Male Menopause: Fact or Fiction?
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
An upsurge in media attention recently regarding the so-called "male menopause" has left many men rushing to their doctor to treat symptoms they believe may be related to low levels of testosterone. Also referred to as low-T, andropause, or (its medical name) late-onset hypogonadism, the idea behind the concept of male menopause is that the decline in testosterone levels that occurs as men age may be producing a characteristic and potentially treatable set of symptoms.
But some experts argue that the analogy to the process in women (with some authors even using terminology like "male PMS") has been carried too far. While it is true that testosterone levels do decline as a man ages, the decline in female hormones occurs to a significantly greater extent, and the symptoms in women associated with decreased estrogen levels are known and have been clinically documented for years.
Symptoms of a potential male menopause are less clearly defined. Sexual dysfunction is a common complaint, but other nonspecific symptoms- like depression, mood changes, weight gain, or fatigue- have been interpreted by some as symptoms of a male midlife change....