What is the difference between menopause vs andropause? Are the specific causes and symptoms of each process?
Aging is a natural part of life and with it comes a host of changes, some good and some bad. One of those changes happens to be hormonal in nature.
As you get older, it becomes imperative for both men and women to learn about the conditions associated with these changes, because it can be life-changing in many ways.
Let’s begin discussing the differences between menopause and andropause.
What is Menopause?
Menopause is defined as a natural aging process in women wherein the menstrual cycle completely stops permanently because of the ovarian oocytes that begin to deplete.
Typically, menopause is diagnosed after a period of 12 months when a woman has missed menstruation for all 12 consecutive months.
Up until the final diagnosis, women tend to experience a host of symptoms which usually indicates a premenopausal state.
To diagnose menopause, blood tests are usually conducted to measure levels of estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH).
When these levels appear to be low and depleted, it usually translates to a diagnosis of menopause.
Symptoms of Menopause:
- The end of menstruation
- Hot flashes
- Vaginal dryness
- Low sex drive
- Weight gain
- Urinary tract infections
- Hair loss or thinning
- Sore breasts
- Dry skin
- Mood swings
It’s quite evident that menopause can cause a wide range of symptoms that can cause significant discomfort and mood irregularities.
In fact, a study conducted on 106 postmenopausal women found that all of them experienced some of the symptoms mentioned above. Emotional problems, headaches and lethargy were the most commonly occurring symptoms, in that order.
Unfortunately, most women will have to deal with these symptoms once menopause sets in but there are some treatment options designed to minimize and control these symptoms until the body finds a new balance.
What is Andropause?
The hormone that is responsible for giving men their deep voice, facial and body hair and muscle mass is known as testosterone.
Through aging, the level of testosterone in men will decrease, especially after the age of 30.
However, this is usually a very slow and gradual decrease of approximately 1-2% per year.
The decrease of testosterone that eventually brings about andropause symptoms and typically affects older men.
Symptoms of Andropause:
- Baldness or thinning of hairline
- Erectile dysfunction
- Hot flashes
- Mood swings
- Low energy
- Loss of muscle mass
- Increase in body fat (body fat can also influence ED)
Usually, these symptoms are quite common in a number of other conditions which is why it is imperative that a blood test is conducted to measure testosterone levels.
Additionally, other tests are used to rule out conditions that may be causing the above-mentioned symptoms.
When those conditions have been ruled out, the next conclusion is a diagnosis of andropause.
What’s interesting to note is that during a study on men with andropause in the city of Arok, the most common symptom experienced by the men surveyed was a low lobido or low sex drive.
The 3 Most Important Differences Between Menopause and Andropause
Now that you understand what menopause is and what andropause is, let’s discuss the main differences between them.
1. Menopause Causes Infertility, Andropause Does Not
It is a common known fact in life that the onset of menopause usually marks the end of a woman’s biological clock.
Her ability to fall pregnant drops to practically naught and is currently irreversible however research and studies are being conducted to test the possibility of creating temporary fertility for women who have menopause.
More research is required on the topic but what was found is that Platelet-Rich Plasma treatment resulted in the restoration of periods in menopausal women for a short period of time.
One participant of the study had not had a single period in 5 years until treatment was conducted.
If proven to be a viable treatment option for most women, this could make a huge difference in the treatment of not just infertility but the general symptoms of menopause.
Although it’s commonly held that andropause may cause impotence or erectile dysfunction, the truth is that andropause does not inhibit a man’s ability to be fertile.
Despite a reduction in testosterone levels, men are still able to produce semen that are viable for fertility.
This is one of the most significant differences between menopause and Andropause.
2. Menopause Hormones Decrease Change Rapidly, Andropause Hormones Decrease Gradually But Are Persistent
Menopause is associated with a significant and rapid decrease of the hormones associated with this condition.
Once identified, it’s common to witness a drop in estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and follicle stimulating hormone within a few months until ovulation ceases altogether.
When it comes to Andropause in men, the rate of change in hormone levels are actually quite gradual and can take upto years until a significant amount of loss causes symptoms associated with this condition.
In fact, some men never reach this point of experiencing any serious symptoms.
3. Menopause Affect All Women, Andropause Often Affects Men With Low Testosterone Levels
Based on the mechanism that results in the onset of menopause in the female anatomy, it is inevitable for all women to experience this condition at some point in their life.
Typically, menopause occurs for all women between the ages of 40 – 60. The former being quite early on the spectrum while the latter is considered late.
It was found that the average age of menopause in Europe was 55, North America reported an average age of 51.4, Latin America reported an average age of 48.6 and Asia reported an average age of 51.1.
Conversely, andropause does not necessarily affect all men.
In fact, it has been found and reported that most men do not experience a significant or rapid decrease in testosterone to the point of being diagnosed with Andropause.
Consult a Medical Professional For Menopause or Andropause Treatments
If there are only a few aspects to take away from this article on the differences between menopause and andropause, let it be this:
- Menopause causes infertility and impacts all women, while andropause does not cause male infertility or impact all men.
- Andropause can be serious, but can be treated by improving a man’s low testosterone levels. In fact, the American College of Physicians recommends that doctors consider starting testosterone treatment in men with sexual dysfunction who want to improve sexual function.
By familiarizing yourself with the symptoms of these conditions and their differences, it may just equip you with the ability to deal with it adequately and appropriately in a timely fashion.The medical professionals at Priority Men’s Medical Center specialize in treating conditions including andropause and low testosterone that impact men’s health. Our concierge approach positions your unique case at the centerpoint of our focus. We don’t just give you a pill for ED and send you on your way. We treat the underlying issues that led to conditions such as ED, Low Testosterone, and more. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.