Manopause: PMS for Men
Menopause For Men May Be a Real Thing
***Exaggerated definition follows***
"A mental condition typically found in men in their mid to late 50's brought on by the realization that old age is just around the corner. Symptoms include: frequent reminiscing about the “good ol’ days”, cranky judgmental attitude and a closed minded approach to anything new. Usually punctuated by the chronic need to play a lot of golf and vote republican. The condition is difficult to cure and almost always progresses into old-timers disease." 1
The term man-opause is often applied when a middle-aged man behaves in ways contrary to their typical natures. Some people erroneously use this and similar terms to explain mid-life crisis', divorce, and adultery to name a few, assuming that the male version is similar to the female version. In actuality, the two could not be more different.
Understand Her To Understand Him.
Real menopause is characterized by a sudden onset and rapid decrease in hormones due to a complete shutdown of the female reproductive system. The chemical reaction within the body is extreme and oftentimes responsible for erratic behavior and mood swings. While the physical side effects are numerous and well-documented, the emotional aspect can be more disruptive and much harder to chart.
During menopause a woman has many physiological changes taking place, added to those is the underlying fact that this is the loss of their gift, the reproductive ability. Many women see menopause as the hour in which the biological clock strikes it's last, and thus it becomes a de facto deadline in their lives. In the same way that pregnancy illustrates the supreme essence of womanhood to most women, the loss of this gift is likened to the stripping of a woman's purpose and can be extremely difficult to come to terms with. The silver lining comes in the form of the cessation of the menstrual cycle and a knowledge that the transition is temporary.
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The Science Behind Menopause For Men
Men do not have the luxury, if you will, to blame their behavior on a sudden drop in testosterone. It is a fact that male hormones are lost gradually beginning around age 30 and continuing a downward rate of 1% per year for the rest of their lives.2 The androgen, or testosterone-like hormones, of men in their 70s was shown to have decreased by as much as 50%.
The changing chemistry within the body is a physical process that has a profound influence over the individual. A woman may experience any or all of these side effects within a relatively short period of time, but for men it is important to remember that these manifest themselves over time, from as early as a man's 40s and onward. The most common physical side effects of manopause are-
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of libido
- Hot flashes and sweating
These side effects may ebb and flow, or they may stay. It is not uncommon to experience more than one of these symptoms, and many others that are reported in lesser numbers, at the same time. Each side effect will typically call for its own treatment. A rule of thumb in the medical field is to treat the sickness and not the symptoms, but in the case of the laws of aging it is a fight that cannot be won, because lets face it, none of us are going to make it out of this alive..
Emotional & Mental Effects
This loss of testosterone can have life-changing mental and emotional effects on a man that may be considered more severe than the physical ones. For example, along with erectile dysfunction will come the embarrassing frustrations and feelings of inadequacy that are commonly associated with sexual performance issues. For a man, being unable to satisfy their spouse can be one of the most psychologically-tormenting and unpreventable side effects of the aging process. Several of the most significant and influential of these non-physical side effects of manopause include:
- Mood swings
- Memory impairment
- Lack of focus
- Feelings of Inadequacy
Debunking The Lingo Behind Male Menopause
There are several often-used terms to describe a man's hormonal changes during aging and they include manopause, andropause, and hypogonadism . Of course, humorous and derogatory versions are numerous.
Simply put, hypogonadism describes the medical condition in which an aging man has lower levels of testosterone than he should. Typically, this term has been used to explain a significant reduction of male hormones beyond that which is considered normal even at old age. It has always been a doctor's response to the Male PMS question.
The term manopause came from the general public borrowing from the female's phenomenon to try to explain a man's crazy mid-life breakdown, moody behavior, or personality changes.
Andropause is the medical community's compromise3 on the popular insistence that men experience a physiological and chemical about-face similar to menopause. As androgen is the name for the hormones in the body responsible for the traits that make a man manly4, and the loss of these hormones has an effect similar to menopause without the rapid onset and intensity, so andropause was the logical name for the process.
Coping With and Treating Male Menopause
Men experience a gradual decrease in their manly hormone testosterone over the course of their lives. These drops may be greater at some points when motivated by outside factors such as drinking excessively, smoking, stress, lack of exercise, and bad nutrition. A complete dedication to healthy living can significantly reduce the rate at which testosterone is lost in aging men.5
There are medications and supplements that have shown positive results in restoring natural testosterone levels, and everyone is familiar with the little blue pill that provides the extra umph necessary for intimacy. Many doctors treat low testosterone with injections of the hormone to temporarily provide the energy and vigor that is lost to father Time.
Overcoming Male Menopause With Dieting and Exercise
Men can combat the onset and speed at which they lose their precious testosterone by remaining healthy and active and avoiding destructive habits. There is no stopping the aging process, but awareness is the first phase in treatment. Enjoyment can be experienced throughout the term of a man's life regardless of testosterone levels, determination and will overcome any other anchors.
More From This Author on Men's Health
- Breast Cancer and Men
While women comprise the majority, they are not the only victims of breast cancer. This indiscriminate killer grows in 1 in every 1000 men in the US. But precautions can be taken, lives can be saved.
References and Sources
© 2012 Steven P Kelly