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Andropause Pt-2


Last week, I looked at the issue of andropause and received a lot of responses, especially from men asking for clarification. At the risk of being accused of being “vulgar” by some of my religious colleagues I will summarize what I wrote last week for the ordinary man to understand.{{more}}

In the last Midweek edition, I said that men who go through andropause or “midlife crisis” do so from about the age of mid-40s, but unlike the experience of women, it does not last for two to three years and there is no “period” to stop. Instead, men’s “mid-life crisis” takes about 15 to 20 years and it starts with the man noticing that he is not as agile as he used to be. He also notices a decrease of physical energy, sexual drive and erection strength. Unlike women whose menopause is sudden, men’s “menopause” is more subtle and is sometimes mistaken for other things like impotence or lack of energy, due to some other medical condition like diabetes. Lots of men also lose their desire for sex and so bury themselves into their work. This is also the period when most men have been married for 15 -20 years and the wife is also going through menopause.

Imagine, 15-20 years of marriage, falling physical and sexual energy, two to three adolescent children, a wife going through menopause, hence less sexual interest, and you will understand why most marriages or relationships go through a crisis. This is also the time when the man may notice a reduction in the power of erections, but he may also notice an ability to control it better. Importantly, andropause coincides with the age at which most men are more established in their jobs and have more disposable income. So, armed with Viagra or some other supplement (men take a lot of energy boosting supplements in their 40s, 50s and 60s), and with more disposable income, he runs off with a younger woman, usually young enough to be his daughter. With her he finds or attempts to find his lost youth. He also finds sexual excitement and “ego boosting” that was lost with “the wife” a long time ago. Many men in these types of relationships can testify of the boost of energy they feel with these younger women. They will tell you that their productive energies are improved and these women keep them young. It is not uncommon for these men to father children with these younger women and leave their wives for these younger women. Men may also change their vehicle and may get a sports car or a bigger, more expensive vehicle. These tend to attract a prettier, younger woman. Marriages that dissolve under these situations are usually those that were under stress for some time before, but the midlife crisis was the final straw that broke the marriage and is not the cause of the breakdown, as many couples who have experienced it will attest.

At this stage the man is desperately trying to regain lost youth and vigor and looks at the wife as the reason why he feels so “old”, as she is also going through menopause. He blames his lack of sexual energy on “the wife’s” disinterest in sex, as she has her own issues to deal with. He does not recognize that he is also going through changes, but not as drastic as the wife; his is more gradual. He feels that because he has not lost his erections or his ability to procreate that it is his wife to blame for his sexual disinterest. He does not understand the changes going on in his body; he cannot believe he is getting “old” so early in his life. The man’s problem is that the process is so gradual that he does not “graduate” like the woman, so there is no distinct menopause and postmenopausal period, as in the woman.

Because of this lack of a defining experience, men are not prepared for or cannot cope with andropause, as women are. Society prepares women for menopause but not men for andropause. Pick up any women’s magazine and you will see many ads for supplements, for menopause, as you will in the newspaper and on television. I am only aware of one ad on television for hormone replacement therapy for men in their 40s with “hypogonadism”! The ability of men to recognize and deal with the beginning of andropause is important, not only because of a decline in physical and sexual energy and endurance, but also because it is also the beginning of significant medical problems like obesity, high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. Next week we will look at the treatment of andropause or “midlife crisis” in light of the changes discussed over the last two weeks.

For comments or question contact:

Dr. Rohan Deshong

Tel: (784) 456-2785

email: [email protected]