What is andropause? Many people are unfamiliar with this term, but you may be familiar with the phrase male menopause. So the easy answer to the question, what is andropause? is to say it’s male menopause. However, you also will hear male menopause referred to as “low T,” with “T” meaning testosterone.
In the struggle for equality between the sexes, one thing the medical profession can contribute to the discussion is the fact that women are not alone when it comes to menopause. Male menopause or the so-called “change of life” that men experience is akin to, but in some ways quite different from, female menopause. So if someone asks, “Do men go through menopause?” the answer is yes.
What is andropause like for men?
Andropause in men typically occurs between the ages of 40 and 60, but men as young as 30 may begin to experience male menopause symptoms. The kinship between andropause and menopause lies in the fact that both life changes involve a decline in sex hormone levels. However, whereas women’s sex hormone levels drop dramatically with menopause, in men production of the male sex hormone testosterone begins a gradual decline after age 40.
According to Michael A. Werner, MD, a specialist in male infertility, erectile dysfunction and sexual dysfunction, andropause occurs in 2% to 5% of men ages 40 to 49, rises to 6% to 30% in men ages 50 to 59, reaches 20% to 45% in men 60 to 69, and is found in up to 70% of men ages 70 to 79. Once men reach their 80s, andropause rates top 90%.
Andropause is associated with a variety of symptoms, and not all men will experience all the symptoms. Those symptoms typically include changes in the body, mood, energy levels, sex drive, attitude, and endurance. Declining testosterone levels also place men at increased risk for various health problems, such as heart disease and osteoporosis. Overall, the best answer to the question, what is andropause? is that it is a time of transition and change in an aging man’s life.