it--set aside time for regular sexual activity to maintain testosterone levels
  • don't cut all the fat from your diet--you need fats to produce testosterone
  • regular exercise of at least 1 hour per day--aerobic exercise at least 3 times per week--try cycling, walking, swimming, hiking or running
  • do compete--challenge yourself mentally, physically or do something "outside the box" like sky diving or something you've always wanted to do
  • avoid negative stress
  • got sun? Studies show that vitamin D increases testosterone so make it a point to get out in the sun every day

Foods That Increase Testosterone


  • lean beef
  • poultry--white meat
  • oysters
  • eggs
  • omega 3's--think salmon
  • cottage cheese
  • beans
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • cabbage
  • brussels sprouts
  • garlic
  • nuts--nuts are recommended as a bedtime snack--just a handful of protein packed nuts are said to increase testosterone
  • whole grains
  • avoid soy! In women, soy is not recommended due to changes in hormone levels and in men soy lowers testosterone levels--there are studies currently ongoing about the high levels of soy in our diets and the health risks associated with it

Think natural state as much as possible, grilled or broiled not fried.

It's said that men over 30 should balance calories between protein, carbs and fats--in that order.

Avoiding carbohydrate packed foods which are also high on the glycemic index and bad for men as they age will help you boost your testosterone.

High protein and moderate levels of fat are necessary for enhancing testosterone which in turns builds muscle--at any age.

Source

Monitoring Testosterone Levels


According to the video below, a testosterone level below 300 can signal the onset of the symptoms of andropause.

Check with your doctor and have standardized testosterone tests. These can easily be added to blood work panels and should be part of routine health maintenance for men along with PSA levels.

Make sure you ask if there are any criteria for lab work, such as not having intercourse for 48 hours before testing, as in the PSA test. Certain levels can be skewed by sexual activity, so it's important to know the facts before you have levels tested.

Even if hormonal therapy is not being used, lab work is a good way to track the aging man's testosterone levels and to also determine what effect, if any, lifestyle modifications and/or diet has on increasing testosterone.

Most importantly, remember that men and women as they age face the same kinds of issues. Being open and honest with your medical provider is a great step towards dealing with decreasing testosterone levels but also realizing that it's a normal part of life...the change of life...is key.

Normal Testosterone Levels According to Quest Diagnostics

Men of Age
Total Testerone
Free Testosterone
Bioavailable Testosterone
18-69
250-1100
46-224
110-575
70-89
90-890
6-73
15-150

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Comments 20 comments

akirchner profile image

akirchner 3 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Hi Superfly...no as much as we'd like to count junk food as meals...it doesn't help us much~


superfly47 profile image

superfly47 3 years ago from Canada

Something else to look forward to as I age.

I like your collection of tips, not skipping meals is something I need to work on. (I don't count junk food as meals)


akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Dolores - yes indeed--that might account for the grouchiness~ I know Bob at 65 is a little more "testy" at times than he ever was. Of course, I can be the same way and I find that we end up saying "I'm sorry" a lot more~ Just towards the end of the day you both get worn out and think you're just not as resilient as we once were~ Thanks for stopping in and good luck with hubby's diet---we spend a lot of time concentrating on that ourselves these days!


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 4 years ago from East Coast, United States

Hi Audrey - I remember when I was a kid, how so many of the fathers seemed to be a bunch of old grouches. Now I know why! I must attend to my husband's diet and make sure he has the right foods - don't want to live with a grouch!


akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Crewman - thanks for the compliment. I have a friend who says I have a knack for making lemonade from lemons so maybe that's just that trait coming to the forefront...while I lay embarrassed on the ground with my idiot dogs looking down at me going "what? how did you get down there, mom?"

I do figure if you can't just laugh at yourself, you'd best just stay in bed~ Life is too short and Bob kinda taught me early on in our marriage that nothing was so devastating that you couldn't (eventually sometimes) just laugh about it. It beats crying!


Crewman6 profile image

Crewman6 4 years ago

What an image- But I can relate. Bifocals are useless when you have to look downward to your feet. Somehow, though, you always turn these things into a great story, giving you endless material to write about. I don't exactly wish the for 'excitement' you go through, but you have a distinct flair for describing the events afterward. Way to turn a weakness into a strength!


akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Rhonda...ah indeed...sadly perception turns into reality. I did go over these things with Bob and he actually felt a little "relieved" to know it wasn't his imagination~~~ All men (like women) of course are different but wishing you happy trails. Life is tough sometimes and it makes it so much easier when the person you choose to spend the rest of your days with actually is on the same page. Thanks so much for the kind words and sending virtual hugs~


toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 4 years ago

Hi Audrey, You really covered this hub in depth. I totally agree that men go through a change of life. My husband put me through it twice, but has never admitted he is going through anything. This first time, ears ago, wasn't fun. This second time is worse. I would show him this hub, but since he tells me everything is my fault, it doesn't pay. But enough about me. This is a very educational article on a topic that needs more public awareness. Thanks for putting all this info together. Great job!


akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Ha ha on the chasing Gabby and Griff~~ Actually it's only about 175 between the 2 of them or 180 give or take a few hairs here and there...and yes indeed, the older I get the slower I get or the less graceful.

I was actually walking Gabby today - and it was going swimmingly with the new Easy Leader I hooked her up to although it is rather like walking a horse with all the head throwing. A dog off leash came barreling towards us and in my usual graceful way, I managed to somehow back up and get my own leg caught in the leash and fall down...I don't need any help apparently creating a scene no matter where I go or what I do--happily no dogs were hurt in the relating of this story nor in the actual event. Only old lady pride AGAIN took a beating....it just never ends. My son asked me recently in the parking lot what I was doing laying on the ground--same kinda deal--bifocals I find do not give me an adequate "picture" of 2 dog leashes (apparently) so quite often when I go to step over, I'm actually stepping INTO my doom....I told him I was looking under the car for oil spills.


Crewman6 profile image

Crewman6 4 years ago

I've always been keenly aware of the benefits of doing things slowly, and at my own pace. Getting older just means I finally have a reason for it. Cleaning the ENTIRE house in one day? I've heard of that, but never believed in it.

On the other hand, chasing after a 200-pound dog... with full intent of actually CATCHING that dog... it's very possible you've got more testosterone than I EVER did.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Ah yes - that's when we know we are aged....when we are too smart to buy into these things~ It has it's ups and downs...my only problem is I hate not being able to do some of the stuff I want to do as quickly or as well....like running after 200 pounds of dog and actually getting there in the same day~~~ Or cleaning my ENTIRE house in a day rather than 3~~~ But it does give one pause (or paws) to stop and smell the roses more and that isn't a bad thing....


Crewman6 profile image

Crewman6 4 years ago

Greatly researched article. I completely agree that men go through their own version, but in comparing my symptoms with Monique's, I have to say I think she suffers from it more so than I do. On the positive side, lower testosterone often accompanies reduced 'drama' in my life. Not entirely sure I miss it! :^)


akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Virginia - how funny - I hope Bob doesn't opt for a sports car---our 20-year-old Legend is small enough and my malamutes (seriously they do ride in it with me) look silly enough~~~

As to the going blond...I did that - now back to my natural color~~ minus the gray---oh the joys of growing older--but it does beat the alternative!


VirginiaLynne profile image

VirginiaLynne 4 years ago from United States

Such an interesting Hub! I knew that men did go through changes but I didn't realize it was so similar to women's changes. Since my husband and I are both in our 50s we are definitely feeling the "change." He recently bought a used miata. Sort of makes you feel young to drive a sportscar, but of course it also makes you feel old because only old people usually own sportscars. I'm seriously thinking about going blonde.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks, BJ and yes, I think Don was speaking of it being female though the article really isn't about that~ My other article was of course but ah well....manopause is a great term too. Kind of makes me think of the old Seinfeld and "man-bro..." All things are relative I guess...we're young, we age and then everything goes south but it surely beats the alternative~


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

Excellent examination (pardon the expression), Audrey, of the subject of 'male menopause.' Maybe we should call it 'manopause.'

With reference to Don's comment of 'going through it twice,' maybe he has been married more than once. Hmmm?


akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Oh I see - you were speaking of the change and how it is female...you are right Don - we do put up with a lot~~


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 4 years ago from Ruskin Florida

- Thanks for your forbearance of my attempt at jest as a male.

I have been married for 45 years and my wife and I have gone through a lot of things together, some good, and some bad, very bad. But, I will say that, from the perspective of a simple male; God Bless all Women! away? Because they put up with us males if nothing else!


akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Don - too funny - how could you be pulled through it though? Hormonally speaking? I don't want to get too personal here~~~

I think all of us women are there too though--gotta love "The Change" or how to start growing hair in places you never knew you had and change your body into a pear overnight~

I guess women go through it "technically" twice if they have children too - nothing funny about hormones except that we all seem to have to endure some of this humiliation no matter what~

But as I always say...my philosophy is...it beats the alternative hands down~

Wishing you many more healthy, manful years!!! And I shall hope for myself not to have a full moustache by age 60~


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 4 years ago from Ruskin Florida

Hell, Brother, I have been PULLED through it ....... TWICE NOW!

Write a Hub on that!

Use a title like; The Change! or How to Kill a Man!

LOL!

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