Male Menopause: Fact or Fiction?
"Male menopause is a lot more fun than female menopause. With female menopause you gain weight and get hot flashes. Male menopause - you get to date young girls and drive motorcycles." (11)
While 'male menopause' has provided both sexes a variety of jokes and frustration, there are researchers and scientists studying the alleged condition with great seriousness. Those who support the existence of male menopause feel strongly that its affects on the male mind and body should be regarded with the same credence that society attributes to the female menopause.
Male Menopause begins with declining testosterone levels and is eventually characterized by the following symptoms: hair loss, depression, a slower immune system, weight gain, less stamina for physical activity, forgetfulness, irritability, and loss of or reduced interest in sex. (5) Impotence may also occur. Usually this "change" arises between the ages of 40 and 55, although it has been known to transpire as early as 35 and as late as 65. (6) Several different clinical terms exist for the popularized term "male menopause" such as "andropause" or "viropause". (2) Andropause was named for the hormone "androgen" which is essentially testosterone. It is also the name of the therapy with which they treat a man suffering from male menopause. This treatment comes in the form of injection, skin patches or liquid gel. (5) In order to be diagnosed with male menopause, one must have reached the eligible age then endure a physical exam wherein blood samples will be taken. These samples are tested for hormone levels. If these blood samples demonstrate low levels of androgen and the patient seems to be suffering from the symptoms associated with male menopause, a physician will most likely prescribe a proper hormone replacement treatment.
There are a number of arguments against the possibility of there existing such a thing as "male menopause". First, it has been estimated that approximately 25 million American men are currently going through male menopause and researchers expect that number to double by the year 2020. (6) However this hypothesized statistic does not seem realistic. Such a statement implies that more men will go through the change in the future than are going through it today. How can the number of men afflicted double? It is not contagious, and there is no biological proof that such a gene exists that may help yield the affects of male menopause.
The second objection to the term "male menopause" is that it does not occur in ALL men as it does in all women. At least, research does not show it affecting all men. In a woman's case, she is biologically predestined to endure menopause. Her chance of escaping the most feared female phase of life is as unlikely as men ever attending Bryn Mawr undergrad. For men, there is a percentage that applies to male menopause, for females it is simply a fact of life.
Lastly, the term menopause has...