Women’s feelings and behavior are often discounted as the product of hormonal changes like periods and menopause. Well, guess what, guys: your hormones change too.
“Manopause” and “andropause” refer to the gradual but substantial decrease in men’s testosterone. Eventually the level of the male hormone drops to just one-half what it was when the man was around age 30.
Men: to get an idea of what might be in store, think back to puberty. It’s like that but in reverse, according to “Male Menopause” and “Surviving Male Menopause” author Jed Diamond, who describes changes that are “hormonal, psychological, interpersonal, social, sexual and spiritual.”
Diamond isn’t kidding about the breadth of male menopause’s effects. All of these changes are possible:
That is a lot of serious changes, so I’ll concede that maybe, on occasion, feelings and behavior are related to hormonal changes — but that applies to men as well as women.
I would also like to claim vindication here for every woman who ever said her weight gain was a result of menopause, not changed eating or exercise habits. Men on the downward testosterone escalator may expect “increased body fat” as well.
There is controversy over what to call this phenomenon in men. Because it is a gradual change and not a defined period like menopause in women, some doctors call it “androgen decline,” WebMD reports. This difference matters beyond semantics: it means the effects of decreased male hormones “tend to be subtle and might go unnoticed for years.”
There are a number of diagnostic tools to identify declining testosterone. A doctor who suspects it should:
The Mayo Clinic offers advice to men who believe they may be suffering from decreased testosterone.
It wouldn’t be fair to stop taking men of a certain age seriously because their hormones are changing, but then again, all’s fair in love and the gender war. The ball is in their court: if they stop patronizing women about “their time of the month” and “the change,” I won’t start patronizing them. Probably.
Photo credit: Thinkstock/Diego Cervo
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