Is there such a thing as male menopause?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Men don’t get hot flashes, but they may get too cool, at least when it comes to sexual desire. As men age, their testosterone levels take a slow-motion nosedive, and sexual desire, including the ability to get an erection, can fizzle. Unlike menopause in women, male menopause doesn’t come on like a tsunami. Male menopause is subtle like a tide going out. This natural transition also affects men differently. Low testosterone levels affect about one in eight men in their 50s, one in four in their 60s, nearly one in three in their 70s, and half of men in their 80s.
The male equivalent to menopause is andropause, which is a steady drop in the levels of male sex hormones that affect fertility, sexual desire and sexual performance. The male biological clock doesn't strike midnight and stop like the female clock, it just slowly unwinds.

The effects on fertility and sexual performance in men can be significant. For example, men 35 or older have half the chance of fathering a child within 12 months, compared with a man who is a younger than 30. In addition, as men age, the genetic quality of their sperm declines significantly.
Marina Johnson
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism

Andropause, is a disorder that occurs in about 30% of men. While menopause occurs in 100% of women, men have the potential to be virile up until their 80’s and 90’s. There is well- documented evidence of paternity achieved by men over 90 years of age. Nonetheless, there appears to be an age-associated decline in testosterone production in many men.

Lower testosterone levels may begin as early as the 40’s and 50’s. This been referred to as male menopause or Andropause. If a man has a permanent decline in testosterone production, it should be treated. However, in contradistinction to women, male menopause can be a reversible phenomenon.

Men notice the decline in sexual function but often don’t realize that low testosterone can also lead to decreased mental focus and concentration, poor sleep and loss of muscle with accompanying increase in belly fat. Seek the help of an endocrinologist if these symptoms develop. 

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Male menopause, or andropause, is a term used to describe the gradual decline of testosterone as a man ages. In this video, Erik Goluboff, MD, a urologist at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, discusses male menopause.
Male menopause is a misnomer or an inaccurate term describing a decline in testosterone in older men. Unlike female menopause, where estrogen is completely deficient, with clinically well established changes and consequenses, testosterone levels only decline modestly in men as they age with clinical consequences that are not well-established. The term is more accurately called testosterone deficiency in older men, also referred to as late-onset hypogonadism or andropause. Testosterone treatment is controversial given that it is unknown whether treatment can reverse the age related decline in any function and treatment may exacerbated other age-related conditions like an enlarged prostate.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.