The medical community has been debating the existence of male menopause for
a considerable period of time. The questions is Does it really exist?, If so, what effects
does it have on men? What are the symptoms? Is it treatable? And what can a man do to
prevent or postpone its arrival? And finally what is the similarity to a female menopause?
Can this just be a
figment of imagination? Can the symptoms just be a dramatization of known facts about
women's menopause? Or can this just be a non existent entity? Can this just be a feminists
activity to emasculate men?
Only until recently,
the entire subject of the male menopause was filled with confusion and controversy. While
women were accused of going through middle-aged crisis and menopause-related aberrations,
their male counterparts got away with propagating the myth of the 'ageless male' and
boasted of virility all the way to their graves.
It would seem reasonable to assume that as a man ages, the body changes and
medical evidence clearly proves that a man's sexuality changes with the advancing aging
process. The instant, anytime, 'as many times as you want' erections that are more the
rule rather than the exception at age 18, do not last forever. With advancing age, the
urge slows down, erections take time to come on, anytime is not a good time and the penis
requires more direct stimulation in order to get aroused. And besides, the erections may
not be as rigid and firm, and ejaculations become more feeble. The over all recovery
period gets prolonged.
process has been blamed and so has the viewpoint that a middle aged man has had enough sex
so as to not be so preoccupied with it any longer? Could it be that his wife has aged a
bit and she is no longer as physically attractive or interested as before? Or is it
because of the physical and mental pressures of the job, or the demands of parenthood,
pre-occupation with the lives of grown-up children or aging parents?
Impotence or "erectile dysfunction," a major problem in aging
men, is more common in patients with high blood pressure. It's estimated that about 4% of
men suffer from impotence, but this number can be as high as 40% among hypertensive men.
According to this study, the main reason is high blood pressure itself and
arteriosclerosis of the penile artery, the main artery bringing blood to the penis. Since
adequate amount of blood is essential for the penis to become rigid, penile artery disease
makes it difficult to achieve an erection.
Unfortunately, treating high
blood pressure does not improve erections. Just the opposite - many blood pressure drugs
have a strong negative effect.
Some studies reported improved
erections with the use of Yohimbe bark, Ginkgo biloba, Maca,
vitamin E and other anti-oxidants. Chelation therapy is also helpful in many cases.
American Journal of Hypertension 1999;12:271-275.
Yes say doctor's, there is
something known as a mid-life
crisis. This is often a time in life when stability has been achieved and the struggles
that were once a large part of life are now at an end. This new awareness that a life
change has taken place can sometimes trigger a crisis. For some men, new found stability
may signify an end to vitality or youth. Many men find that after spending a lifetime
working towards the goals of family and peers, the end result is unfulfilling. This is
also often a time of change. Major shifts in career, marriage and parenting often occurs
during this time period.. And, along with the physical signs of aging comes realization of
impending old age and retirement. This time of life will only become a crisis if the
changes become too difficult to cope with.
So, mid -life crisis,
thus, is essentially a problem of psycho-social adjustments, diet, life style modification
and activity level's and attitude towards self and others. It need not necessarily have a
bearing on a man's sex life. It is then not synonymous with the male menopause although
there is frequently a superimposition of male menopausal factors in middle-aged men going
through crises and this makes the picture some what hazy.
Male menopause, is a distinct physiological
phenomenon that is in many
way's very similar to, yet in some ways quite different from the female menopause.
Menopause is a
condition most often associated with women, It occurs in a women when she ceases to
menstruate and can no longer become pregnant. Men experience a different type of
'menopause' of life change. It usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 60. Unlike women,
men can continue to father children, but the production of the male sex hormone
(testosterone) diminishes gradually after age 40.
Testosterone is the
hormone that stimulates sexual development in the male infant, bone and muscle growth in
adult males, and is responsible for sexual drive. It has been found that even in healthy
men, by the age the 50's, the amount of testosterone secreted into the bloodstream is
significantly lower than it is just ten - fifteen years earlier. In fact, by age 80, most
male hormone levels decrease to pre-puberty levels.
In the year 1944, what
we now describe as the male menopause was reported in a key article by two American
doctors, Dr. Carl Heller and Dr. Gordon Myers. They compared the symptoms with those of
the female menopause, and did a blind controlled trial study showing the effectiveness of
many pioneering efforts, this went unnoticed. Men were unwilling to accept that they could
attain 'menopause' and such research was often hurriedly brushed under the carpet. Men
with genuine symptoms were told that 'this is just a mid-life crisis' Besides,
testosterone therapy had come into disrepute because of its abuse by athletes and the
concept of testosterone replacement therapy for male menopausal symptoms was not received
very well. Further, there was much hype about the side effects of testosterone, especially
It was only after HRT
(Hormone Replacement Therapy) with estrogens produced tangible symptomatic improvement and
'aging reversal' in post-menopausal women that men sat up and, not wanting to get left
behind their womenfolk, began to take notice!
The symptoms of male menopause are not as overwhelming as the ones women
experience and male menopause does not affect all men. Approximately 40% of men between 40
and 60 years of age will experience some degree of lethargy, depression, increased
irritability, mood swings, hot flashes, insomnia, decreased libido, weakness, loss of both
lean body mass and bone mass (making them susceptible to hip fractures) and difficulty in
attaining and sustaining erections (impotence).
For these individuals,
such unanticipated physical and psychological changes can be a major cause for concern or
even crisis. Without and understanding partner, these problems may result in a powerful
combination of anxieties and doubts, which can lead to total impotence and sexual
A recent aging study
showed that 51% of normal, healthy males aged 40 to 70 experience some degree of
importance - defined as a persistent problem attaining and maintaining an erection rigid
enough for sexual intercourse. This problem cannot be attributed to the aging process
alone, however, because well over 40% of males remain sexually active at 70 years of age
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Decrease in Sex Drive
Decrease in Strength and or Endurance
Decreased "Enjoyment of Life"
Erections Less Strong
Deterioration in Sports Ability
Asleep After Dinner Meal
Decreased Work Performance