Between the ages of 40 and 65, men experience a manly, masculine version of what we women know as menopause. Known medically as andropause, during this time in a man’s life, he experiences a change in hormone production, and it has profound effects on his mental and physical health, as well as his sex drive.
Every year, a man’s circulating testosterone levels decrease by 1%, but as he reaches middle age, this decline speeds up. Issues such as obesity, diet and disease can all accelerate the process.
Signs of MANopause
Society has come to expect that men would gain body fat over the years, and become tired when they reach middle age. We have come to expect them to lose muscle mass and become grumpy as they age, but most couples only take the situation seriously at the first signs of erectile dysfunction. The list of symptoms for MANopause include:
- Loss of confidence and social withdrawal
- Loss of energy to do the things he enjoys
- Increased body fat, particularly around the love handles and middle
- Loss of enthusiasm, or depression
- Loss of muscle mass
- Loss of libido
- Loss of hair in the genital and armpit areas
- Trouble sleeping, or night sweats
- Fewer, weaker erections
Infections, stress, poor diet, thyroid or heart disease could also cause these symptoms, but it is still important to seek diagnosis. Obese or diabetic men, and those with high blood pressure are at an increased risk of developing andropause sooner. However, keeping fit and healthy through a balanced diet can help keep it at bay.
Talking About MANopause
Men don’t always understand their feelings, and they are unlikely to talk about it, especially as they face the fact that they are mortal beings. They find it easier to deny or ignore the symptoms, which then bubble over as hypersensitivity, irritability, moodiness and sometimes, depression. This destructive behaviour can cause all kinds of trouble in previously happy relationships.
When he does finally open up, it is important to seek proper treatment, rather than the zany potions and pumps for sale in obscure stores. Testosterone replacement is also not a savvy solution, as it does not form part of the natural body rhythms, and long-term safety has yet to be confirmed. It also poses increased risks for men with prostate cancer.
Natural MANopause Remedies
Since the dawn of time, people have used herbs and plants to encourage vitality in men and women. Herbal supplements such as tongkat ali (Eurycoma longifolia Jack) ashwagandha, Muira puama and Tribulus terrestris are some of the herbal remedies which, in conjunction with a healthy, active lifestyle and balanced diet, will go a long way to managing the inevitable age-related changes.
At the end of the day, it is up to us to provide a soft place to fall in our roles as supportive wives.