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What is male menopause?

Madeleine M. Castellanos, MD
Psychiatry
In so-called "male menopause," men experience a decline in sex hormones (testosterone). Male menopause is more subtle than female menopause, but it can carry its own sexual side effects. Although some men are not bothered by low testosterone, many men with lower levels of testosterone find that their libido has gone south. That's because testosterone is truly the hormone that stokes the flames of desire.

Men can develop a decline in hormone levels similar to women experiencing menopause, albeit more subtle and less acute. Starting around the age of 40, men experience a drop in testosterone levels. It is estimated that 30% of men over 50 have testosterone levels low enough to put them at risk for  "Andropause."

On the other hand, there are many men who have low testosterone to begin with, be it because of chromosomal disorders or other, external factors.

Men undergoing treatment for prostate cancer may also have - intentionally - decreased testosterone levels. While the low levels are good for prostate cancer, there are significant metabolic effects that need to be monitored. While the natural decline in testosterone levels is often referred to as Andropause, the general term for patients with low testosterone for any reason is hypogonadism.

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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.