Men may not bleed but they go through periodic cycles and the stoppage of the cycles after a certain age.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on January 15, 2020. It has since been updated.
According to Healthline, not just women, men too go through hormonal shifts that give rise to certain signs that are similar to the ones women experience due to their menstrual cycles. While menopause in women marks the end of their ovulation phase, men face a different set of signs which could prove that they are going through hormonal fluctuations. According to Mayo Clinic, as men age, production of testosterone and other hormones declines over a period. Therefore, if you notice signs like changing sleep patterns, lower sex-drive, emotional changes, mood swings, etc., in your partner, they may be going through male menopause or andropause.
In his book Irritable Male Syndrome (IMS), psychotherapist Jed Diamond, Ph.D. explained that men experience hormonal cycles and that’s why these cycles have been described as “man-struation” or the “male period.” Andropause or "male menopause" occurs in men over 50 years of age due to a drop in the level of testosterone. Testosterone not just fuels your sex drive it also fuels changes during puberty, fuels your mental and physical energy, maintains your muscle mass, regulates your fight-or-flight response, and regulates other key evolutionary features.
While debates on the topic of male menopause are still on, many doctors do believe that the oscillating levels of testosterone do produce signs and symptoms in men that could be termed as akin to menopausal. It should also be noted that male-menopause is different than female menopause in various ways. For example, male-menopause does not shut down the reproductive organs of the men. However, it may cause sexual complications and lowered sex-drive.
As the signs of andropause start kicking in, there is a noticeable reduction in sex drive and lowered urge to engage in physically intimate activities, reports WebMD. Apart from that, as the levels of testosterone oscillate during this period you might start noticing a change in your partner's behavior. Frequent mood swings, insomnia, erectile dysfunction, and even depression are some of the symptoms that could affect your relationship if you do not understand the nuances of andropause. It is imperative to be patient with them when they go through this phase. As a partner, you should allow them space, talk to them about the signs, and also take consultation with a doctor.
Sex therapist Dr. Janet Brito, Ph.D. says, “When it comes to andropause, which does show up in the [anecdotal] research, the symptoms tend to be fatigue, low libido, and [it] tends to affect middle-aged men due to low testosterone levels."
- Low energy
- Depression or sadness
- Lack of motivation
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
- Weight gain
- Fatigue or physical weakness
- Gynecomastia, or development of breasts
- Decreased bone density
- Erectile dysfunction
- Low libido
Normally, the symptoms of male-menopause do not cause any major disruption in day-to-day life, but if left unchecked it could reach a certain dangerous level. Therefore, as and when you start noticing the andropausal symptoms in your partner it is important to keep an eye on what he eats. Having a healthy diet always works wonders as it ensures a proper supply of important minerals and nutrients in your body allowing it to be immune and potent against any bodily anomalies.
A healthy diet coupled with regular exercise can help regulate blood pressure, insomnia, anxiety, etc. More often than not, the symptoms act together to increase their effects. Therefore, keeping the body and mind in balance can reduce the signs and symptoms. In addition, other lifestyle changes like reducing the intake of alcohol, getting enough sleep, stress management etc. could help your partner in managing the symptoms better, reports Zavamed.
As per Healthline, most men experience betterment in their overall health by following a healthy lifestyle. Having said that, if your partner feels that managing the signs is a bit too much for him it's best to take a medical professional's consultation. This may include persistent depression, experiencing sleepless nights for a long time, etc. In this case, the doctors mostly prescribe anti-depressants and prescribe a diet and exercise routine. Hormone replacement therapy is another treatment option. However, it’s very controversial. It has some highly damaging effects. For example, if you have prostate cancer, it may cause your cancer cells to grow. Therefore, it is always a good idea to stay in regular touch with your doctor before jumping into conclusions and assuming the worst.