What is “andropause”, menopause for men ?

What is "andropause", menopause for men ?

Many men after the age of 60 are faced with a phenomenon called “andropause”, common but little known. Nebasin/Getty Images

At first, night sweats. Then a little depression, a total loss of libido and erection problems. Like Rémy Burkel, many men after the age of 60 are confronted with a phenomenon called “andropause”, which is common and yet little known.

"When I was 55, I started having hot flashes at night. My wife, who was in full menopause, was going through exactly the same thing", says this director, now 62 years old.

When he then felt fatigue, depression and above all a total absence of sexual desire, the anxiety increased. "But like many men, it was the fact of no longer being able to +get hard+ that made me realize that' there was a problem".

He then does some research, discovers the term "andropause" and consults his GP who prescribes him pills, so that "leaves like in 40".

Intrigued by the phenomenon, Rémy Burkel began making a documentary ("Andropause, la grande débandade ?", soon on France TV). He discovers that many men, affected by the same symptoms, prefer to keep quiet about them. "I had the feeling that there was a kind of shame", he describes to the' #39;AFP.

"We commonly speak of andropause to draw a parallel with menopause but it's not the same clinical picture" , specifies Dr Pierre Desvaux, andrologist, director of sexology teaching at the Paris Center faculty.

"Old guy"

If menopause is characterized, in women around the age of 50, by the cessation of the production of ovarian hormones (estrogens and progesterone), men experience a gradual decrease in testosterone. But even when reduced, reproductive functions remain.

"Rather than andropause, it is more accurate to speak of an age-related decrease in androgens (dala) or a testosterone deficiency", underlines Dr Desvaux. "We consider that past 60 years old, approximately 20% of men lack testosterone but production never stops completely unless there has been chemical castration in the context of cancer of the the prostate for example", he continues.

Not all men suffer from it. The clinical manifestations of this variable decrease in hormones are commonly grouped under the expression of the famous “old age”: "on feels more tired, we have a little brioche, less libido, less frank ejaculations…", lists the doctor.

Daniel Gauliard, 68 years old retired in Drôme Provençale, sees it as a "adventure of life". "It took me a while to realize the phenomenon. The loss of sexual appetite can be attributed to the aging of both the man and the couple", he analyzes.


But it is certain: the subject remains "taboo". “When I say the name andropause, people look at me strangely,” he smiles."The men I talk to about it tend to respond with dirty jokes", also notes Valentin Husser, 75, who "took a long time to admit what was happening” ;.

"When I found a relationship, around 60-65 years old, after a rather ascetic life, I realized that what made the passion of my youth was no longer evident", he says. So he shares "something else" with his latest companion: tenderness, humor…

To reduce the symptoms, solutions exist. In order to make the diagnosis of age-related testosterone deficiency, the doctor, after questioning the patient and carrying out a clinical examination, can prescribe a replacement dosage of this hormone. He may combine medications to treat erectile dysfunction.

"The support must be global, if it doesn't work in the head, it won't work in the body either&quot ;, warns Marc Galiano, andrologist in Paris, who campaigns for the education of boys in sexual health from a very young age.

"From the twenties, testosterone levels naturally decrease each year, 40% of men over 40 have erectile difficulties… a man who knows how it works, will pay attention to him", he assures.

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