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The answer is both yes and no. In the strictest sense, men don't normally experience the precipitous drop in reproductive hormones that marks a woman's midlife. Although testosterone -- the hormone responsible for a man's libido and fertility, as well as his deep voice and facial hair -- does taper off as a man ages, the process happens gradually. After about age 25, the level of testosterone in the blood diminishes by an average of 1% each year. But this fact means little in itself because actual levels can fluctuate dramatically from person to person. It's not impossible for a man in his 70s to be able to father a child.
The official term is andropause, says Dr. Mehmet Oz, Vice-Chair and Professor of Surgery at Columbia University.
Dr. Oz explains that women go through menopause when their ovaries stop producing eggs and cause estrogen and progesterone levels to change. Similarly, when men go through andropause, testosterone levels begin to drop. "The amount of testosterone you have at age 60 is a fraction of what you have at age 20. So when that testosterone level begins to drop, you start to see the changes that often afflict men as they get older. They start to lose their muscle mass. They don't have the vitality they used to have. They don't have the virility, either. They're not as sexually active."
Fortunately, at least a quarter of men do not experience these symptoms, Dr. Oz says. "The reality is, things like sleeping, which is critically important to restoring growth hormones and allowing you to maintain normal hormone levels, and exercise, especially if you can do it for an hour a day, are incredibly important in changing your life cycle so that you start to behave like you're 20 years younger."
This content originally appeared on doctoroz.com
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