Andropause or male menopause, sometimes colloquially called "man-opause," is a name that has been given, in some parts of the English-speaking world, to a set of effects that appears in some aging men, and which have some superficial similarities to menopause effects in women.
Andropause may be related to the slow but steady reduction of the production of the hormones testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone in middle-aged men, and the consequences of that reduction.
It is also associated with a decrease in Leydig cells. A steady decline in testosterone levels with age (in both men and women) is well documented.
Unlike "menopause," the word "andropause" is currently not recognized by the World Health Organization and its ICD-10 medical classification. While the words are sometimes used interchangeably, hypogonadism is a deficiency state in which the hormone testosterone goes below the normal range for even an aging male.
The impact of low levels of testosterone has been previously reported. In 1944, Heller and Myers identified symptoms of what they labeled the "male climacteric" including loss of libido and potency, nervousness, depression, impaired memory, the inability to concentrate, fatigue, insomnia, hot flushes, and sweating.
Heller and Myers found that their subjects had lower than usual levels of testosterone and that symptoms decreased dramatically when patients were given replacement doses of testosterone.
Andropause has been observed in association with Alzheimer's disease.
In one study, 98.0% of primary care physicians believed that andropause and osteoporosis risk were related.
The term "symptomatic late-onset hypogonadism" (or "SLOH") is sometimes considered to refer to the same condition as the word "andropause."
Some researchers prefer the term "androgen deficiency of the aging male" ("ADAM"), to more accurately reflect the fact that the loss of testosterone production is gradual and asymptotic (in contrast to the more abrupt change associated with menopause.) The "D" is sometimes given as "decline" instead of "deficiency." In some contexts, the term "partial androgen deficiency in aging males" ("PADAM") is used instead.
Proponents of andropause as a distinct condition claim that it is a biological change experienced by men during mid-life, and often compare it to female menopause.
Menopause, however, is a complete cessation of reproductive ability caused by the shutting down of the female reproductive system. Andropause is a decline in the male hormone testosterone.
This drop in testosterone levels is considered to lead in some cases to erectile dysfunction, diabetes, loss of energy and concentration, depression, and mood swings.
While andropause does not cause a man's reproductive system to stop working altogether, many experience bouts of impotence.
The theory is that andropause is caused by a very gradual testosterone deficiency and an increase in sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) that occurs from age 40 onwards.
By contrast, women have a more rapid onset of menopause at an average age of 51. Testosterone declines 10% every decade after age 30 (1% per year).
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