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The male menopause, or andropause, is a real thing, but it is not characterised in the same way as the female menopause so is something of a misleading term which has been popularised mostly by the media.
Although testosterone, the male sex hormone, does decrease as men get older it does not have a rapid decline as seen with women and oestrogen, which causes the female menopause. Many argue that the symptoms of male menopause are linked more to lifestyle factors such as poor diet, smoking, too much alcohol and a lack of exercise, and psychological issues such as stress, depression and anxiety, as well as the concept of a `mid-life crisis`.
It tends to affect men when they reach their later 40s and early 50s and is characterised by various emotional and physical changes or symptoms, some of which can impact on daily life, happiness and comfort.
These include depression, mood swings or irritability, lack of energy (sluggishness), a loss of muscle mass and a reduced ability to exercise, difficulty sleeping, increased tiredness, memory loss and poor concentration, a change in fat distribution which may result in an enlarged belly or development of `man boobs` (gynaecomastia), and a loss of sex drive or low libido, possibly combined with erectile dysfunction.
Although experiencing the symptoms at the appropriate age is often enough to confirm that a man is suffering something akin to a male menopause, a simple blood test to check testosterone levels can confirm a diagnosis through your GP and assess if the levels are particularly low and should be addressed.
A variety of treatments and lifestyle changes can be recommended to relieve symptoms, including physical ones such as gynaecomastia which can be treated with liposuction techniques and surgery. These include Hormone Replacement Therapies for men including Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT), psychological therapies to manage stress, depression and mood swings, and advice on healthy eating and exercise.
The female menopause, and male andropause, can cause symptoms such as a lack of energy, sweats or hot flushes, mood swings and reduced libido. Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) is an alternative treatment to the synthetic hormones, used in conventional Hormone Replacement Therapies (HRT).
Gynaecomastia is a medical term that comes from the Greek meaning female-like-breasts. This condition occurs when firm breast tissue forms in men. Surgery can reduce the size of these breasts.
Liposuction (also called lipoplasty, liposculpture or lipectomy) is a surgical technique for removing specific areas of stubborn fat that do not respond to a healthy diet and regular exercise.