It Happens To Men, Too

If you thought hot flashes and hormone issues were exclusive to women, you're in good company. Most people think of these problems as connected to female menopause. But all of you are wrong. Men have hormone issues, too, and it's called andropause or male menopause. Andropause can wreak havoc in a man's life, much as menopause does for women.

Take Don Higgins who began to notice changes at the age of 57. "I've always been tired after a good day's work, but this was ridiculous. By the end of the day, especially at the end of the week, I felt so exhausted it was scary. Also, I had this pudge around my middle and hardly any sex drive."

Just Age

Don figured it was just age getting to him, but his doctor said it was something altogether different: his hormone levels had dropped due to andropause. Don was in shock. "Okay, I've heard of menopause. Who hasn't? But I always kind of thought hormones were a woman thing. Guys don't think about stuff like that," said Higgins.

One expert on the subject, Dr. Richard Giannotto, a founder of the Longevity Center, says that andropause is due to, "a decrease in certain hormones in a man, specifically testosterone, secondarily, growth hormone and something called DHEA."

But male menopause is different than the female variety. Andropause is much more gradual a process. Doctors say that all men go through it, but most aren't really aware that it's happening. It begins in their 40's. Men may not even know there is such a condition as andropause, though their wives may figure it out for them.

Sex Drive

Women realize how much better they feel on their hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and it occurs to them that maybe there's something like HRT for men that might make their husbands feel better. Decreasing hormone levels can make it hard for men to lose mid-section abdominal weight and may also affect memory and the ability to concentrate. There are other symptoms, too, mainly irritability, depression, and loss of libido. These symptoms can really affect relationships and this is even truer when a spouse is also coping with hormonal depletion.

Women that suspect there must be something out there for their spouses—something like HRT—are correct. Higgins started taking HRT, made some changes in his diet and began an exercise regimen. He's seen a significant improvement, "It's all back: my memory, my sex drive…my wife is so happy," says Higgins, "I just feel better. Much better.

Not only does Higgins feel better, but his doctor tells him that he's made significant dents in his risks for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and osteoporosis.

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