A medical team at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital announced yesterday that middle-aged men who have sleep problems may be experiencing the onset of the “male menopause,” also known as the andropause.
The andropause is caused by a gradual reduction in hormones, particularly a decrease of testosterone levels, along with changes in men’s physical and psychological states, said Chen Ching-yen (陳景彥), a doctor at the department of psychiatry at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital. He added that andropause typically occurs about 10 years later than the menopause in women.
The menopause in women is associated with the cessation of monthly menstruation and reduced fertility, but there is no clear-cut biological dividing phase for men, according to most medical experts.
From the research findings of his team at the hospital, Chen said the symptoms of andropause may include loss of interest in sex, problems with sexual arousal, erectile difficulties, mood swings, feeling of frustration, depression, lack of energy, getting tired easily, sleeping problems, an emerging beer belly, loss of memory and a decline in concentration.
To deal with this health issue, the hospital has pooled the departments of urology, psychiatry and internal medicine to set up a “male health clinic center.”
From the center’s research on 231 patients, with a combined average age of 46.1, Chen said the medical team found that between 35 percent and 45 percent of men between the age of 40 and 70 had deficiencies in the levels of male hormones. In this age group, about 60 percent of those tested had sleep problems.
The team concluded that having difficulty sleeping is among the most common symptoms of andropause.
Chen Yu (陳煜), from the hospital’s department of urology, advised men with the aforementioned symptoms to have a preliminary appraisal of their emotional and psychological states, then follow up with a blood test to check on their testosterone level.
Chen said besides injections and ointment applications of testosterone, men affected by andropause can add more red meat, nuts and shellfish to their diets to alleviate the symptoms. He said patients should eat a balanced diet, cut down on excessive cholesterol intake, do regular exercise and have a relaxed and positive outlook on life.
Finally, he said that it can be good for men to ejaculate regularly, as it helps to maintain the balance of testosterone levels.