Causes of Male Menopause

As mentioned, it is generally believed that male menopause is a result of the gradual decline in testosterone levels which happens as a man gets older. Most men do have a slight drop in testosterone with age but not all men have such a drop in testosterone levels to develop symptoms.

So why do some men develop male menopausal symptoms and others don’t? A study done in Australia in 2011 concluded that decreasing testosterone levels may be as a result of and not the cause of, deteriorating health and pathological symptoms found in older men. What this means is that they suggest that testosterone levels should not decrease (or not decrease so much) to cause symptoms in a healthy, fit, ageing man. It is rather other causes like obesity, stress, poor diet, other sicknesses and lack of exercise which causes testosterone levels to drop so low that symptoms related to decreased testosterone develop. This study found that testosterone can be within the normal range even in men above 60 years who are in excellent health.

Further research still needs to be done in this area but the following are contributing factors to men developing male menopause:

  1. Other diseases
  2. There is a link between low levels of testosterone and other diseases like diabetes, metabolic syndrome and high blood pressure. Doctors and scientists are not yet sure if these diseases are as a result of lowered testosterone or if these diseases are a cause of the decline in testosterone levels.

    obesity

    Obese men have decreased levels of testosterone

  3. Obesity
  4. Obese men are more likely to have decreased levels of testosterone but men with decreased levels of testosterone are also more likely to gain weight. Fat cells and insulin levels play a complicating role in the production of various hormones which affect testosterone levels. Fat cells also metabolize testosterone to estrogen which causes lowered testosterone levels.

     

     

  5. Lack of exercise
  6. A lack of exercise can contribute to obesity, fatigue and a sad mood, which are some of the symptoms considered to be part of the male menopause. A lack of physical exercise results in muscle wasting. This also lowers testosterone levels.

  7. Stress
  8. Stress causes an increase in the hormone called Cortisone. Cortisone decreases testosterone levels.

  9. Poor Diet
  10. An unhealthy diet may lead to inadequate testosterone production. Processed foods, and some meat and dairy may contain estrogen and other artificial, harmful chemicals which can lower testosterone levels. Drinking too much alcohol also causes a decrease in testosterone.

  11. Medication and Drugs
  12. Medication like the long-acting opioids which are used for pain relief is likely to cause lowered testosterone levels. Statins, used to lower cholesterol may also have an adverse effect on testosterone levels. Anti-depressants can also be culprits of lower testosterone levels. Unlawful use of anabolic steroids, marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamines are also associated with infertility and lowered testosterone. Chemotherapy, used in cancer treatment can cause testosterone levels to be permanently lowered.

    environmental factors

    Environmental factors

  13. Environmental Factors and lifestyle
  14. According to research, the average male has a testosterone level which is much less to the average male 50 years ago. Although scientists are not exactly sure what could be the cause of this, there are many contributing factors. These include: foods being packed in plastic which could cause estrogen levels to increase; increase in obesity of the general public and a more sedentary lifestyle; more pollution in the air; increasing use of tight-fitting underwear and increasing room temperatures. This means that the base level of testosterone is already on the lower end of the spectrum which is why symptoms of testosterone deficiency can be caused by a mild decline in testosterone levels.

Male menopause relates to the age-associate decline in testosterone levels. The mentioned causes above all play a role in this age-associated decline. As men get older, they have been exposed to environmental factors longer, more likely to be obese and inactive and more likely to be taking some form of medication. There are causes of low testosterone like testicular injuries and genetic abnormalities but these are not age-related.