There are endless articles, posts, and websites covering the health of women approaching middle age, but far fewer that look at men’s health at this time of life. Of course, women have the menopause to contend with, and all the possible side effects of a massive change in their hormone levels. From that point of view, it seems only right that the focus should be on helping women manage this transition with as few disruptions and side effects as possible. After all, men don’t go through the menopause; or do they?
It isn’t the same as female menopause, as you aren’t coming to the end of your reproductive years. However, there is a male equivalent, which is known as the andropause. It has similarities to the female version in that the fall in hormone levels can have a range of effects on your health and how you feel.
For example, you might notice a decrease in muscle mass and an accompanying increase in fat levels; difficulties with sleeping at night and feeling tired during the day; hot flashes and night sweats; depression and/or irritability, sometimes accompanied by memory loss; thinning hair or baldness setting in, and urinary problems.
You could also notice changes in your sex drive such as a lower libido and sometimes may experience problems getting or maintaining an erection. These symptoms can be caused by changes in your hormone levels, particularly testosterone. If you feel that you are displaying any of these symptoms, there are specialist clinics across the country from whom you can learn more about hormone replacement therapy for men.
Middle age spread
Seen by many as an inevitable part of growing older, middle age spread causes fat to be laid down on the abdomen, particularly in men. Some men develop very pronounced rounded bellies and accept it as something that they can’t do much to control. While it is true that you’re more likely to put on weight in this way in middle age, that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it. High-fat levels in this part of the body are associated with an increased risk of heart disease, and while you may not find it as easy to lose weight as you did when you were in your twenties, it doesn’t mean you can’t.
Eating healthy meals and going easy on the fat and sugar, avoiding over-consumption of alcohol, and getting some exercise will not only help with your weight management but will help you feel a whole lot fitter and healthier. If you don’t fancy the idea of an exercise regime, have a look at any kind of physical activity or sport that you might enjoy more. If you prefer playing tennis to using gym equipment that’s fine – the important thing is to get out and keep fit.
Symptoms to be on the lookout for
It’s not a good idea to be overly worried about your health, as worry just leads to stress, which will, in turn, be detrimental to your wellbeing. Being aware of any changes in your body and how you feel about yourself is the best way to take care of your health. You will be at an increased risk of developing some conditions as you age, so it’s sensible to be aware of symptoms to watch for:
Still more prevalent in men than women, and can be hard to identify until a crisis occurs. A healthy diet, exercise, and quitting smoking are the best ways to take care of your heart and keep it healthy. If you ever feel a pain in your chest, especially if it migrates up your left arm, don’t take any chances, get yourself to the hospital to be checked out. It might not be anything serious, but in case it is, the quicker you can get medical attention the better.
Type II affects older people more often than the young, and its onset can be very gradual, so much so you may fail to notice at first. Watch out for increased thirst and urination and feeling over-tired, especially if you are heavier than you should be. Your doctor can test for the illness and help you with lifestyle changes and medication where they’re required, so ask for a check-up if you think you could be diabetic.
More common in middle-aged and older men, and typified by more frequent trips to the bathroom and having the urge to urinate desperately come upon you from nowhere. There can also be effects on your sex life. Prostate conditions can be treated successfully, but many men fear the examination their doctor may perform. Although it’s not the most pleasant of procedures, doctors are professionals who have carried out internal examinations on many patients for many reasons, and they won’t be the slightest bit fazed by examining you too. Far better to have the exam and get any treatment you need than put up with the effects of prostate problems until they become more serious.
If you are finding that you feel low a lot of the time, or any of your negative emotions are heightened for prolonged periods, then tell your doctor or contact a counseling service to assess your symptoms and find you an appropriate treatment. There are many therapies, as well as medications that can help with a range of mental health issues, and the more quickly you access the services available to you, the more likely you are to recover with no lasting side effects.
There isn’t any reason to change your life, stop doing anything, or feel you can’t manage the challenges of middle age. By taking care of your heart, eating well, keeping fit and avoiding too much stress, you will be able to carry on doing all your favorite activities well into old age. This is an exciting time for you to be alive, and you will have lots of different opportunities to try new things. Get yourself on board with a robust self-care plan and keep an eye open for any unusual symptoms, and your middle age could be one of the happiest times of your life.