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Did You Know?

Andropause, or “low testosterone”

As men age, their testosterone levels decrease. Some doctors refer to this as “andropause” or “male menopause.”

As this happens, some men have symptoms commonly associated with female menopause (when a woman’s estrogen levels decrease), such as mood swings and fatigue. Men who have had a rapid decline in testosterone, such as those undergoing androgen-deprivation therapy for prostate cancer, may have hot flashes.

However, there is a key difference between men’s and women’s hormonal changes.

The decrease in testosterone for men tends to be gradual, about 1% each year starting around age 40. For menopausal women, the decrease in estrogen is much more abrupt.

Still, low testosterone can cause a number of problems. You might find your sex drive decreasing or you might have problems with erections. Some men don’t sleep as well and find they don’t have the stamina they once had. Some start to lose muscle strength, gain weight, and have swollen breasts.

If these issues become bothersome for you, be sure to see your doctor. Decreasing testosterone is part of aging, but these symptoms can be caused by underlying medical conditions, too. Or, they might be side effects of medications you’re taking.

The doctor can measure your testosterone level with a simple blood test. He or she might prescribe testosterone patches or gels to help alleviate your symptoms.