Men between the ages of 40 and 55 can experience a phenomenon similar to female menopause called andropause. Unlike women, men do not have a clear-cut cessation of symptoms to mark the transition. However, andropause might be distinguished by a drop in hormone levels, specifically testosterone. The bodily changes occur gradually in men and may be accompanied by changes in attitude, mood, energy level, sex drive and physical agility.
Studies indicate this decline in testosterone can actually put one at risk for other health problems including heart disease and weak bones. Since andropause may occur during a period in life when many men begin to question their values, accomplishments and direction in life, it’s often difficult to realize these physical changes are related to more than just external conditions.
Unlike menopause, which generally occurs in women during their mid-40s to mid-50s, men’s “transition” may be much more gradual and span many decades. Attitude, psychological stress, alcohol, injuries or surgery, medications, obesity and infections can contribute to its onset.
Although a decline in testosterone levels will occur in virtually all men with age, there is no way of predicting who will experience andropausal symptoms of sufficient severity to seek medical help. Neither is it predictable at what age symptoms will occur in a particular individual.