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Valentine’s Got You Down? It Could Be Male Menopause

February 13, 2015

Valentine’s Day is such an exciting and romantic time for couples. Everywhere you look, there are red hearts, flowers and romantic dinners. However, some of you may be less than excited about Valentine’s Day, and that’s understandable—I’m a guy and I dread this holiday, too.

There likely are several non-medical reasons why men aren’t so keen about Valentine’s Day. It requires us to be forced romantics, and the cost of everything from flowers to dinner often skyrockets around this holiday.

But there could be another reason men lack passion for Valentine’s Day—male menopause.

Just like women, men undergo hormonal changes as we age that can cause both sexual and non-sexual changes in your body.

If you’ve never heard of male menopause or doubt that it even exists, here are some facts to help you think otherwise:

What is testosterone?

Testosterone is made in the testicles and its production is highly regulated through signals from your brain. Testosterone is responsible for the development of male sexual characteristics. It is also important for sexual function, bone growth, muscle growth and fertility.

Testosterone levels can vary by day and time. A healthy man’s testosterone levels can range from 300-1200 ng/dL. This is a wide range which makes it difficult to say what is an absolute “normal”.

What we do know about this range is that there is a natural decline in testosterone levels after age 30 of about 1 percent per year. By age 70, a man’s testosterone might be 50 percent below his “pre-menopause” levels.

What is male menopause?

In women, hormone changes occur drastically when ovulation ends. In comparison, this decline occurs gradually over time in men.

Roughly 13 million men in the U.S. have low testosterone and more than 90 percent go untreated.

What are the symptoms of male menopause?

Symptoms of male menopause include erectile dysfunction, low libido, infertility, fatigue, reduced hair growth, reduced muscle mass, weight gain, decreased bone strength and mood disturbances  such as anger, confusion, and depression.  The most common of all these symptoms is low libido (low sexual drive).

What are my treatment options for male menopause?

Treatment depends on the cause of symptoms, such as:
  • Anxiety/Depression: Behavioral therapy or medications (antidepressants, anxiolytics) can help if anxiety or depression is the main factor.
  • Obesity: We encourage physical activity and weight loss in this case. The more fat in your abdomen, the higher chance you have low testosterone. Ideally, your waistline should be half your height. If it is larger, you probably have low testosterone and are at risk for other medical problems.

  • Low Thyroid: This is typically treated with medical therapy.
  • Diabetes: Medical therapy or diet modification are commonly prescribed.
  • Low Testosterone: Low T may be treated with injections, gels, or pellet therapy.
Testosterone is not a wonder drug or a fountain of youth. Testosterone replacement therapy is not for everyone, and an increase in your testosterone levels may not help your complaints. Your body is a complex system and the same symptoms you have from low T may be due to other underlying medical conditions, such as obesity, lack of exercise, smoking, sleep deprivation and anxiety. If you are having symptoms, ask your doctor whether you should check your testosterone levels. If your T levels are low, make sure you have discussed the risks and benefits with your health care provider before you start treatment.

So, as you plan for Valentine’s Day this year, make some time for your well-being. It might not be your favorite holiday, but we want to make sure that you celebrate it with your loved one in good health for years to come.

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