In the book Male Menopause, Andropause (the more scientific name for the popular term “male menopause”) is defined as a multi-dimensional change of life with hormonal, physical, psychological, interpersonal, social, sexual, and spiritual aspects. Andropause occurs in all men, generally between the ages of 40 and 55, though it can occur as early as 35 or as late as 65. It signals the end of the first part of a man’s life, and prepares him for the second half. Just as adolescence is the transition period between childhood and adulthood, Andropause is the passage between first adulthood and second adulthood.
The term “male menopause” is, of course, a misnomer. Men don’t have menstrual periods and so they don’t stop having them. Unlike women, men can continue to have children late into their lives. In terms of other life changes, women’s and men’s experience are quite similar. Male Menopause is often used synonymously with Andropause. (Cetel, 2002; Diamond, 2000; Tan, 2001).
Andropause is not a new phenomenon. Heller and Myers (1944) identified symptoms of what they labeled the “male climacteric” including loss of libido and potency, nervousness, depression, impaired memory, the inability to concentrate, fatigue, insomnia, hot flushes, and sweating. Heller and Myers found that their subjects had below normal levels of testosterone and that symptoms improved dramatically when patients were given replacement doses of testosterone.
The concept of Andropause is more widely accepted in England and Europe than it is in the United States (Carruthers, 2004). In the U.S. many clinicians believe that, since men can continue to reproduce into old age and there aren’t the same dramatic drops in hormone levels that are characteristic of menopause in women, Andropause does not exist. Others feel that Andropause is real, but is synonymous with hypogonadism or low testosterone levels (Tan, 2001).
Morley (2000) has developed a ten-item survey to screen for Andropause, but emphasizes loss of testosterone as the primary cause. Mintz, Dotson, & Mukai, (2001) take a broader perspective and believe that other hormones, diet, and exercise are equally important. Depression is one of the most common problems of men going through Andropause, yet it is greatly under-diagnosed in men. Failure to diagnose depression in men can be deadly (Diamond, 2004).
Several intervention strategies have been found to be effective. These include:
- Hormone replacement therapy,
- Exercise, dietary changes, stress reduction,
- Acupuncture, Chinese medicine, herbal treatments,
- Couple counseling, career refocusing, and spiritual support,
- Chemical dependency treatment, sexual compulsivity treatment,
- Treatment for depression.
- Finding and engaging one’s “calling” in the second half of life.
Carruthers, Malcolm. Androgen Deficiency in the Adult Male: Causes, Diagnosis and
Treatment. London & New York: Taylor & Francis, 2004.
Cetel, Nancy. Double Menopause. New York: John Wiley, & Sons, 2002.
Diamond, Jed. Male Menopause. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, 1997.
Diamond, Jed. Surviving Male Menopause: A Guide for Women and Men. Naperville,
IL: Sourcebooks, 2000.
Diamond, Jed. The Irritable Male Syndrome: Managing the 4 Key Causes of Depression
and Aggression. Emmaus, Pa: Rodale Press, 2004.
Gillespie, Larrian. The Gladiator Diet. Beverly Hills, California: Healthy Life
Heller, C.G., Myers, G.B., “The Male climacteric: Its symptomatology, diagnosis and
treatment.” JAMA 1944; 126:472-77.
Mintz, A.P., Dotson, A. & Mukai, J. Hormone modulation, low glycemic
nutrition, and exercise instruction: Effects on disease risk and quality of life.
Journal of Anti-Aging Medicine, 4, 357-371, 2001.
Morley, J.E., “Clinical Diagnosis of Age-Related Testosterone Deficiency,” The Aging
Male, Volume 3, Supplement 1, February 2000, p. 55.
Tan, Robert S. The Andropause Mystery: Unraveling truths about the Male Menopause.
Houston, Texas: AMRED publications, 2001.