What Are the Symptoms of Male Menopause?

Think menopause is just for cis women or people who have a uterus? Think again! While most men may have heard about erectile dysfunction thanks to all of those little blue pill ads, menopause is likely not even remotely on their minds. But it should be. Why? Male menopause, also known as andropause, impacts many men ages 50+. How? Well, put it this way, women aren’t the only ones who experience low libido, fatigue, mid-section weight gain, swollen or tender breasts, and yes! Even hot flashes during midlife. 

According to the experts over at the Mayo Clinic, “Hormone changes are a natural part of aging. Unlike the more dramatic reproductive hormone plunge that occurs in women during menopause, however, sex hormone changes in men occur gradually.” Though this only impacts 5.6 percent of all US men, according to this Endocrine Society study, “researchers predicted that by the year 2025 there may be as many as 6.5 million American men 30-79 years of age with symptomatic androgen deficiency.” We’re talking about low testosterone, bringing with it a variety of, you guessed it, not-so-fun symptoms. You know how I keep saying “We’re all in this together?” I really did mean *all* of us. We’re ALL uncomfortable, and there’s nothing more unifying than discomfort!

Thank goodness bioidentical hormones and other treatments are available, but moving through menopause with grace—whatever your sex or gender—means getting educated. So, let’s put on our learning caps and dive into the details.

male menopause

Is Male Menopause a Myth?

First things first, is andropause really a thing? Declining hormone levels drive menopause in those assigned female at birth. So, it seems logical that decreasing male hormones may also cause menopause in the guys. But, is it that simple? That is up for debate. Some research states that male menopause can occur. According to Scripps, male menopause affects older men due to declining testosterone levels. 

But other physicians are less likely to diagnose andropause. According to Harvard Health Publishing, decreased testosterone in men does gradually occur as a man ages. But it is not like menopause in women. Some doctors do not believe that decreasing testosterone is at the center of male menopause since only a small percentage of males appear to experience it. According to Medical News Today, symptoms of male menopause usually occur in older men with high blood pressure, obesity, and heart disease. This may indicate that other issues are the culprit. 

Still, whether men get an official diagnosis of andropause or just experience symptoms without the “menopause” label, declining testosterone levels can cause certain changes in males. 

What Is the Difference Between Female and Male Menopause?

How do the sexes experience menopause differently? Though similarities exist between female and male menopause, they vary quite a bit. I’m sure you’re not shocked to discover that differing anatomy means differing symptoms, but let’s break down the differences. 

What Is Female Menopause?

Menopause, as it relates to those with female sex hormones and body organs, shows a sharp drop in estrogen and progesterone in a relatively quick period of time. According to the National Institute of Aging, “menopause is a point in time 12 months after a woman’s last period. The years leading up to that point, when women may have changes in their monthly cycles, hot flashes, or other symptoms, are called the menopausal transition, or perimenopause.”

According to Healthline, “menopause occurs when a woman hasn’t menstruated in 12 months and can no longer become pregnant naturally.”

For more information about menopause, you can refer to, well, this entire website.

What Is Andropause?

Andropause, also called male menopause, involves a condition associated with a decline in testosterone. Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone made by the testicles. 

Testosterone gradually declines in males as they age. According to the Endocrinology & Metabolism International Journal, after about age 30, testosterone levels decrease by about one percent a year. 

Unlike menopause in women, there is not an average age that men go through andropause. Additionally, the decrease in testosterone and the symptoms of andropause seem to come on more gradually than they do in women. 

How Do Men and Women Experience Menopause Differently?

Usually, men and women experience menopause differently. For example, a large percentage of women experience menopause symptoms. According to BMC Women’s Health

about 85% of women experience some menopause symptoms. It appears the guys might have it easier. (Surprise, surprise.) Although the exact number is not entirely known, some research indicates that about 30% of men develop symptoms related to decreased testosterone levels. 

Another difference between those born with or without uteruses is the number of symptoms that occur. Typically, women may develop a long list of menopause symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, and fatigue. Men usually experience fewer symptoms than women. The onset of symptoms also differs. Women experience a sharp drop in estrogen and progesterone. Men typically have a less severe drop in hormones, and it occurs more gradually. 

Also, menopause signals the end of fertility in women. But men, even if they experience male menopause symptoms, still produce sperm and maintain fertility. However, keep in mind that aging changes definitely occur in the male reproductive system. Such changes—which occur gradually—may include changes in testicular tissue, sperm production, and erectile function. According to the pros at Medline Plus, “The tubes that carry sperm may become less elastic (a process called sclerosis). The testes continue to produce sperm, but the rate of sperm cell production slows. The epididymis, seminal vesicles, and prostate gland lose some of their surface cells. But they continue to produce the fluid that helps carry sperm.”

When it comes to male fertility, “Fertility varies from man to man. Age does not predict male fertility. Prostate function does not affect fertility. A man can father children, even if his prostate gland has been removed. Some fairly old men can (and do) father children. The volume of fluid ejaculated usually remains the same, but there are fewer living sperm in the fluid.”

What Causes Male Menopause?

Male menopause occurs due to a decrease in testosterone. But it is not quite as straightforward as just a drop in hormones. It appears other factors may also cause or at least increase a man’s risk of experiencing male menopause. Having certain medical conditions and lifestyle factors may increase a man’s risk. 

Possible causes of male menopause include: 

  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart Disease 
  • Having a sedentary lifestyle
  • Excessive alcohol intake 
  • Obesity 
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Anxiety 
  • Smoking  

How To Diagnose Andropause

Doctors diagnose andropause through a physical and medical history, which helps rule out other conditions. In addition, your doctor will also order a blood test to measure testosterone levels. 

According to the American Urological Association, a testosterone level below 300 is low. 

What Are the Symptoms of Male Menopause?

Now that you know the various ways in which female and male menopause differ, you might be thinking, “Gee, I’ve spent so much time learning about how menopause works for my body, congrats to me on educating myself, BTW, but how does does male menopause manifest?”  dive into what cis men experience during andropause. 

Physical Symptoms of Male Menopause

Although women and men may experience some of the same menopause symptoms, in men, they usually come on gradually. They also are usually less severe in men. Symptoms of male menopause may include: 

  • Erectile dysfunction 
  • Weight gain around the middle 
  • Gynecomastia ( breast development) 
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Hot flashes 
  • Low libido 

Emotional Symptoms of Male Menopause

Male menopause may not only affect a man physically, but emotional symptoms may also develop. Some men may just feel a little “off,” like they lost their mojo. But for others, the emotional symptoms are no joke. Possible emotional symptoms of male menopause include: 

  • Irritability 
  • Depression 
  • Anxiety 
  • Trouble concentrating 

What Are Male Menopause Treatments?

Aside from the ever-so-popular low libido fixer, Viagra, what other ways can men treat their menopausal maladies? Check out this list below.


Antidepressants are an option, especially if anxiety and depression are symptoms. But antidepressants may also help with well-known vasomotor menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes, night sweats, and skin flushing. Usually, antidepressants fall into two camps: either selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRI) or serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRI). 


Antidepressants may help decrease certain physical and emotional symptoms that may occur with only taking one medication. For men that do not want to take hormone replacement therapy, antidepressants might be worth a try. Keep in mind, it may take a little trial and error to get the right dose of medication. 


Although not everyone that takes an antidepressant experiences side effects, they can occur. Some possible unwanted side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia 
  • Anxiety 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Sexual dysfunction 

Bioidentical Hormones

Bioidentical hormones are a type of replacement therapy for people of all genders. For men, bioidenticals include testosterone. The hormones are taken in either the form of creams, pills, patches, or pellets. Some types of bioidentical hormones are custom made by a compounding pharmacist, and some are premade by the manufacturer. 


Bioidentical hormones have a similar molecular structure to those that the body produces naturally. The hormones can decrease many of the symptoms of male menopause. 


The compound form of bioidentical hormones does not have FDA oversight. Bioidentical hormones may have some effects, including: 

  • Fluid retention 
  • Acne
  • Oily skin 
  • Increase in red blood cell count
  • Reduced sperm count 

Not all men experience side effects. Also, side effects may decrease as the body gets used to the increase in hormones. 

Testosterone Replacement Therapy

Traditional testosterone therapy is a form of hormone replacement therapy. It has the same goal as bioidentical hormones—to bring testosterone levels back to a normal range and improve male menopause symptoms. 


Traditional testosterone therapy has been around for many years and is safe for most men. It can help replace declining testosterone levels and improve libido, energy level, and muscle mass. 


The cons associated with testosterone replacement therapy include possible side effects, such as: 

  • Mild fluid retention 
  • Breast growth 
  • Worsening sleep apnea 
  • Decreased sperm count

Vitamins and Supplements

Vitamins and supplements may help increase testosterone levels. But vitamins also can help improve overall health, which may help certain symptoms of male menopause, such as fatigue, trouble sleeping, and weight gain around the middle. For example, Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a supplement that helps promote testosterone levels. Vitamin D may also boost testosterone levels. 


Taking supplements is one way to increase testosterone levels without having to take hormone therapy. There are also some additional benefits to taking certain vitamins for overall health. 


Vitamins and supplements alone may not be the cure-all for male menopause symptoms. 

Vitamin and supplements can interfere with certain medications. So, it is best to talk with your doctor before starting any supplements. 

It’s a Wrap!

All this time, we were thinking that menopause just happened to those who own a uterus. Well, studies suggest that menopause actually occurs in cis men, too. Although women and men may experience some of the same menopause symptoms, in men, they usually come on gradually. They also are usually less severe in men. Symptoms of male menopause may include: 

  • Erectile dysfunction 
  • Weight gain around the middle 
  • Gynecomastia (breast development) 
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Hot flashes 
  • Low libido 

This means that you and your male bestie can have fun fanning each other down as you experience hot flashes. Aging and the discomforts therein know no gender, so neither should your allies in ice bathing and/or drinking. Team work makes the dream work!


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