While the female menopause can be proven from the standpoint of decreased estrogen production, there appears to be little hormonal basis for a corresponding male menopause.
Dr. Martin L. Mandel, a Lake Hospital System endocrinologist, said that while the levels of the male hormone testosterone decrease as a man ages, that in itself cannot be attributed to the psychological changes involved in midlife crisis. Typically, a man loses only 1 percent of his testosterone level annually, and male hormone usually do not begin to drop until after age 50.
"It does appear that as men age, the level of testosterone gradually drops, but if you look at aging men of 60, 70 or greater, probably only a small percent actually truly have hormone deficiency as identified by what the normal range of a hormone is," Mandel said.
Abnormally low testosterone levels would present symptoms of fatigue and decreased libido, erectile function and muscle strength. He does not dismiss the idea of "male menopause" as a medical condition, but said true male hormone deficiency would be to blame in a minority of males. Hormone replacement in males is not without its serious side effects, including increased risk of prostate cancer.
Jed Diamond, a therapist who directs the Men's Health Clinic at California's Long Valley Health Center, views male menopause as the product of a combination of hormonal, physiological and chemical changes. While the male hormone levels don't decline as rapidly as estrogen levels in the menopausal female, Diamond believes the drops are sufficient to produce symptoms like hair loss, depression, forgetfulness and reduced sexual desire and impotence.
Rather than being a time of discouragement, and gloom, see this transition as an opportunity to refocus and prepare for the "Second Adulthood" â€” focus on being rather than doing, soul-work rather than a career, sexual fulfillment rather than performance, and relating to other men as friends and allies rather than competitors.
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Midlife Dimensions ~ www.Midlife.com
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