What Is Andropause or “Male Menopause”?

By (embryologist) and (fertility counselor).
Last Update: 01/13/2015

The andropause is a concept that we can find ever since the forties in medic literature. However, its usage in the society linked to male ageing it’s quite recent.

It’s the stage in the life of men in which there’s a gradual decrease of the testosterone production (male hormone synthesised in the testicles). As a consequence, the sexual capacities, strength and abilities of men are also reduced.

Provided bellow is an index with the 4 points we are going to expand on in this article.

At what age does andropause begin?

From 30 on the testosterone will have decreased 1% of the total, until reaching a decrease of 50% around the age of 70. On the other hand, the globulin that transports the sexual hormones, SHBG (sex hormone-binding globulin), increases as testosterone decreases, binding to it and preventing it from doing its function.

This concept is comparable to female menopause, but the difference lies in the fact that the period of time is longer, and the mood swings and symptoms are less extreme as in female menopause. Nevertheless, the main difference is that men don’t lose their fertility with andropause, it’s merely diminished. Several studies have proved that men over 50 are still fertile.

Male menopause

Andropause symptoms

Andropause tends to be ignored as the symptoms can be confused with stress. Furthermore, many men have issues admitting that they have a problem related with their male sexual hormones. Besides, as there’s great variety of testosterone levels among healthy men, not all of them will experience the same changes. Nonetheless, the most common symptoms are:

  • Depression and sleep alterations.
  • Decrease in sexual desire.
  • Emotional, psychological and behavioral changes.
  • Less body resistance and body mass.
  • Increase in the body fat in the middle and upper part of the body.
  • Cardiovascular and osteoporosis risk.
  • Osteoporosis or weak bones and back pain.
  • Loss of genital hair.

Andropause and symptoms

Andropause treatment

In order to relieve the symptoms of this ageing stage, testosterone should be administered. It can be administered orally, or topically as gel in shoulders and abdomen, or through intramuscular injections.

It’s important to take the prostate into account during this treatment and never administrate testosterone to patients with prostate tumours or enlargement of the prostate.

As a complement to the treatment with testosterone and to relieve the symptoms, it’s important to follow these tips:

  • Maintain sexual activity as it will avoid the dysfunction problems.
  • Exercise to decrease stress.
  • Share the feelings with friends and with the partner.
  • A diet rich in vitamins and minerals, and rest enough.
  • Decrease or avoid the consumption of caffeine, tobacco and alcohol.

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 Clara Miret Lucio
Clara Miret Lucio
B.Sc., M.Sc.
Bachelor's Degree in Pharmacy from the University of Valencia (UV). Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the UV. Experience as a pharmacist and embryologist specialized in Reproductive Medicine at Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI), and currently at Equipo Juana Crespo (Valencia, Spain). More information about Clara Miret Lucio
Adapted into english by:
 Sandra Fernández
Sandra Fernández
B.A., M.A.
Fertility Counselor
Bachelor of Arts in Translation and Interpreting (English, Spanish, Catalan, German) from the University of Valencia (UV) and Heriot-Watt University, Riccarton Campus (Edinburgh, UK). Postgraduate Course in Legal Translation from the University of Valencia. Specialist in Medical Translation, with several years of experience in the field of Assisted Reproduction. More information about Sandra Fernández

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