Saturday, 31 March 2012

The Male Menopause - fact or fiction?

Is there such a thing as the Male Menopause?
What effect might it have on men?

Men's bodies are as susceptible to hormones as women's. Different hormones to be sure. For men it's testosterone and androgen we have to contend with. Rather like money, having too much or not enough are where the problems lie. 

Over time we have less of these male hormones coursing through our body and this affects us emotionally, physically and sexually. Use your favourite internet search engine to find out about the physical symptoms of low testosterone and androgen and the emotional side effects which follow, plus some of the reasons why our sex drive might be in need of little blue pills or other stimulants.

Something else going on

I think there is something else going on for men of a certain age, which is largely ignored and can be wrongly ascribed to 'male menopause'. For me, the real issue is: 
How do we come to terms with life as it is, instead of life as it was going to be in our imagination when young?

Do any of  the following ring true for you?

Did you have some goals about changing the world, living in luxury, having three holidays a year and a fleet of expensive cars in an air conditioned garage? Has life not quite panned out as you hoped it would? Do you find yourself at a plateau in your job, where future promotion now looks unlikely? Are there less years left to 'retirement' age and the pension than you care to think about? Have you taken early retirement on a 'package' or because you just can't stand working there any longer? Does life stretch ahead with little prospect of achieving your hidden dreams? Have you got  too much time and not enough money? Have you lost your certainty that you love your partner or that they love you? Do you have physical aches and pains, which you do your best to ignore and certainly don't want to share with the doctor? Is there's a sense that somehow life has cheated on you and that's not fair?

I think this is a very real situation for many men. They will often turn this inwards on themselves and become withdrawn and taciturn. Or they make it other people's fault and tell their wife of 20 years or more that they now only love them like a sister - that they are no longer physically attracted by them and need some space or want a divorce.

Is there any help for men caught in this dilemma? 

Oh Yes!! With any issue the first important thing to do is acknowledge its existence. It's well known you can't help an alcoholic or other addictive behaviour if the person doesn't recognise they have a problem.

Simple solutions - Well we are men!

Men need to know they are respected - unlike women who need to know they are loved. 

First and foremost men need to respect themselves. This can be lost as life turns out to be different to the dreams of youth. It becomes easy to take on self blame and become resigned to being less of a man than hoped for. To re-build self respect a man needs to find something to turn his time and talents to. Look around the close neighbourhood for ways to be important in the community. Offer your skills to charities or local good causes. Undertake regular exercise by going on a one to two mile walk every day. Dust off old hobbies or begin new ones. Talk to your partner and discuss chores you could take off her hands. Visit your surgery and book a 'well man' appointment with the nurse or doctor. Talk to your partner about sex and love making - how to adapt to changing shapes and reduced energy.

Contact us for a free initial chat to see if we can facilitate a discussion on the more difficult issues of your relationship. Visit our website to find out how to contact us or drop Nigel an email.

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