Spare a thought for men…

 …on World Menopause Awareness Day.  I’m not talking about men who are the innocent (or not so innocent) victims of their female partner’s mood swings!  I’m talking about the men who experience symptoms of the male menopause which is called ‘andropause’.

It’s easy to joke about this stage in men’s lives and talk about older men buying motorbikes or fast cars or developing new and unusual hobbies.  But some men experience frequent and intense symptoms similar to those experienced by women including hot flushes, mood swings, depression, low libido and erectile dysfunction.

So what’s going on?  Well, as men enter their 40s and move into their 50s and 60s, the balance of their reproductive hormones starts to change.  Levels of testosterone, which is important for a healthy heart and healthy bones, start to fall.  The balance of oestrogen and progesterone changes and this can lead to weight gain and aggressive behaviour.   The hormone DHEA (dihydroepiandrosterone) gives both men and women a sense of vitality, energy, drive and motivation.  Production of this hormone declines over time which can lead to a lack of stamina and wellbeing.

Most men will pass though the andropause with minimal symptoms.  But men who are experiencing these symptoms in a way that is impacting on their lives and relationships should seek medical advice.  There are medications that can help with individual symptoms including hormone replacement therapies.

Lifestyle changes, such as reducing alcohol intake, stopping smoking, improving diet, and exercising, will help to control symptoms.

There is a range of complementary therapies that can help to mitigate symptoms and support men’s health through this period.  Hypnotherapy has been shown to be particularly effective in helping women who experience hot flushes, particularly when hypnosis includes visualisation of cool images. 

Hypnotherapy techniques can also be used to help with weight control, sleep issues, mood swings and to manage stress.  Men can be taught self-hypnosis so that they can take control of their symptoms.  Hypnosis recordings can also be very effective.