Is male menopause real? - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Is male menopause real?

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Menopause is a time in a woman's life when her body goes through hormonal changes which can be the cause of physical and emotional transitions.

Do men go through something similar? Is there something to the "manopause"? not everyone is convinced this is real.

A AUB endocrinologist is hesitant to call it male menopause, but says there is an explanation for the changes men go through.

The question may start a debate, get blank stares and even some giggles out on the street. But in the privacy of a doctor's office it's a legitimate concern. You're a male. You start feeling different. Could it be "manopuase?"

"There are concerns about whether that is the most appropriate term to use because it implies similarities to female menopause, and there are some key differences," said Dr. Brooks Vaughan, an endocrinologist at UAB.

He says male menopause, also known as andropause, has been coined to explain the changes in male hormone levels; specifically testosterone. But there's a problem with making the  comparison to menopause.

"It's not a universal phenomenon which is true of female menopause. So we tend to describe this as testosterone decline in elderly men rather than using the term andropause," said Vaughan.

In other words, every women understands menopause will come typically in her early 50s. For men, that determination can not be made about testosterone levels without an evaluation.

"With this term it implies that all men of a certain age have a certain problem. And we're just not convinced we should go that far," said Vaughan.  

So now we know "manopause" is not the correct term. But the symptoms associated with hormonal changes in men are real.

"Low bone density, a loss of height, a lack of libido. There are other symptoms that are less specific. Generalized fatigue. Moodiness."    

Doctor Vaughan says these symptoms are not always present with low testosterone. That's why evaluations are key.

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