Bonus Q&A: Facts vs. fiction of male ‘menopause’

These bonus questions are part of a Q&A featured in the June 2014 edition of Central Florida Health News, which publishes May 28.  To read the full Q&A, please see any of our 700+ free newsstands, or subscribe to our free e-newsletter here.

CFHN: Besides replacement therapy, are there other ways to treat night sweats and other adverse symptoms?

Dr. Alberton: There’s no major recommendation with high level of specificity for night sweats related to hormonal deficiency in males, outside of what I’ve already discussed.  Many men have gone to over the counter and online supplements promising significant improvement in function and symptomatology.  In my practice, I often see most may be taking these temporarily since they are not noticing any benefits.  If you listen to the radio, go online, or stay up late enough to watch the infomercials, you can list a handful of supplements promising improved sexual performance, healing of your erectile dysfunction, and increased muscle and energy levels, along with decreasing symptoms.  Every two to three months you will hear of a new one promising similar benefits, with similar sounding names: ‘testosterone this’ or ‘andro- that.’  Some are combinations of plant extracts stating improvement in symptoms as well.  With no significant studies backing their promises, I often advise my patients, caveat emptor—let the buyer beware.

CFHN: Are sexual dysfunction and/or decline in sexual interest directly related to a decline in hormones?  Or is it also the result of aging?  Poor health?

Dr. Alberton: The answer is all three above—in addition to other inherited tendencies, individual variations, other co-morbid medical conditions, medications, or psychiatric components.  With that being said, many still have a vigorous sexual appetite and desire well into their 70s and 80s, as I see daily with requests for erectile dysfunction therapy.

CFHN: What kind of behavioral changes accompany this stage of life in men?  Do men frequently combat the psychological aspects of aging by overcompensating behaviors like buying a racecar or dating younger women?

Dr. Alberton: Hormonal changes may indirectly cause some to have psychological behavioral alterations.  The behavioral changes may be related to physical changes including decreased muscle mass, potential weight gain, and hair loss.  The overcompensating behaviors like buying a racecar or dating younger women are up for debate.  Psychosocial conflicts, independent of an individual’s hormonal level, may influence the choices at a later stage in life.  Without over thinking it, one could be totally normal in wanting a fast car and a younger woman.

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