Baltimore Sun

Men’s testostero­ne declines over a period of many years

- Mayo Clinic Mayo Clinic Q&A is an educationa­l resource and doesn’t replace regular medical care. Email questions to MayoClinic­Q&A@

Q: My wife is 52 and just beginning menopause. We were talking about the changes she’s been experienci­ng, and I was wondering if there is such a thing as male menopause. I am 58.

A: Hormone changes are a natural part of aging. Unlike the more dramatic reproducti­ve hormone plunge that occurs in women during menopause, however, sex hormone changes in men occur gradually.

The term “male menopause” has been used to describe decreasing testostero­ne levels related to aging. But aging-related hormone changes in women and men are different.

In women, ovulation ends and hormone production plummets during a relatively short period of time. This is known as menopause. In men, production of testostero­ne and other hormones declines over a period of many years, and the consequenc­es aren’t necessaril­y clear. This gradual decline of testostero­ne levels is called late-onset hypogonadi­sm, or age-related low testostero­ne.

Low testostero­ne levels in older men often go unnoticed as many men who have low testostero­ne levels experience no symptoms. In addition, the signs and symptoms associated with low testostero­ne aren’t specific to low testostero­ne. They also can be caused by a person’s age; medication use; or other conditions, such as having a body mass index of 30 or higher.

Testostero­ne levels can be checked by a blood test, but tests aren’t routinely done. That said, if you are experienci­ng certain signs

and symptoms suggestive of low testostero­ne, ask your health care provider to check your levels.

Some signs and symptoms suggestive of low testostero­ne include:

Reduced sexual desire and activity

Decreased spontaneou­s erections or erectile dysfunctio­n

Breast discomfort or swelling


Height loss, low trauma fracture or low bone mineral density

Hot flushes or sweats Other possible symptoms include decreased energy, motivation and confidence; depressed mood; and poor concentrat­ion.

Experts recommend only testing older men for low testostero­ne if they have signs or symptoms. If low testostero­ne is confirmed, further testing of the pituitary gland is recommende­d to determine the cause and rule out other hormone deficienci­es. The pituitary is a gland situated at the base of your brain. It is part of your body’s endocrine system, which consists of all the glands that produce

and regulate hormones.

Treatment recommenda­tions for men with age-related low testostero­ne vary.

Though further research is needed, testostero­ne therapy might stimulate growth of metastatic prostate and breast cancer. Testostero­ne therapy also can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and contribute to the formation of blood clots in the veins.

Your health care provider likely will recommend against starting testostero­ne therapy if your fertility is important in the near future or if you have conditions such as breast or prostate cancer, untreated severe obstructiv­e sleep apnea, uncontroll­ed heart failure or thrombophi­lia.

If you think you might have low testostero­ne, talk to your health care provider about your signs and symptoms, testing and possible treatment options.

 ?? DREAMSTIME ?? The term “male menopause” has been used to describe decreasing testostero­ne levels related to aging.
DREAMSTIME The term “male menopause” has been used to describe decreasing testostero­ne levels related to aging.

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