The 'male menopause'

Some men develop depression, loss of sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and other physical and emotional symptoms when they reach their late 40s to early 50s.

Other symptoms common in men this age are:

  • mood swings and irritability
  • loss of muscle mass and reduced ability to exercise
  • fat redistribution, such as developing a large belly or "man boobs" (gynaecomastia)
  • a general lack of enthusiasm or energy 
  • difficulty sleeping (insomnia) or increased tiredness
  • poor concentration and short-term memory

These symptoms can interfere with everyday life and happiness, so it's important to find the underlying cause and work out what can be done to resolve it.

Is there such a thing as a 'male menopause'?

The "male menopause" (sometimes called the andropause) is an unhelpful term sometimes used in the media.

This label is misleading because it suggests the symptoms are the result of a sudden drop in testosterone in middle age, similar to what occurs in the female menopause. This is not true.

Although testosterone levels fall as men age, the decline is steady at less than 2% a year from around the age of 30 to 40, and this is unlikely to cause any problems in itself.

A testosterone deficiency that develops later in life, also known as late-onset hypogonadism, can sometimes be responsible for these symptoms, but in many cases the symptoms are nothing to do with hormones.

*Information taken from the NHS website on 16/09/2020