I went through so-called male menopause a couple of years ago, so I know it exists. Most doctors refer to it as it's more medical name, Hypogonadism, which basically means a sudden decrease in the production of Testosterone. The symptoms are very similar to female menopause in many ways, including (and the severity varies from individual to individual) mood swings, anxiety, low libido, depression, fatigue, memory loss and even hot flashes with the accompanying uncontrollable sweating.
When I told my Urologist (every man over 50 has or should have a regular Urologist) and suggested that I had low Testosterone he said, "Nope, there's less then a 10% chance that you have, but we'll test you anyway". A few days later when my blood tests came back he said "Congratulations. You're among the 10% or less that actually go through male menopause, so we're going to put you on testosterone supplements." So for the past few years I have been applying a Testosterone supplement (named Androgel) topically every evening. Well, at least as often as I remember and when I don't remember, after a few days my body makes me remember, because I get tired, short of breath and generally feel run down.
Of course before I started the Testosterone treatments and even for about a year afterwords, I had the classic menopause symptoms. I was still working as a hotel manager then and I went through weeks of having to wait on customers with a large fan blowing on me, but still having my dress shirt soaked in sweat most of the time. I can remember the slightest exertion made me perspire and anything above that made me drip with sweat from my entire upper body. Of course my sex drive crashed through the floor and I was plagued with body aches, like always running a mild case of the flu.
After about 3 to 4 years the symptoms subsided. Yes, the Androgel helped I suppose, and I still use it. However it got me to thinking (not always a good thing). I remember both my father and grandfather going through the same sort of symptoms. Of course they didn't talk about it beyond a brief and embarrassed passing word from my father mentioning having to get Testosterone shots.
It's made me wonder if there is still a stigma attached to a man going through what has been always thought of (and especially even cruelly joked of in popular culture) as a "woman's problem"? It made me wonder if there are more men then the generally accepted 8% to 10% who have and are going through the same thing, but who are ashamed to say anything and don't say anything to their doctor?
Maybe they just think that a sudden crash in their libido is a normal part of aging (it's not) or that the sweats they're having are just because they're getting older and that exerting themselves is just making them sweat more (it's not many times) and they don't want to face it?
The truth is that many human beings (most?), male and female (I suspect equally) go through a form of menopause, complete with many common symptoms and that, even though it is a sign of a stage of life we are going through, that there are treatments and medications and therapies that can help us all get passed it. Society has accepted (though unfortunately in some cases as an excuse for joking) the condition in women, but that there is still a huge stigma attached to the same syndrome happening in men. I think we need to get passed that for the health of both sexes. Left untreated Hypogonadism (male menopause) leads to premature aging, osteoporosis (remember those bent over old women and men with a hump? Want to become one?), depression, irritability (crabby old man syndrome), shrunken testicles and even early death.
Men, I can not emphasis this enough. If you are over 50 then there is a good chance you'll face this issue. Don't be embarrassed or fall for any of the old stereotypes of weakness or it being something that only happens to women. Reach out to your primary care doctor or your urologist if you feel these symptoms. This is not about what you think others may think of you, but is rather about you living a longer and more satisfying life. If the possibility of it happening to you doesn't worry you, then it should and you're a damned fool not to consider it.