Male Menopause: The Hidden Cause of Mid-Life Marriage Meltdown

“If menopause is the silent passage,” says author Gail Sheehy, “Male menopause is the unspeakable passage. It is fraught with secrecy, shame, and denial. It is much more fundamental than the ending of the fertile period of a woman’s life, because it strikes at the core of what it is to be a man.” When I started doing research on what I came to call “male menopause” in 1995, I had never heard of Gail Sheehy. I just knew I was having difficulty with erections, my libido was way down, I was more irritable and had less energy, and my marriage was in danger of going under.

I also knew that I wasn’t the only one who was having problems. When I told people I was doing research on men between the ages of 35 and 65 and the changes they were going through, I began to get e-mails from people describing what they were experiencing.

“I know I’ve been struggling with all facets of my life lately,” said 34-year-old Rob. “Everything from not enjoying the things I have always enjoyed, to losing my latest girlfriend over unknown reasons of which erectile dysfunction at some level was a factor. I have had problems with just everyday living, confusion, and lack of direction in my life. I happened to come across an article you wrote. Wow! What an enlightenment. Just knowing what is happening is a major relief and reduction in a very high level of anxiety. What do I know now?”

I also heard from women who were describing how these changes were impacting the man in their lives.

“I have just discovered your website, and was referred to it by a friend who knows the man I live with. He is 48-years-old and has been getting more and more frustrated, irritable, angry, and depressed over the last year. He’s had all kinds of tests. One doctor thought he might have ADD and he’s taking medications for that, thinking it might help. It hasn’t. After reading about the symptoms of male menopause, I’m convinced that this is his problem. But I’m having trouble getting him to get checked out for that. Can you help?”

[Read more…]

On Beginning to Write My 13th Book: Reflections From the Path

Writing a bookMy father was a writer which both inspired and terrified me. When I was five years old he became overwhelmed by his inability to find work in his chosen field, became increasingly manic and depressed, and took an overdose of sleeping pills. Though he didn’t die, I grew up believing that creativity and depression went together. Early on I longed to write, but I resisted the urge, believing that it might take me on the destructive path that my father traveled throughout his life.

It wasn’t until I grew up, had children of my own, and learned that I could separate my father’s craziness from my own, that I discovered that I could be creative without being crazy. Or at least my form of craziness could be channeled in a way that wouldn’t destroy my creative spirit or my life.

My first book, Inside Out: Becoming My Own Man, was published in 1983. My twelfth book, Stress Relief for Men: How to Use the Revolutionary Tools of Energy Healing to Live Well, was published in 2014. I published my first book myself through the company Carlin and I created, Fifth Wave Press. I’ve also been published by small, medium, and large publishers.  Each book, for me, is like a child. Each has its own needs and each needs its own special kind of love, nurture, and support.

I began a recent article “Low Testosterone and Scarcity: A Glimpse Into the Future of Mankind,” with these words:

Yep, I’m working on a new book. When I saw the August 18, 2014 cover story for Time magazine—Manopause?! Aging, Insecurity and the $2 Billion Testosterone Industry—I knew it was time to tell men and women over 40 what I know about Manopause and Low T.

Here are the questions and answers, I’ve asked and answered thus far: [Read more…]

Manopause and Low T: Two Issues Whose Time Has Come

manopauseThe August 18, 2014 issue of Time magazine has a cover-story lead article titled: “Manopause?! Aging, Insecurity and the $2 Billion Testosterone Industry.”I joined a number of other men’s health experts on Huffington Post Live to discuss the article and its implications. The article begins with a provocative statement and a question. “These drugs promise to pump up men who feel deflated. But are they safe?” I had the same question when I began doing research on the male “change of life” a.k.a. Male Menopause or Andropause in 1994. But I also had other questions. Is there a male change of life? Is it similar or different than what women experience as menopause? How do these changes fit in with the overall picture of men’s health? What’s the best way to help men stay healthy throughout their lives?

My research, still in progress, has culminated thus far in a series of books on “Manopause and Men’s Health,” including Male Menopause ( Rodale, 1997), Surviving Male Menopause: A Guide for Women and Men (Rodale, 2000), The Whole Man Program: Reinvigorating Your Body, Mind, and Spirit after 40 (Wiley, 2002), The Irritable Male Syndrome: Understanding & Managing the 4 Key Causes of Depression and Aggression (Rodale, 2004), and Stress Relief for Men: How to Use the Revolutionary Tools of Energy Healing to Live Well (North Atlantic Books, 2014).

Based on my research and work with men and their families for more than forty years I’ve found some answers to my questions:

  • If used properly testosterone is safe for men. (Though risks and benefits always have to be weighed when considering any treatments.)
  • There is a “male change of life” that occurs between the ages of 40 and 55 for most men.
  • There are more similarities than differences between Menopause in women and Andropause (“Manopause”) in men
  • For the best overall health we need to pay attention to physiological, hormonal, psychological, interpersonal, sexual, social, economic, environmental, and spiritual changes in the lives of men and the people who love them.
  • For complete health for men we need to focus on stress relief, aggression and depression prevention, weight loss, exercise, increased emotional intimacy, positive social connections, hope, purpose, and a healthier and more sustainable relationship to the Earth.

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Male Menopause: No Longer a Myth, But a Medical Reality

carlin and jedMy search to understand male menopause began in the early 1990s and was both personal and professional. Personally, I was nearing the age of 50 and my wife was telling me something was wrong. “You’re hormonal,” she told me. “It’s like you’re going through menopause or something.” At first I laughed at the idea. But professionally many of my male clients were experiencing prostate problems, erectile dysfunctions, anger, depression, and other symptoms that I was learning were related to the “change of life.”

Gail Sheehy, author of Passages and Menopause: The Silent Passage, wrote in a 1993 article in Vanity Fair magazine, “If menopause is the silent passage, ‘male menopause’ is the unspeakable passage. It is fraught with secrecy, shame, and denial. It is much more fundamental than the ending of the fertile period of a woman’s life, because it strikes at the core of what it is to be a man.”

When I wrote my series of books on the male change of life–Male Menopause, Surviving Male Menopause, and The Irritable Male Syndrome–few people had ever heard of these problems. There had been little research on the hormonal and physiological changes men experienced at mid-life. It was assumed that “male menopause, if it existed at all, was some kind of male mid-life crisis. By the time book Stress Relief for Men: How to Use the Revolutionary Tools of Energy Healing to Live Well was published in April, 2014, male menopause (or Andropause as it is known scientifically) has been accepted by most clinicians. [Read more…]

Male Menopause: How Women Can Deal with His Anger

Male Menopause and angerDear Dr. Jed,

I read your book and I believe my husband is suffering from male menopause. He’s angry all the time and blames me for everything that is wrong.  He calls me names, yells at me, looks at me with such hatred, I want to disappear.  He’s never hit me, but I’m afraid of him.  He totally denies that there are any problems with him.  When he gets mad he calls me a bitch and a lot worse and tells me I’m crazy and should be hospitalized. 

His beliefs get reinforced by his family who also denies that there is anything wrong with him, though they’ve seen how angry and abusive he can be.  They tell me that he wasn’t depressed before he married me so it must be me that is the problem.

I love my husband with all my heart and I want to get him the help he needs.  I know that he must be suffering.  If he would just acknowledge the problem I’m sure we could work things out.  Can you help me get through to him?  SL.

I get calls and e-mails regularly from women who are sure their partner is suffering from male menopause.  They describe, in detail, his irritability and rage.  They often tell me that he’s been verbally or physically abusive.  Most go on to tell me that they love their husband and want to do everything they can to help him so that they can return to the kind of good relationship they remember having before he got IMS.

I shudder when I get these kinds of letters.  I have no quarrel with their desire to help their man and to rescue their relationship, but I do have concerns about their priorities and the focus of their attention.  Too many of these women remain in abusive, sometimes violent relationships, focusing their attention on helping him before thinking about helping themselves.  I imagine myself reaching through the airwaves and shaking them.  “Don’t you know that you can’t help him or help the relationship until you first help yourself?” I want to tell them.  [Read more…]

Manopause & Low Testosterone: What Every Man and Woman Should Know

When I first began research for my book on the “male change of life,” I wasn’t sure what I should call it. I assumed that what men went through was totally different than what women experienced. But the more I talked to men and women, the more it became clear that there were more similarities than differences. Andropause is the more technically correct term, but Male Menopause has come to be commonly used.

According to Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, 8th Edition, “Andropause is a change of life for males that may be expressed in terms of a career change, divorce, or reordering of life. It is associated with a decline in androgen levels that occurs in men during their late 40s or early 50s. Compare menopause.”

Ultimately I decided to call my book, Male Menopause even though the term is obviously technically inaccurate. The term “menopause,” introduced by French doctors in the 1870s, combines two Greek words—menses (“periods”) and pausis (“stop”). Men don’t have a period, so they don’t stop having one.

Based on my research I concluded that “Male Menopause (or Manopause for short) begins with hormonal, physiological, and chemical changes that occur in all men generally between the ages of forty and fifty-five. These changes affect all aspects of a man’s life. Male Menopause is, thus, a physical condition with psychological, interpersonal, social, and spiritual dimensions.” [Read more…]

Male Menopause and Irritable Male Syndrome: What You Can Do to Help Your Man

Dear Dr. Diamond,

I am forty-eight and have been married 26 years.  I’m noticing that I am unusually cross and nasty with my wife who I love very much.  It just comes out unexpectedly before I realize it.  Then it is too late.  I feel like apologizing, but somehow I never do.  I can see the hurt in her eyes and I feel terribly guilty.  I don’t understand why I do this.  Can you help me?  John

Although Irritable Male Syndrome and Male Menopause can occur at any age, it is quite prevalent at mid-life. What is it about mid-life that causes men to become angry?  Why do they take it out on the person they say they love the most?   These are the kinds of questions I hear from women who are trying to understand what is going on in their relationship.

In order to understand what is going on with men at mid-life, we have to recognize that mid-life is a difficult time for women as well as men.  In fact, middle age is the worst time of life for most people.   [Read more…]

Male Menopause: Reality Not Myth

My book, Male Menopause, was first published in 1997.  Like all the books I’ve written, the theme developed from conflicts I was having in my personal life.  My wife, Carlin, was going through menopause and I was sure that when she got through it all our problems would be solved.  I was sure our sexual problems, relationship conflicts, and fears about our future would disappear as soon as she was off the hormonal roller-coaster.

But the reality was different.  She got back to her old self, but our problems remained.  After one of our many blow-ups she suggested, in her usual kind way, that maybe I was going through some kind of male change of life.  I was insulted.  It was bad enough that I had to go through her menopause, she wasn’t going to turn me into a she-male going through my own male menopause.  No way!

I decided to explore the changes that men go through between the ages of 40 and 55 and prove to her that it was nothing like what women went through.  Surely there was no such thing as “male menopause.”  At first, my preconceptions were validated.  Most doctors and health-care professionals were convinced that men might go through some kind of psychological or social mid-life crisis, but only women had hormonal changes.  And of course only women could have an end to their menstrual cycles since only women had menstrual cycles to begin with. [Read more…]

Boomer Men, Stress, Depression, Anger and Suicide

In a recent interview with Brent Green, author of Generation Reinvention: How Boomers Today Are Changing Business, Marketing, Aging and the Future, he and I provide an in-depth, up-to-date look at the work I’ve been doing to help men, and the women to love them, to live well throughout our lives.  Specifically we get into detail about baby boomer men and stress, male depression, male anger, and suicide.

You’ll learn about what motivated me to write my recent book, MenAlive: Stop Killer Stress with Simple Energy Healing Tools, and why I’ve committed myself to helping save the lives of a million males over the next three years. This is a unique opportunity to join me in exploring some of the most important issues we face in our lives today.

Click here to listen:  Boomer Men and Stress

Enjoy the interview and thanks to WeEarth Global Radio Network.

Photo Credit:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulcross/5819125499/sizes/z/in/photostream/

 

 

Male Menopause and Energy Medicine: Healing the Stresses of Mid-Life Men

When my book Male Menopause was first published in 1997, most people had never heard of “male menopause,” also known by the more scientific term “andropause.” But I knew the impact on family members who loved these men. Common symptoms of male menopause, including erectile dysfunction, loss of sexual desire, irritability, weight gain, and low energy, impact the men as well as their families. More men and women are recognizing that male menopause is real. It affects all men as they move through their forties (though it can start as early as thirty or as late as fifty-five). We can now do a lot to prevent and treat the problems associated with this major change of life.

While many in the mainstream medical community still question whether men go through a hormonally based change of life, increasing numbers of health care professionals are convinced as they study the research.

  • Marc R. Blackman, MD, former chief of endocrinology and metabolism at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, says, “The male menopause is a real phenomenon, and it does similar things to men as menopause does to women, although less commonly and to a lesser extent.”
  • Ronald Klatz, MD, DO, president of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine says, “One of the best-kept secrets is that men go through a male form of menopause called andropause.”
  • Robert S. Tan, MD, fellow of the American Geriatrics Society and pioneer researcher, says, “The andropause is the time in a man’s life when the hormones naturally decline. Mosby’s Medical Dictionary defines the andropause as “a change of life for males that may be expressed in terms of career change, divorce, or reordering of life. It is associated with a decline in androgen levels that occur in men during their late forties or early fifties.”
  • Theresa Crenshaw, MD, expert on male and female hormones and author of The Alchemy of Love and Lust, says, “In the case of male menopause, we are still in the Dark Ages. Men have fewer guideposts to help them today than women had a generation ago. Only recently have we begun to understand the biochemistry of these events, tilting the scales toward a physiological explanation.”
  • Author Gail Sheehy says, “If menopause is the silent passage, male menopause is the unspeakable passage. It is fraught with secrecy, shame, and denial. It is much more fundamental than the ending of the fertile period of a woman’s life, because it strikes at the core of what it is to be a man.”

My colleague, Malcolm Carruthers, MD, one of the world’s experts on the male change of life captures the essence of what men go through: “Andropause is a critical health concern for men and the women who love them. It’s often insidious onset can be at any time from the age of thirty onward, though typically it is in the fifties. One of the reasons it’s often missed is that it is usually more gradual in onset than the menopause in the female, although it is more severe in its long-term consequences. It is a crisis of vitality just as much as virility, even though it’s most obvious sign is loss both of interest in sex and of erectile power.”

Energy Medicine at Mid-life

In my recent book, MenAlive:  Stop Killer Stress with Simple Energy Healing Tools, I describe four simple tools you can learn to use to relieve stress during the male mid-life:

  • Attachment Love
  • Heart Coherence
  • Earthing
  • Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT or Tapping)

For more complete details on these tools please read the Four Energy Healing Secrets Your Doctor Hopes You’ll Never Learn.

In the meantime, here’s a simple Attachment Love Technique.   Close your eyes and take a number of deep breaths. Slowly let them out. Remind yourself that you are dependent on your partner and your partner is dependent on you to meet your needs for safety, security, and love. Recall a memory in which you felt deep love and affection for your partner. Imagine that you enclose them in your arms and whisper in their ear, “I love you deeply, and I am here for you.” Now recall a time when your partner reached out to you when you needed them. Imagine your partner enclosing you in their arms and whispering in your ear, “I love you deeply, and I am here for you.”

Let yourself feel the warmth and gratitude of feeling cared for and loved. If you don’t have a partner, imagine a partner you might like to have and feel yourself being held and holding a partner. Or think of a time in your life when you felt love for someone else. It could be an old lover or friend or even a child. Imagine holding them, seeing them, and feeling them. Or think of a time when you were loved, cared for, and protected. Let yourself be filled with the light of unconditional love.

Another energy healing tool that I often use is the HeartMath quick coherence technique. Close your eyes and take a number of deep breathes and let yourself relax. Focus your attention on the area around your heart. Breathe deeply but normally and feel as if your breath is coming in and going out through your heart area. As you maintain your heart focus and heart breathing, activate a positive feeling. Remember a time when you felt strong and sure of yourself, a time when your partner or someone important in your life let you know what a good man you were. Hold that thought as you continue to imagine your breath coming in and out of your heart area.

I’m always amazed that shifting my internal energy from a state of anger, agitation, hurt, or shame to one of joy, peace, and self-acceptance can turn things around when they seem out of control. Midlife, like adolescence, is a difficult time for most of us. Using these energy healing tools can make our midlife passage smoother and more joyful.

If you found this post to be of value let me recommend Male Menopause and How It Impacts the Family.  You can also sign up to receive my comprehensive eBook on Male Menopause.

Photo Credit:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/haroldoferrary/