Menopause in men is no more an uncommon notion - experts say more than five million men are affected by it.
Menopause in men, medically known as male hypogonadism, causes symptoms of fatigue, mood swings, decreased desire for sex, hair loss, lack of concentration and weight gain.
It occurs as a result of low testosterone production in male body. Testosterone is the hormone that plays a key role in masculine growth and development. When hormone levels drop, men can experience significant mental and physical changes.
"Unfortunately, we estimate that 95 percent of cases are undiagnosed and therefore untreated. When ignored, symptoms can seriously disrupt one's quality of life," said Robert Brannigan of Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
Compared to menopause in women, the effects of hormonal change move slowly, with testosterone levels dropping around one percent each year beginning in a man's late thirties, said Brannigan.
This increases with age, and by age seventy, the reduction in a male's testosterone level could be as high as fifty percent or more.
Treatment options for male hypogonadism include hormone replacement therapy (HRT) via absorbable pellet implants, topical gels, patches, and injections. Through HRT, doctors can restore sexual function and muscle strength. In addition, men often experience an increase in energy and an improved overall sense of well-being.
"Because male hypogonadism can significantly impact the quality of one's life, it's important that men pay attention to their body and openly discuss symptoms with their physician in order to prevent overlooking the cause and avoid missing an opportunity for appropriate therapy," he said.
Male hypogonadism is most commonly diagnosed through a simple blood test. Brannigan noted that hormone replacement therapy is not appropriate for all patients especially those with history of prostate and breast cancer and men trying to conceive.
He suggested consulting your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms.