Is Male menopause for real?

For and Against” editorial in a recent issue of the British Medical Journal has sparked new debate on the existence of a "male menopause". Is there really a "change of life" for men, where hormonal levels change dramatically?

Duncan C. Gould from Goldcross Medical Services in London thinks so. Writing in the journal, Mr. Gould presented data that concentrations of testosterone decrease by up to 50% in men between the ages of 25 and 75. Gould and his colleagues also say that about half of men over the age of 50 have abnormally low levels of the male hormone, because of changes in their endocrine systems. Their view is that these low levels show themselves in similar symptoms to those that women experience: hot flashes, sweats, depression, nervousness, fatigue, and low energy.

The researchers also point out a link between aging and an increase in men’s body fat. They say that this could also be attributed to a drop in hormone levels.

On the other side of the male menopause (also known as "andropause") fence is Professor Howard S. Jacobs, who writes that there is simply no equivalent of menopause in men. Jacobs argues thathe gradual changing of testosterone levels in men is a completely different experience than the rapid drop in estrogen levels for menopausal women.

Jacobs backs up his argument against male menopause by noting the development and success of Viagara, which is not a hormonal drug. Viagra has been markedly more successful than previous attempts at treating erectile dysfunction with hormones. No doubt the debate will continue.