CHICAGO (CBS) — Can it happen to men, too?
The answer is yes. As men age, their levels of the hormone testosterone go down and sometime that can cause a host of symptoms. It’s a kind of male menopause, but as CBS 2’s Kate Sullivan reports, treatment makes a difference.
At 35, Brian Decado is a happy, energetic husband and father, but looking back a few years, he describes a very different person.
He remembers himself feeling “everything from no energy, to just depressed, to (having) really low sex drive.”
Decado thought things would get better, but they didn’t. He and his wife were worried. When he told his mother about it, she had an idea.
“Mom was going through menopause, and she said, ‘You sound just like me,’ and that freaked me out more than anything,” he says.
Decado finally went to a doctor for testing and found his testosterone level was extremely low for a man of his age. What he was going through is called andro-pause, or male menopause.
Symptoms can include fatigue, weakness, loss of sex drive, weight gain and depression.
“Some patients may have these symptoms and not be aware that testosterone levels could be causing them,” says Dr. Gregory Bales of the University of Chicago.
Men lose about 1 percent of their testosterone every year after the age of 30. The loss is cumulative, and symptoms can creep up slowly, which is why male menopause is not always recognized or accepted in the medical community.
Decado is now getting weekly injections of testosterone — creams or gels are also available – and says he’s totally back to his normal self.
A blood test can tell if you have low testosterone. One risk of this treatment is for men with prostate cancer. Testosterone supplements can feed the cancer so it’s important for men to have their prostates checked.