You are probably sick to death of hearing about menopause so let's change it up and talk about something new.

What about man-o-pause?

It is a real thing or just something conjured up by male sympathizers so women don't get all the 'glory'?

You know … Feel sorry for us guys. We've got life-altering things going on, too.

Most post middle aged women living with post middle aged husbands will confirm something has definitely taken place as their husbands aged, but they're not sure what it is. They only know he's … different.

Granted, the changes men undergo in midlife may not be as radical as what women experience but they do suffer hormonal dips, like females.

Bye, Bye Testosterone

You know the stuff that makes them aggressive, hurly-burly He-men, who can leap a building in a single bound, which was probably what attracted you to him in the first place? That stuff is testosterone.

When men are young, they've got it in spades. When it takes a nosedive, and it does, it has an effect on a man and not in a good way.

When a person experiences biological alterations in his body, psychological changes are apt to take place as well. Behaviors may change as a result. This is often referred to as a midlife crisis in men.

The official name for man-o-pause is andropause. The term viropause is synonymous with andropause and means a waning or end of male virility.

Andropause refers to the decline of male androgenic hormones, such as testosterone. The decline typically takes place in middle age and post middle age.  

Is THAT What's Going On?

Has the man in your life lost interest in sex? Has his body gotten soft? Where did those hard muscles go?

Is he losing body hair along with the hair on his head? Is he more moody and temperamental than he used to be?

Does he look smaller in general than he previously was except for his mid-section, which is getting bigger by the day?

These are the symptoms of andropause.

Other Problems

Loss of testosterone leads to bone density decline. Older men, like older women, are at risk of acquiring osteoporosis, a disease of the bones.

Bone mineral density diminishes over time, the quantity and type of proteins in bones change and the bone microarchitecture weakens. People's bones break easily. As bone deteriorates, an individual becomes hunched over and may develop a dowager's hump.

Low testosterone levels can lead to loss of muscle mass as well.

Treatment

Getting your husband/partner to have a discussion about this may be comparable to pulling teeth. If nothing else, leave him a note, informing him there are treatments available for andropause. He may want to mull this over in private.

If the doctor determines a man is lacking testosterone, the hormone can be given either through injections, oral medicines, transdermal patches and gels (that go through the skin) and implantable slow-release, long-acting pellets.

The benefits of this therapy include lowered cholesterol, better sexual function, augmented bone density, improved lean muscle mass and strength, and a diminution in insulin resistance, which is a condition increasing the likelihood a person will become a diabetic.

Risks

However, there are risks involved and rather big ones at that. According to USA Today, the possibility of a heart attack in men undergoing testosterone therapy is significant. In fact, in one study those men over age 65 taking testosterone doubled their chance of a heart attack and younger men with a history of heart disease taking testosterone tripled the probability of a heart attack.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) note there is a chance testosterone therapy may enhance an active derivative of estrogen, which could kindle breast tissue receptors and increase the risk of male breast cancer. Those men with prostate cancer or who are at danger for this disease may want to think twice about testosterone therapy. Discuss this at length with your physician.

Older men, like menopausal women, must carefully weigh the pros and cons before undergoing either testosterone therapy, for men, or hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for women because each has inherent risks that may outweigh the benefits.

Tell Tale Signs of Men's Reluctance

On my personal Facebook page, I like to ask questions about a variety of topics, including health concerns. Women jump right in, bare their souls, and freely discuss their concerns. They don't hesitate to discuss menopause, menstrual periods, depression, cellulite, sex, you name it.

I posted a request asking my man friends to discuss man-o-pause. I waited and I waited and I waited for a response.

Finally, one gent posted that no one was going to admit to experiencing andropause and they certainly weren't going to publicly post about it.

This is an indicator of men's seemingly universal attitude about sensitive subjects. They will ignore and avoid until the end of time, suffer in silence, making not only themselves but their partner miserable.

Good luck to you women wanting to broach this subject with your husbands or partners. If anyone has advice or recommendations on how to get a man to take note and take action, Boomeon would love to hear it.

Cindi Pearce is a graduate of Ohio University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in journalism back in the dark ages (aka before computers, the Internet and cell phones. Heck, before electric typewriters!) A former newspaper writer/columnist and photographer, her fiction and non-fiction work has been published in national magazines. A full-time freelance writer, as well as an avid gardener, an artist and yoga aficionado, Cindi is a Baby Boomer and proud of it. She has survived the gnarly challenges of the sandwich generation and lived to tell the tale. Cindi has somehow managed to stay married to her first and only husband for nearly 35 years. They are the parents of three grown children and the grandparents of one. She has five large, raucous dogs, five acres to mow on her beloved zero turn mower, and gets the biggest kick out of making people laugh on Facebook. (P.S. She refuses to cut her hair short.)