The male menopause

Is there a moment, somewhere between the age of 45 and 55, when men suddenly experience a life-crisis and have to buy Harley-Davidsons or take up skydiving? There have been books written and movies made about male menopause, but is there any science behind the idea?

The physical facts

The sexual drive of a man is at its peak between the ages of 15 and 30 years – that’s when the testosterone level of the average male is at an all-time high. In contrast, it drops to a low during the andropause (the proper name for male menopause).

Testosterone is a hormone (a chemical messenger). Even though women have a small amount of testosterone, it’s the sex hormone responsible for making men…MEN. Testosterone is produced mostly by the testes/testicles, and it’s also known as an androgen.

Young men often have testosterone levels exceeding 1000ng/dl. Now, compare this with 80 year-old men, whose average testosterone level is 200ng/dl. Somewhere in between that is a man in his 50’s with an average testosterone level of, say, 400ng/dl.

Fast facts

  • Men experiencing andropause (male menopause) may have a decreased libido, obvious disinterest in sex, lowered stamina levels and erectile dysfunction.
  • Male menopause is a natural stage in every man’s life, but when the libido decreases it can cause anxiety and depression.
  • Erectile dysfunction most frequently develops after age 65.
  • A man’s state of health can play a significant role too.

Healthy lifestyle makes all the difference

In diabetic men for example, erectile dysfunction (ED) tends to occur on average 10 to 15 years earlier. Diabetic men younger than 30 years of age have been known to experience ED. Blood pressure medication can also make it difficult to get an erection. Some cases of ED blamed on blood pressure medication may actually be caused by arterial damage caused by untreated high blood pressure (hypertension).

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Andropause facts

Many men seek professional help for dealing with the psychological and physical impact of a lack of sex drive. Both men and women need to understand that this male sexual dysfunction does not mean permanent impotence. Being unable to achieve or keep an erection sufficient for intercourse, slow ejaculation, or being unable to reach an orgasm – all these can be treated through proper counselling, medication and positive lifestyle changes.

Medical intervention facts

Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is also used to treat symptoms such as loss of sex drive, and has had noticeable results. Drugs, such as Viagra or bioidentical hormones, may also be considered.

Research shows that the same eating patterns that can cause heart attacks (due to restricted blood flow in the coronary arteries) can also reduce blood flow to and within the penis. Men can improve sexual performance by following a healthy diet which includes a lot of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, heart-healthy fats (including nuts and olive oil), fish and red wine. Also, regular exercise and annual doctor check-ups don’t hurt!