When men age, there’s a natural decline in the body's production of the hormone testosterone (external website) (androgen), which is responsible for regulation of sex characteristics in those assigned male at birth. Later on in life, testosterone is vital to a man's physical and mental wellness. A drop in testosterone can cause what’s commonly referred to as hypogonadism (external website) ("male menopause" or "age-related low testosterone"). The decline in testosterone in men usually arises around the same time as menopause in women (external website): in their late 40s or early 50s.
Male Menopause Symptoms
In contrast to female menopause, wherein women become unable to ovulate, male menopause doesn’t interfere with sperm production. But it does develop more slowly, with symptoms and signs often subtle. This leads to:
- Irritability and unstable mood.
- Loss of libido or sexual drive.
- Loss of muscle mass and weakness.
- Low energy or fatigue.
- Reduced hair growth.
- Concentration and/or short-term memory problems.
- Reduced bone density.
Some men with the condition also experience symptoms associated with female menopause such as hot flashes and sweating. Notably, too, some men with low testosterone display no signs.
The primary means of managing men with symptoms from male menopause is testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). This is usually called for by a primary care doctor, urologist, or endocrinologist. Replacement therapy has been shown to help improve libido, memory, muscle mass, and bone strength.
That said, TRT can also cause infertility and lead to a range of other side effects such as blood clots. This is why it's important to have replacement therapy done under the care of an expert medical professional.
TRT is delivered in several different ways:
- Transdermal, using a gel, cream, or patch.
- Injection of both long and short-acting doses.
- Oral daily medications, such as Kyzatrex, Jatenzo, and Tlando (testosterone undecanoate).
- Transmucosal, using a nasal inhaler several times a day or a patch placed above the incisors in the mouth.
- Pellets of three to six months’ worth of testosterone implanted in the buttocks or hip.
Throughout the course of treatment, your progress will be regularly monitored. Follow-up appointments are necessary every six to 12 months.