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Male Menopause: A Myth or Fact?

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Background

Science is interesting and dynamic. Research makes new discoveries and finds new technologies continually.
The human body is a complex entity as time and science has clearly pointed out. Inside the body are located various glands. These glands are responsible for the secretion of hormones needed for proper body function. This is simply called the endocrine system. This system comprises the pituitary gland, hypothalamus, thymus, pineal gland, testes, ovaries, thyroid gland, adrenal gland, parathyroid gland and pancreas.
Proper body function depends to a great extent on secretion of optimal levels of these hormones when there is an imbalance whether over- or under- secretion, disorders may occur.

Area of Interest

In this post we pay keen interest to the testis, which is responsible for the production of the hormone testosterone. It is found in men. Its functions include

  •  Growth of the male penis
  •  Growth of facial and body hair
  • Deepening of the male voice
  • Maintaining sex drive
  • Promoting production of sperms
  • Maintaining healthy levels of muscle and bone mass

Male Menopause
This is also called ‘andropause’. There are conflicting opinions on the true existence of such a condition as ‘male menopause’ A quick google search churns out loads of information but its existence as a medical condition still remains controversial. So what really is this condition and why is there so much fuss about it.

The term male menopause refers to the hormonal changes that some men experience as they get older. As men age, their testosterone levels tend to decrease 

A healthy man has a testosterone level of 300 – 1,200 ng/dL (nanograms per deciliter) (NIH, 2009). A man’s testosterone level usually peaks in his 20s. After age 30, the average man’s testosterone level declines 1 percent each year (Mayo Clinic, 2011). Thus, by age 70, a man’s testosterone level might reach 50 percent of his pre-“menopause” level (Mayo Clinic, 2011). This shift can cause physical, emotional, and psychological changes.

The effects of low testosterone may be worrisome to most men.The good news for the men folk is that unlike women not all men will go through this phase in their lives.

Due to the low testosterone levels that usually characterises male menopause the following may be experienced

  • Low libido
  • Depression (testosterone helps to regulate mood)
  • Low energy levels
  • Insomnia
  • Osteoporosis
  • Increased abdominal fat
  • fewer spontaneous erections
  • breast enlargement
  • reduced endurance, tiredness
  • decreased motivation and self-confidence
  • difficulty remembering things and inability to concentrate
  • increased irritability and nervousness
  • reduced muscle size and strength
  • Lowered sperm count
  • Reduction in the proportion of red blood cells in their plasma

If you experience any of this symptoms you can speak to your healthcare provider. They can provide the needed help and support. Some tests will be carried out for a proper diagnosis. Hormone replacement therapies are also available for patients who may benefit from such therapies.

About Olubukola Tikare

Olubukola Tikare is a qualified pharmacist with a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from Olabisi Onabanjo University Ogun State Nigeria and a Masters degree in Clinical Pharmacy, International Practice and Policy from the School of Pharmacy, University of London. Her experience includes conducting field research and writing for leading global pharmaceutical companies. Her research centres on finding ways of improving access to healthcare in the African continent.

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