Do guys experience 'manopause'?
July 14th, 2011
08:23 AM ET

Do guys experience 'manopause'?

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex on Thursdays on The Chart. Read more from him at his website, GoodInBed.

What happens when a man’s testosterone level starts to go south as he ages? Do guys experience their own version of menopause? Sort of, but not exactly.

Unlike women, men experience hormonal changes gradually over a period of many years. A man’s testosterone level peaks around age 20, and then steadily declines from about 40 on, so ultimately it’s about 50% less by the time he is 80 years old. The result can sometimes be a condition called “andropause,” which potentially affects millions of American men.

The symptoms - irritability, changes in sexual function and erectile quality, low desire - can have a very real impact on a guy’s sex life and his overall relationship.

But low testosterone doesn’t always signal a problem. There’s a huge range in what is considered "normal" for the sex hormone testosterone, according to my Good in Bed colleague and author of a woman’s guide to male sexual issues, psychiatrist Madeleine Castellanos. Testosterone levels fluctuate greatly throughout the day (they’re highest in the morning) and even during different seasons.

Life itself can also affect testosterone. When a man enters a steady relationship, his levels tend to drop somewhat, and then drop even further when he has small children. (This may be nature’s way of trying to ensure that fathers remain monogamous and supportive of their offspring.)

In fact, testosterone seems to respond greatly to different challenges as the body’s way of regulating its energy and resources. Any type of competition - from trying to pick up a woman at a bar, to playing a game of chess - will increase a man’s testosterone level to prepare him for the challenge.

“What is most fascinating is that if a man is victorious, his testosterone level gets a 20% boost,” says Castellanos in her guide to male sexual issues. “If he is not, he may experience up to a 90% dip in testosterone.”

To complicate matters further, two men of the same age may have exactly the same testosterone level but feel very different physically, emotionally, and sexually.

When andropause is diagnosed, the guy may be treated with testosterone replacement, depending on his health history. Just as there are various hormone replacement therapies for women, there's also testosterone replacement therapy for men - and research is still ongoing into potential side effects. These therapies should be explored cautiously. The male brain monitors the circulating level of testosterone in the body and will actually decrease production of testosterone if it determines it’s too high.

Says Castellanos, “Testosterone replacement is not without its side effects, such as decreased sperm production and shrinkage of the testicles. Also, it is contraindicated for men with prostate disease.”

There’s also much that men can do to boost testosterone on their own. Castellanos recommends keeping a regular schedule of both aerobic exercise and weight training, getting enough sleep, decreasing stress to manageable levels, having appropriate levels of zinc in the diet, and experiencing a sense of accomplishment and success regularly.

I generally recommend that all men, regardless of age, get their testosterone levels checked. That’s because there’s such a wide range in what’s considered a normal level, and ideally you’ll know your baseline and be able to better understand changes as you get older.

In youger men, a normal testosterone level is considered to be anywhere between 270-1030, which is quite a spectrum. The truth is that most doctors don’t check testosterone levels in younger men, unless specifically requested, so most men are unable to clearly know as they age whether they are experiencing symptoms that can be directly correlated to andropause.

But regardless of your age, it’s not too late to get your t-level checked and regularly monitored. Just as most people know their blood type, every guy should know his baseline testosterone level.

soundoff (192 Responses)
  1. Bubba


    July 14, 2011 at 14:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. David Letterman

    Testosterone levels are REALLY LOW these days.
    They're so low that as I cut through the park, I saw a squirrel putting testosterone on his nuts.

    July 14, 2011 at 15:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Broccoli

    Randy, I still think about you. Call me?

    July 14, 2011 at 15:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Doctor Funny

    I diagnose Pepe with an extreme case of menopause. It's either that or sagging ovaries.

    July 14, 2011 at 15:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Pepe

      Been there, done that. I had my ovaries removed after my daughter was born.

      July 14, 2011 at 23:46 | Report abuse |
  5. patrick

    the cure for menppause is plenty of vitanim "D" if you know what I mean hehhe

    July 14, 2011 at 15:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Bubba

    I lift weights with my junk.

    July 14, 2011 at 15:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Commander Data

    I'm entering Nano Pause, Captain.

    July 14, 2011 at 15:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Zaritma

    I don’t know how this product is for men, but I regularly use a product for my menopause the company is Bio3 and helped me a lot with symptoms such as bloating and discomfort and is a natural solution that I can take it with water and tastes is good.

    July 14, 2011 at 15:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Steve

    I've been calling it womenopause for years, along with halfheimers, mostheimers, and selected deafness.

    July 14, 2011 at 16:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. fuyuko

    If guys have a hormonal problem resulting from age, can we not trivialize it or give it a kitchy name? It is not menopause, you can't compare the symtoms and it makes it sound silly to call it manopause.

    July 14, 2011 at 19:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Aaron

    The truth is testosterone replacement is far less dangerous than estrogen replacement. But because our government has fed it to us that all Anabolic steroids are evil, doctors are fearful to prescribe it. Once again, men lose out on health issues.

    July 14, 2011 at 21:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. DiamondSky

    Men, if you are in pain, embrace it like a real man. Life contains much pain; don't expect otherwise. Get whatever medically available and pray. Find God(Jesus) in the midst of your pain and put yourself in order. Pain is the best teacher in life yet something we never go around looking for. Never be depressed or think about hurting yourself or others; there are always unimaginably wonderful things in this world you haven't discovered yet. You were born to find God and protect and build up others, never the opposite.

    July 14, 2011 at 21:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. DiamondSky

    Thank God for pain. Mankind is so evil with all the pain and limits in power and time; withouit pain mankind will be utterly evil beyond any hope. Americans who reject the Almighty God and worship themselves are pure insane.

    July 14, 2011 at 21:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. salih

    Men needs to use their body in order to good posture as well as testosterone level. Weight training, quality sleeping and good eating habit is crucial for testosterone. Exercise and sport can affect testosterone level positively. On the other hand, stress can affect negatively. Therefore in men's life, testosterone level fluctuates during the men's life. In healthy men, this fluctuation seems normal and they don't need to hormone replacement therapies.

    July 15, 2011 at 02:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joan

      I can't agree with you more. Of the men I've dated or have been in relationships with, the healty ones never seemed to have as many problems as the ones that didn't take care of themselves. Good health is the foundation for everything else.

      July 29, 2011 at 15:08 | Report abuse |
  15. RealityBetraysUs

    I tried to make 2 posts regarding testosterone and both were rejected by the webmaster. I make 2 posts regarding my belief in God and they get posted even though they are not the direct subject. How can you get your comments which are on subject posted if the webmaster refuses to post them?

    July 15, 2011 at 04:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. tick

    Getting tired of "male" twists on medical conditions. "Manorexia" is one: that's just stupid. As for the ailment on deck right now, if we really wanted to include the boys, wouldn't the word still be "menopause"?

    July 15, 2011 at 05:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • karrie pittsburgh

      I thought it was actually called andropause. The meno in menopause I think comes from menses, which men don't have. Seems more and more men in the baby boomer age are having hormone issues though. Wonder if it's from all the food-ingested hormones no one told anyone about. And men getting breast cancer. I was in for my mammo two years ago and there was a man there getting one too. Educate yourselves and stay aware men, for the people who love you.

      July 15, 2011 at 06:41 | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Long Beach, California

      Karrie is correct, it is called that

      August 2, 2011 at 12:20 | Report abuse |
  17. DiamondSky

    CNN, why are my comments on hold? Where is freedom of speeches for the religious in CNN website? You should moderate the God-hater's garbage comments instead. Present secular Americans don't deserve USA. Get split or something.

    July 15, 2011 at 07:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Sane man

    Give God a rest! ( she has her hands full right now!)

    July 16, 2011 at 11:57 | Report abuse | Reply
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    July 25, 2011 at 13:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. John

    WT? The article is about "Manopause" not religion. Some of you got duped by a monkey wrench getting thrown into the article. I'm a believer, but what's that have to do anything at all with this article? really? Way out of context... Anyway, I just turned 40 and am like starting to have things taken away now instead of given to me.

    July 29, 2011 at 23:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Tom, Long Beach, California

    it is called andropause and is simply treated. The inequality steps in when it comes to pay for it. Menopause is treated for a few hundred max per year where Andropause cost much more. I am on the treatment and i love it but at a minimum of $8000 per year it hardly seems fair? either way, it works great and I feel like 26 again and I am 52......Aaron at the top of this cahin is spot on!!

    August 2, 2011 at 12:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Lisa McKenzie

    I thought it was called andropause.

    August 4, 2011 at 22:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. florencia

    hmmmmm interesting article. Andropause, if i tell my bf to read this article he is gonna stress out even more! lol

    August 8, 2011 at 09:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Martie B

    I'm a 37 year old male and am very active. I play basketball 4-5 times a week so my activity is more cardio than weight lifting etc. I've been taking the HGH Spray from the Dr. Max Powers brand for about 5 months now and am very happy with the results. It has helped out with both my endurance and recovery. I'm just not as sore in the mornings anymore and I have a lot more energy when I'm out on the court. It has helped me regain some of the quickness/explosiveness all men lose in their late 30's. I've been playing hoops like this for years, so it isn't like I wasn't in shape all ready. This stuff is just giving me that extra boost to help hold off father-time.

    I've also lost a few pounds since I've been taking it, which may be a benefit of the Dr Max HGH Spray itself or the fact that I'm running harder and for longer now and burning more calories that way. It's likely a combination of the two, which is great.

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    January 26, 2012 at 14:46 | Report abuse | Reply
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  27. Newscrazy

    Judging by many comments made on this issue, I notice that the word andropause is not a popular term for the male version of menopause. According to language experts, the 'men' in menopuase doesn't mean men as in the masculine gender, but rather means 'month'. So menopause is actualy a monthly pause..for a lady's cessation of monthly periods. "Andro' is the root word for 'man' . So all U macho guys do feel free to accept andropause. 😀

    November 21, 2012 at 22:45 | Report abuse | Reply
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    It’s a real issue that effects men. It can be a bit embarrassing, but it’s a part of life. I suffered for years before I got the help I needed. http://fightandropause.info is one of the sites where I learned from and helped me quite a bit. Good luck guys there is hope.

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