The male midlife crisis is often attributed to men seeking a return to youthful days, but it turns out that there may be a medical cause for this phenomenon.
The so-called “male menopause,” typically referred to as andropause, is believed to occur in men as they age. During andropause, a male’s body produces less testosterone, potentially leading to symptoms such as erectile dysfunction, lack of motivation, general fatigue and even depression. Most researchers agree that this process takes place gradually with men losing 2 percent of their testosterone production per year after the age of around 40.
Differences Between Menopause and Andropause
Menopause occurs when a woman’s body stops producing certain hormones, including estrogen, and it generally occurs in women over the age of 50. This process occurs relatively quickly and lasts for a few years. It is marked by symptoms such as hot flashes and mood changes as well as the stoppage of the menstrual cycle.
Andropause, on the other hand, can continue to affect men for decades. In addition, because the process takes place slowly, many men may not even realize what is happening to them. For this reason, the midlife crisis that drives older men to go out and buy that new sports car has often been dismissed as simply trying to recapture their youth.
Is Andropause to Blame for Every Midlife Crisis?
It’s important to note that, while andropause does typically play a large part in a middle-age crisis, it may not be the only factor. As men age, their roles often change, and with these changes come questions as to one’s value and place in life. In younger years, most men are struggling to establish an identity. This is usually accomplished through work, social circles, hobbies and family dynamics.
With age, a man’s role may become one of the protector and provider and this can cause him to lose sight of his objectives in his later years. As his children grow or as he has achieved a status level that has reached its peak, some men choose to indulge in things like fast cars or motorcycles as these were things that they were not able to obtain or fully utilize in previous years due to other commitments.
Diagnosing and Treating Andropause
As mentioned, what is now recognized as andropause was commonly brushed off by medical professionals in the past as simply a middle-age crisis. This caused many men to go undiagnosed with the associated hormonal imbalance of aging. To make matters worse, men are often less willing to seek out medical treatment for any type of ailment, including those that involve emotional instability.
Thankfully, these days andropause has become more and more recognized as a treatable medical condition. In order to complete a diagnosis, a medical professional will meet with the patient to discuss symptoms and a medical history. From there, blood will be drawn to be tested for testosterone levels. These tests are usually completed within the same visit and results are often back within approximately 20 minutes.
If a man is found to be dealing with a lack of testosterone due to andropause, supplemental testosterone can be prescribed. In some cases, these supplements can even be administered via a lozenge for fast, easy and efficient absorption.
Once again, andropause is considered to be a chronic condition that will continue to affect men throughout their lives once hormone levels start falling. As a result, it would be a good idea to have a regular checkup with your physician regarding hormone treatments each year to ensure that your dosage is correct.
Andropause Doesn’t Need to Be a Crisis
If you’re a man who is currently experiencing the symptoms of andropause, or if you simply don’t know why you’re always feeling tired and moody, now would be a great time to speak with your primary care physician for testing. Many men who thought that they were simply going through the dreaded midlife crisis found out that there was actually a way to get back to normal through testosterone treatment therapies. The bottom line? Andropause doesn’t need to be a crisis at all if you take action now and investigate your medical options.