Symptoms of Male Menopause

Although there is no exact medical classification of symptoms of the male menopause as yet, a decline in the male hormone, testosterone, does occur with an increase in age.  This is a gradual process but it does affect some men more than others.  Because of this gradual decline the symptoms men experience usually also have a more gradual onset. This makes the symptoms sometimes difficult to notice because they have developed over a long period of time. The symptoms of decreased testosterone levels, whether one calls it “an age-related decline”, andropause or male menopause can be divided into sexual, physical and psychological symptoms.

Sexual symptoms

sexual symptoms

Decreased frequency of sexual thoughts

  • Erectile Dysfunction
  • Erectile dysfunction is the inability to obtain or the inability to maintain an erection sufficient for vaginal penetration. Studies have shown that millions of men in the USA alone suffer from erectile dysfunction. Decreased testosterone is not the only reason that erectile dysfunction occurs. There are many other medical and psychological causes of this so it is best for the man to see a medical professional before using over the counter medication.

  • Decreased frequency of sexual thoughts
  • Men who lose interest in sex and are rarely in the mood for any sexual encounter could have decreased testosterone levels. This might create conflict in relationships because the man’s partner might feel that he has lost interest in her as she is not getting as much sexual attention from him as before.

  • Decreased occurrence of morning erection
  • The man could notice that he no longer gets morning erections or that they are not as frequent as before.

  • Infertility
  • Infertility can be a symptom of decreased testosterone levels.

Physical symptoms

  • Inability to exercise as before
  • The man may report that he can no longer take part in a sport he used to enjoy. He can also not walk or jog without feeling exhausted. This may be a result of decreased testosterone and male menopause.

  • Loss of bone mass
  • Bone mass decreases with age, but studies have shown a faster decline with a decreased level of testosterone. This makes the man more prone to fractures.

  • Reduced muscle bulk
  • Less testosterone means less muscle bulk. Although muscle mass decreases with age, testosterone plays a major role in muscle formation and maintenance.

  • Increased body fat
  • Having a decreased muscle bulk will cause the metabolic rate to slow down and this will result in a higher body fat percentage.

  • Mild Anaemia
  • Because testosterone plays a role in the development of red blood cells, a decreased testosterone level can result in mild anaemia. This decreases the blood oxygen carrying ability.

Psychological symptoms

sad mood

Loss of energy and easily fatigued

  • Loss of energy and easily fatigued
  • Decreased energy is associated with decreased testosterone levels. This also causes the patient to feel less motivated and less self-confident than before. The patient can also report that he feels extremely tired after normal activities.

  • Sad mood
  • A patient with decreased levels of testosterone is more prone to a sad mood. This could eventually lead to a diagnosis of major depressive disorder. Men above the age of 40 are more likely to commit suicide when they have depression. Although many factors play a role, male menopause may be one of the treatable contributing factors.

Other symptoms

There are other symptoms which have been associated with male menopause but have not been proven to be related specifically to a decrease in testosterone levels.
These symptoms are:

  • Poor concentration
  • The inability to concentrate may be part of the clinical picture of depression and other age-related illnesses like dementia but it also forms part of the presentation of a patient with male menopause.

  • Changes in sleeping pattern
  • The patient may either report insomnia which is the inability to sleep or he may report that he is sleeping way too much.

  • Muscle aches
  • Male menopause is associated with increased muscle aches and pains in various parts of the body.

  • Mid-life Crises
  • Some believe this common term for middle-aged men acting differently than usual is related to the male menopause. A man who all of a sudden, in his mid-40s, decides to buy a new motorbike, get a new wife, dye his hair or is clearly not his normal self, might be acting out these signs because of andropause.