Male Menopause: Holding Back the Years

Male Menopause (also called viropause or andropause) involves the hormonal, physiological, and chemical changes that occur in all men generally between the ages of 40 and 55, though it can occur as early as 35 or as late as 65. These changes effect all aspects of a man’s life.

Male menopause is, thus, a physical condition with psycho- logical, interpersonal, social, and spiritual dimensions.

Purpose: The purpose of male menopause is to signal the end of First Adulthood and prepare men for Second Adulthood. The initial signs often involve changes in a man’s sexuality.

MEN and boys face different health concerns than women and girls. Recently, Men’s Health Society was launched in the country in response to the current trend in medicine for men’s preventive care. This also refers to measures taken to prevent male-related diseases as well as curing them or treating their symptoms.

The Asian Institute of Longevity Medicine (AILM), represented by Dr. Quincy Raya, is currently spearheading the establishment of the Men’s Health Society, Philippines which aims to promote the growing need for a greater understanding of men’s health concerns.

Women go through it. Why not men too? The ‘male menopause’and the ‘andropause’are the buzz words for a collection of symptoms that men get once they’re into their fifities and beyond. They include:

- an increase in abdominal fat;
- declining muscle mass and strength;
- a decrease in motivation and drive;
- an increase in fatigue and lethargy;
- moodiness and irritability (‘grumpy old man syndrome’;
- difficulty concentrating;
- declining interest in sex, and erectile problems;
- depression

From about 50 onwards, men experience a gradual decline of about one to two per cent a year in the levels of testosterone in their bodies. Manufactured in the testes, testosterone is the main male sex hormone responsible for secondary sexual characteristics like facial hair and penile growth. It also controls muscle gain and fat distribution.

In connection with this, AILM is embarking on an advocacy campaign to encourage Filipino men age 35 and above to be screened for conditions such as male menopause, erectile dysfunction, hypertension, diabetes, High cholesterol, erectile dysfunction, benign prostatic hyperplasia etc.

The Men’s Health Society is coordinating with several male organizations, stakeholders and the Asian Institute of Longevity.

Identifying the reasons for men’s poorer physical and mental health is an imperative. The Society hopes that measures could be developed and implemented to promote a healthy and active men’s lifestyle, eventually prevent diseases, and guide the development of appropriate health services and policy,” according to Dr. Quincy Raya.

Genuine testosterone deficiency

However, some men - about one in 200 - do have a medical condition that causes the testes to make less than normal amounts of testosterone. The most common is Klinefelter’s syndrome, a genetic disorder in which the testes don’t function adequately. These men do benefit from testosterone treatment.

Only if doctors suspect a medical condition like this should they prescribe testosterone, and then only a after a series of blood tests shows their testosterone is abnormally low. Treatment should be managed by a specialist endocrinologist.

Instead of worrying about their testosterone levels, men ‘of a certain age’ should get plenty of exercise, stop smoking and drinking too much, and see their doctors to determine if they have any underlying condition that can be treated.

In the country today, The Filipino male mortality rate (the number of deaths from all causes) is more than the female mortality rate based on a latest random survey. Overall, for every two women that die, three men die. More men die at every age grouping than women except for the over 65 year old group.

In 2003, a male child in the Philippines could expect to live five years and 10 months less than his sister. This difference has more than doubled over the past century.

Males suffer higher death rates from nearly all non-sex specific leading causes. Heart disease and cancer occur more frequently in males than in females at all ages, and until very old age, men have the overwhelming majority of accidents and injuries. Men suffer higher death rates across all of the 10 leading causes of death in the country.

Despite continuing protestations from vocal female groups, women have actually fared well over the past couple of decades when it comes to the status of their health, thanks to the introduction of a national health policy over the years that became the platform for better care for women. Conversely, men are not fairing so well. While research funding and campaigns to raise awareness to treat breast, cervical, ovarian and uterine cancer continue seemingly unabated, empowering women against these lethal diseases, funding for male specific diseases is paltry by comparison.

“Compared with women, Filipino men of all ages are less healthy and therefore do not enjoy as good a quality of life as they should according to Dr. Raya.

All chronic conditions such as obesity, cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease occur more frequently in men and their life expectancy is five years less than that of women. Men are less likely to use health services, especially in relation to preventative services and early intervention, and the quality of their mental health is below that of women’s added Dr. Raya. In addition, some diseases that exclusively affect men, such as prostate cancer, are insufficiently understood - screening remains controversial and there is little data regarding prevention added Dr. Raya.


by Peter Lavelle

Provided by ArmMed Media