Men too suffer from 'menopause'
It's not just women who undergo menopause, even men experience midlife crisis. Many men do not acknowledge that they suffer effects from hormone loss as they age.health and fitness Updated: Feb 20, 2009 17:20 IST
It's not just women who undergo menopause, even men experience midlife crisis, says researchers.
Middle-aged men often show irritability in behaviour, which they often blame it on their wives' nagging, but now scientists have said that it's just another type of menopause.
Many men do not acknowledge that they, just like women, suffer effects from the loss of hormones as they age.
But, Northern California psychotherapist Jed Diamond has said that in men the effects show up as everything from irritable mood swings and flagging sex drive to loss of muscle strength and male identity.
Diamond has said that men's midlife crisis is just one aspect of male menopause, or andropause, as it is medically known.
While women go through hormonal changes that cause cessation of the menstrual period, resulting in the inability to reproduce, men don''t lose their reproductive abilities.
But some men do experience a decrease in testosterone levels with age.
"We've taken a slice and assumed it was the whole picture. There are a number of changes that men go through: hormonal, physiological, interpersonal, sexual and spiritual," The Daily Telegraph quoted Diamond as saying.
He added: "When you think of midlife crisis, you think of the psychological or social changes, like when men act in a way that focuses upon youth.
"We ignore the hormonal and physiological changes. With women, we think the opposite, emphasising the physiological changes.''''
He embarked on his research after finding out that irritability is a symptom of andropause and can cause problems all by itself
Then, he conducted another study with 6000 men and also developed the quiz and put it on his web site, where he said 60,000 people have taken it worldwide.
Louann Brizendine, a neuropsychiatrist at the University of California-San Francisco, said that many of his theories are true, anecdotally, for men nationwide.
Brizendine said: "The concept of a midlife crisis has been questioned, but nonetheless, there is a correlation between declining testosterone and age in men.
"For some men, the decline in testosterone affects them in mood, muscle strength and sexual function.
"There is good evidence that declining testosterone in some men can make their mood decline, and some men have increased moodiness and irritability.''''
Irritable Male Syndrome offers four key causes of male irritability-one is a decrease in testosterone.
Men become angrier because they feel less "like themselves,'' said Diamond.
Other than that, stress, biochemical changes in the brain and changes in male identity and male roles in society cause irritability.
Diamond, the author of The Irritable Male Syndrome: Managing the Four Key Causes of Aggression and Depression has developed an online support system at menalive.com.
Through his site, he is educating men around the globe about the little-known, but apparently widely experienced, phenomenon.
First Published: Feb 20, 2009 12:18 IST