Hot flashes, weight gain, night sweats, and depression: All symptoms that millions of women endure as their sex hormones drop during midlife thanks to a phenomenon called menopause.
But it’s a problem for men, too—up to two million of them in Great Britain alone, a new study shows.
The study’s author, Dr. Malcolm Carruthers, followed 2,500 men over 25 years, studying the effects of the mid-life testosterone drop. According to his research, one in five men experiences a serious hormonal change, which can begin as early as his thirties.
The effects of a mid-life testosterone drop include low sex drive and decreased performance, joint pain, a bad attitude, and one more important change—loss of muscle tone and mass. When testosterone drops, your body’s ability to maintain muscle decreases, and estrogen’s effects on the body increase: That could mean an extra layer of squidge coating your torso. That squidge then enables more aromatase, which converts testosterone to estrogen (according to a 2012 study from Current Diabetes Reviews). The fatigue associated with low T also makes it even more difficult to get to the gym.
Past studies have used blood samples comparing middle-aged men’s testosterone levels to that of their peers in the same age bracket. Carruthers’ approach was instead to compare blood samples to data from the same person years earlier. This allowed him to track changes in testosterone levels in an individual much more accurately.
These symptoms are amplified by obesity, diabetes, and depression. So think of this as another reason to keep up your gym routine! If you need more inspiration, just look at dudes like Tony Horton, 57, Terry Crews, 47, and Bob Harper, 50.
It’s important to note that manopause doesn’t come for everyone. But as Carruthers’ study shows, it’s important to get your testosterone checked while you’re in your prime so you can compare as you progress through mid-life.
Suspect you might be manopausal? Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) can (maybe) help you get back on track.