Man-O-Pause | Families

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Families, Health

JACKSONVILLE, FL -- It's a common affliction not often talked about.

Some of the same symptoms older women experience during menopause -- affect men.

The main difference: Women experience menopause at a certain age, while men experience hormonal changes gradually, over a period of years.

It's called testosterone deficiency syndrome or andropause, but the most common name used is man-o-pause.

"It's a real condition," explains The Mayo Clinic's Internal Medicine Doctor Vandana Bhide.

Once it's determined a man has had a drop in his testosterone level, doctors examine the patient's other symptoms.

She told the Good Morning Jacksonville team that men usually discuss these changes with a doctor when they notice a lowering of their libido.

However, a man's significant other may notice other changes in him: Mood swings, low energy, sleep problems, and decrease in vitality and exercise tolerance.

When it comes to treatment, Dr. Bhide says doctors must proceed with caution.

"20 percent or more of men over age 30 will have symptoms," she tells us, "but not all of those men will have symptoms related to low testosterone."

Other medical conditions that could bring about or be a side affect of a low testosterone level are obesity, diabetes, heart disease and emphysema.

Doctors must also check to see if the male patient is suffering from prostate cancer.

"If a man has active prostate cancer," Dr. Bhide warns, "added testosterone may worsen the disease."

Once a patient is given the green light to begin testosterone replacement treatments, there are several choices: Patches, gels, injections into the muscle, even one procedure that's absorbed in the lining of the mouth.

If it's determined the added testosterone is beneficial to the patient, Dr. Bhide says there's a process in which testosterone pellets are inserted under the skin that last 3 months.

"If a man believes he may be suffering from low testosterone, the man should ask his doctor to specifically check his hormone levels," Dr. Bhide advises.

She says experts know, for short term purposes, testosterone therapy is safe for sufferers.

"What we don't know and we need to be cautious about," Dr. Bhide goes on to say, "are the long term effect of testosterone therapy; 5 years, 10 years or longer. More studies need to be done."

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