Andropause, also known by some as male menopause, is basically just that. It is the male counterpart to the female’s menopause. The name comes from the fact that testosterone, alone with its metabolites, are known as androgens. Thus, the reduction of these substances that occurs in male bodies as a result of the aging process has been given the term andropause. Testosterone is the hormone that gives the body its male characteristics, causing the voice to deepen and other commonly male characteristics to form during puberty. In one way, andropause can be thought of as the reverse, or opposite, of puberty. Typically the onset of andropause symptoms begins after the age of about 40 or 45.
Andropause symptoms include many symptoms that are common in menopause. Fatigue, reduced libido, moodiness, sexual dysfunction, hot flashes, trouble sleeping, and loosing bone mass are all possibilities. Given the fact that symptoms usually occur around the same age that menopause does for women, it is no wonder the term male menopause has been used to describe it. The difference is that because this occurs naturally with aging, and to such varying degrees between individuals, doctors may not immediately recognize these issues for what they are and attribute them to some other, more widely considered conditions.
Another issue that makes andropause symptoms difficult to diagnose for what they are is that not all males suffer from it. While most do see a decline in testosterone production in the later years of life, many never notice is or see any symptoms. This is the key factor that keeps doctors from immediately jumping to the andropause conclusion when some of the common symptoms are present. For example, depression can be caused by a number of things, and many medications used to treat depression hinder sexual function or cause decreased libido.
Though these are obviously all three andropause symptoms, andropause may not be the first culprit that a physician considers. Rather he may change the depression medication or suggest ways to increase libido naturally. The best way to know for certain whether symptoms are being caused by andropause is to do a blood test. If testosterone levels are low, hormone replacement therapy has been shown to be able to successfully reduce and in some cases eliminate the symptoms of andropause. Another option could be natural supplements. Though there are no conclusive studies, some claim that they have used them and found them to work well.