Contrary to popular belief, menopause is not just a female problem. Male menopause – the nickname for late-onset hypogonadism that occurs as a man’s testosterone levels wane with age – can mimic its female counterpart and include symptoms such as hot flashes, disrupted sleep, fatigue, and flagging libido, as well as moodiness.
Low testosterone levels affect as much as 25 percent of middle-aged men, making the condition more common than it may seem. However, unlike the rapid changes women experience, the decline in testosterone happens more gradually which can make symptoms difficult to spot and attribute to the correct cause. Being more tired and not sleeping well may lead you to think that you need a new mattress or should cut back on the caffeine. Because of hot flashes, you may think the room is warmer or you’re coming down with a fewer. And your flagging libido could potentially be related to that fatigue or increased stress. (Siberian secret refuels energy from within.)
As these symptoms are all so general and easy to overlook, hypogonadism (insufficient production of testosterone) can be overlooked and leave its sufferers confused and agitated. Luckily, a simple blood test performed by your doctor will tell you if your testosterone levels are lower than average, and there are treatments available to get your levels back to where they should be to relieve symptoms.
However, these treatments have proven most effective in men who have been diagnosed with conditions like testicular cancer – and the merit of treating men with low testosterone due to aging is still up for debate. In the guidelines released by the Endocrine Society, it is recommended that physicians only prescribe medical testosterone therapy for men who are experiencing consistently low levels, and significant sexual and physical complications. (Boost your testosterone naturally with this one thing.)
While menopause has historically been associated with women as their estrogen levels drop around the middle age, research has shown that men may experience a similar phenomenon known as male menopause. As testosterone levels wane, so does the patient’s energy, libido, and quality of sleep, severely disrupting quality of life in some cases. Many doctors have begun screening for lower testosterone levels as part of an annual physical, and there are options to treat this hormone imbalance if it is deemed extreme enough to negatively affect your physical, mental, and sexual performance.
Related: 5 sure-fire ways to boost your libido