Menopause and Andropause – Similarities And Differences
Andropause is more commonly known as “male menopause” but this is actually a misnomer as it really isn’t the male version of menopause at all. There are distinct differences between the two conditions, three of which are generally considered the most significant: The rate of change, the effect on reproductive ability, and the role of age.
The Rate of Change
In women, although they can experience pre-menopausal symptoms for a number of years, actual menopause generally happens quite quickly. There is a sudden change in hormone levels, leading to the rapid onset of typical symptoms – hot flushes, mood swings and loss of interest in sex, among others. With andropause, the hormonal changes happen far more slowly, and this gradual shift means many men deal with most of the symptoms without even realising they are linked to dwindling levels of testosterone. Eventually, though, most men suffering from male menopause will notice significant changes in their energy levels, muscle mass and sex drive.
When women go through menopause, it signifies the end of their reproductive years. They stop producing eggs for potential fertilisation and no longer produce the hormones responsible for preparing the uterine lining for a potential pregnancy. This process leads directly to the stopping of monthly menstruation.
Men going through andropause – while they may experience lower libidos – don’t lose their ability to produce sperm and father children. In fact, most men remain fertile until well into their 80s.
The Role of Age
Menopause is a natural response to a woman’s body ageing, and all women go through it – usually between the ages of 45 and 55. However, not all men experience andropause. In fact, only about half of men will go through this stage. Some women experience menopause earlier than average, and this is often due to non-age-related factors, such as excessive alcohol consumption, obesity, malnutrition or hormonal deficiencies.
Symptoms of Menopause and Andropause
Quite surprisingly, the most common symptoms of menopause are also often experienced by Andropause sufferers too. Low sex drive, night sweats, hot flashes and weight gain are common amongst men and women. But symptoms are not just physical, and there are many noted psychological changes too, the most common of which are depression and mood swings.
Fortunately for both men and women, there are treatments available that medically recognised as being effective in improving your quality of life. One of the most popular treatments for both the male and female versions of this condition is bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT). This has proven high effective in regulating hormone levels and providing significant relief from symptoms.
Regular hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has become a little controversial in recent years, and some studies link it to increased risks of cancers. It’s best to talk to your healthcare professional before embarking on any treatments.
Dr. Alain Sanua is a qualified medical doctor currently practising integrated medicine in Johannesburg. Among his many interests is a particular passion for treating hormone imbalances such as endometriosis, PMT, menstrual disorders, menopause (male and female) osteoporosis, acne and thyroid problems. To get a better idea of you can manage your menopausal symptoms, contact Dr. Sanua today.