Night Sweats In Men
The term menopause derives from the same origin as the word menstruation, and literally means ‘cessation of periods', so there can't be a male menopause because in men there is no ‘meno' to pause.
True, levels of the male sex hormone testosterone produced by the testes (the male equivalent of the female ovaries) and other hormones decline in healthy, normal men after the age of 40.
By the age of 80, total levels of testosterone in the bloodstream have fallen to about 75 per cent and ‘free' testosterone to about 50 per cent of what they were at the age of 20. This is partly due to increasing testicular failure as men age and partly to changes in secretions of pituitary hormones that stimulate the testes.
However, the decline in hormone levels in men is extremely slow compared with the steep fall in the female sex hormone estrogen that women undergo. It is this steep decline in estrogen, caused by the failure of the ovaries, over a relatively short period of time that causes menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats, dry vagina and so on.
In men, by contrast, the decrease in testosterone levels happens very gradually and remains within the range of ‘normal'. Men are physiologically very different from women.
The ovaries stop functioning in every single female in the late 40s to mid 50s, which is why women can't then have children. In men, the testes continue functioning - an 80-year-old man can still father children. So, it's incorrect to say that the experiences of both men and women are directly comparable.
Strictly speaking men don't have a menopause, but there certainly is ‘andropause' caused by declining levels of the male sex hormone testosterone. In fact around half of all men over 50 have low or abnormally low levels of ‘free' testosterone - testosterone that can be used by the body.
If this levels fall below a critical threshold, a man may develop symptoms such as tiredness, low mood, irritability, lack of assertiveness and energy, problems with concentration and loss of short-term memory as well as more specific things like loss of libido, problems with erection, premature ejaculation and loss of feeling during orgasm.
About five per cent of men have hot flashes and night sweats just like menopausal women. Men with symptoms need to be tested and, if they are hormone-deficient, they can benefit from male HRT in the form of testosterone pills, patches, implants or injection, just as women with estrogen deficiency benefit from hormone replacement therapy (HRT).