Mid-Life Crisis or Male Menopause?
Sweaty, sleepless nights. Inexplicable grouchiness. Weight gain, headaches, and no sex drive. Medical professionals across the nation are beginning to take these symptoms seriously and are turning to a diagnosis of male menopause.
Sandra Russell, a high profile divorce lawyer in the United Kingdom, explains in her article, “The Male Menopause and Adultery – Do You Need a Doctor or a Lawyer,” that many women in their late 40’s are turning to her for assistance in a divorce out of a long-term marriage. Attorney Russell refers to these women as casualties of the male menopause, “When he starts going to the gym after years of taking no exercise or starts dyeing his gray hairs you might want to take notice. If could be an attempt to make himself more appealing to the opposite sex in an effort to try and recapture his youthful vigor.” She goes on to explain her theory’s antidote, “Picking up on the early signs of your husband’s problems can give you an opportunity to support him and to address them within the relationship.” If your husband wants to take up a new sport or engage in a new hobby, Attorney Russell encourages you to be as supportive as possible and understand that he is going through both physical and psychological changes. She also doesn’t think this to be a one gender problem, “Let’s not kid ourselves that this type of behavior is exclusive to middle aged men; plenty of women go down the same path in an attempt to fight off the aging process and recapture their youth.”
According to Men’s Health Forum, some doctors and psychologists who believe the mid-life crisis is a genuine condition have identified a wide range of symptoms. Frequently reported problems include:
- Loss of libido (sex drive)
- Erectile dysfunction (impotence)
- Depression, characterized by low moods and (often apparently unaccountable) feelings of sadness and lethargy. At least one study has suggested that those undergoing mid-life difficulties may be distinguished from other men affected by depression by their sense of urgency. Such men are driven to keep on being active, sometimes even more active than they were before the crisis.
Some men may also be affected by:
- Stiffness in the muscles and joints
- Night sweats
- Dry skin
- Hair loss
- Weight gain
- A loss of ability to recover quickly from injuries
Several of these symptoms, occurring together, might understandably provoke a sense of crisis in a man.
CNN Health answers the question many men might have: To treat or not to treat? The FDA first approved testosterone treatments for men with very low levels of testosterone caused by specific medical problems, such as testicular cancer. Studies over the years have concluded that testosterone therapy is effective for these — typically younger — men, but the value of treating men with age-related testosterone loss is still uncertain. The few studies that have been conducted in older men have yielded mixed results about the benefits and risks of this treatment.
That hasn’t stopped older men from wanting to be treated — or doctors from treating them. A man with very low testosterone and numerous symptoms — he’s lost his libido, can’t have sex, is tired all the time, and has no strength — fits the bill for treatment regardless of age, says Matsumoto.
Attorney Russell offers one last bit of advice to women who might be supporting their husband through his male menopause, “At the end of the day, it is likely to be cheaper for him to buy that sports car, with you in the passenger seat of course, then to pay out for a costly divorce settlement.”