As many men grow older, they can experience a drop in libido, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, depression and other mental health problems. Whilst these symptoms have been simply attributed to age in the past, many people characterize them as being the result of a ‘male menopause’. It is thought that a drop in the levels of the hormone Testosterone in older men is the cause of these symptoms, which can often affect the self-esteem of men who have been socialized into the belief that masculinity and testosterone are inexorably linked.
Between Fact and Fiction
The term ‘male menopause’ is generally considered to be misleading in medical circles. In biological women, menopause is the term given to the process of a hormonal change the body goes through when a person is no longer reproductively fertile. In biological men, the changes to hormone levels in middle age are often far more subtle. Whilst some men may experience hypogonadism – a lack of testosterone – in late middle age, many more men experience menopause like symptoms because of mental health issues. Late onset hypogonadism is a disorder that can be treated, but that does not need to be for a person to live a happy life.
Age and Vigor
Feeling like you might have a testosterone deficiency in late middle age is perfectly understandable, but most of the time men are affected by analogous symptoms during this time. The ‘mid life crisis’ is a colloquial term for the stress men feel in the middle of their lives. When men look back at their lives, the weight of expectation placed upon them can make them feel like they have not achieved anything of note, like they are alone in the world and like they have let themselves down.
This can lead to depression and anxiety, both of which can affect sexual libido, weight gain and bring on menopause like symptoms. Losing vigor in the middle of your life is not necessarily the sign of having a hormonal deficiency. Talk to your doctor about both your mental and physical health.
The Hormonal Spectrum
Men do not have a set level of testosterone that they must have in order to have active sex lives, a healthy weight and general vigor. Consider it more like a spectrum that is subject to change. As you grow older, you may find yourself with less testosterone driven energy. This is usually fine. However, a serious deficiency can really change your life. Late onset hypogonadism is treatable using testosterone replacement therapy.
Still Worried? Get Tested
If you are concerned about hypogonadism after experiencing male menopause like symptoms, it might be worth seeking low testosterone treatment after first speaking to a doctor to see if it would be wise to seek testosterone replacement therapy, or simply work on your self-acceptance as a person experiencing ageing.
Testosterone replacement therapy comes in several different forms, including injections, patches, and gels. Hormones are extremely powerful things. It is worth considering how increased testosterone might affect your mood and body before going ahead with therapy.
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