If you’re feeling irritable, sweating excessively or have a lack of energy, you could be experiencing male menopause — or as some call it, ‘manopause’.
From a certain age, men might notice some changes, but is male menopause a myth or does it actually exist?
The Royal College of GPs’ medical director, Dr Luke Bradford, told Seven Sharp the subject is contentious.
“Male menopause is pretty controversial because it probably oversimplifies what’s a range of symptoms and causes.
“Male menopause is a loss of testosterone, but it’s not universal, which is dissimilar to female menopause which happens over a relatively short time period and is a definite biological change.
“Whereas male menopause sums up a range of changes and symptoms that men can get in their mid-to-late 40s onwards.”
While the hormonal change in men occurs more gradually than menopause does in women, it can cause physical and emotional changes like mood swings, concentration issues, loss of libido, sleep problems and anxiety.
But is there a possibility that men are experiencing midlife stress rather than ‘manopause’?
“Absolutely,” said Bradford.
“We see the manifestation of stress from work, relationships, financial stresses, and men starting to have worries about elderly parents as well as their own kids.
“And then we see other lifestyle changes that people pile on like improper use of alcohol and using it as a crutch, smoking, poor sleep patterns and poor diet,” he explained.
“All of those can lead to the symptoms we see in other things and of course can cause other problems.”
Male menopause is something men should look out for, said Bradford.
“If a man feels that something is wrong he should be exploring that and feeling confident to seek help if he wants to.
“First have a look at those lifestyle changes and see if they might be contributing and then go have a chat with your GP. Say ‘this is how I’m feeling, can you help me through this?’.
“We’re there to help look at some of those different lifestyle factors, and also to identify if there could be a drop off in testosterone,” he explained.
“The average drop is about 1% per year after age 25, so it’s going to halve over the course of your life — and that will have some symptoms and sometimes there’s something we can do there.”