Yes, Guys, There Really Is Such a Thing As ‘Manopause’

manWomen aren’t the only ones who suffer from hormonal changes in middle age, leading to weight gain, crankiness and changes in their sex lives. Men have their own version, dubbed male menopause or, as some experts are calling it, “manopause.”

(Your doctor is probably going to call it “andropause” or “hypogonadism,” but where’s the fun in that?)

Unlike women, men experience hormonal changes gradually over many years, starting at about age 40, writes sexuality counselor and author Ian Kerner for CNN.com. A man’s testosterone slowly begins to decline at that age, reaching about 50 percent less by the time he is 80.

As for the term “manopause,” endocrinologist Stanley Korenman, of UCLA’s School of Medicine, writes that he actually prefers it over “male menopause” because he feels it better describes the gradual “age-related alterations” that occur to men.

The symptoms of those “alterations” can include irritability, weight gain, erectile issues and lower sexual desire, many of which can have a major impact on both a man’s sex life and his personal relationship.

So what can a guy do for manopause (or andropause)? Kerner writes that men might want to get their testosterone levels checked, although the range for “normal” is huge — from 270 to 1,070 nanograms — and the level can fluctuate throughout the day.

Just as there are various hormone replacement therapies for women, “there’s also testosterone replacement therapy for men,” Kerner writes, although he adds that these therapies “should be explored cautiously.”

Testosterone replacement has side effects and can increase a man’s risk of prostate disease.

Safer, non-medical ways to boost testosterone include regular exercise, especially weight-lifting to build muscle, plus sufficient sleep, managing stress and getting enough zinc in your diet.

From AARP

Photo credit: Piddy77 via flickr.com