Hot flushes, low mood, irritability, aches and pains, low sex drive, brain fog: all symptoms that have become synonymous with the female menopause. But interestingly, these are also symptoms that men with testosterone deficiency suffer. Typically, we think of menopause as being a uniquely female problem. By definition menopause is a stopping of menstruation (periods), but perhaps this terminology is outdated, and we should be thinking more of menopause as female oestrogen deficiency? As women reach a certain age, or develop other medical problems, their oestrogen levels drop, and this has a knock-on, adverse effect on their health and wellbeing, both physically and mentally. However, the same process also happens in men. Male levels of testosterone drop by around 1% per year after the age of 30, and while menopause tends to, (but not always), occurs in the late 40s, early 50s, symptoms of testosterone deficiency are far more variable, occurring in men in their early 30s, and then through any age, and sometimes even not at all.
The loss of oestrogen in women has profound effects on female physical health. It causes a loss of muscle mass, bone density, changes to blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as many other changes to skin, hair, etc… The loss of testosterone in men has exactly the same effect on the male body. Similarly, loss of either oestrogen in women or testosterone in men often causes similar changes in mood and personality, motivation, drive and memory.
When it comes to looking at how we approach treatment for menopause and male testosterone deficiency, once again there are astounding similarities. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is the gold standard treatment for menopause in women and is usually a combination of oestrogen and progesterone. In men, we also use HRT. This time however, we use testosterone to replace what is lost, but the principles of HRT in both men and women remain the same: replace the hormone we have become deficient in. The effects of both treatments for men and women produce similar results, and the benefits can be life changing.
Historically, we tend to think of menopause as something a male partner has to watch from the side lines, never really understanding, being able to sympathise, or support his loved one in any meaningful way. Afterall, how could a man possibly understand what a women goes through during menopause? But this attitude is increasingly outdated and in approaching hormonal health, we should always look at a patient holistically. If your spouse is going through menopause, sometimes a moment of self-reflection and self-analysis could help you realise that you too are struggling with many of symptoms we see in our loved one. Menopause is much more than a loss of periods, and testosterone deficiency is much more than erectile dysfunction. When it comes down to it, men and women are not really that different.
If you have a concern around the menopause or testosterone deficiency why not book an appointment with one of our specialist doctors.
You can find out more about our menopause consultations here
You can find out more about our testosterone deficiency consultations here