There ain’t no men in menopause…and other musings for a Friday

Posted by on Feb 20, 2009 in general | 4 comments


Have I got your attention now? Hope so. ‘I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  More times than those two and a half men can sing “men.”

It’s. Not. All. About. You.

Here’s some information from an earlier post:

There’s a misnomer going around (can a misnomer go around?). It’s called “male menopause.” Now mind you, I’ve got no beef with da guyz but to call a gradual decline in testosterone “menopause,” seems a bit extreme. So, what’s the buzz about?

According to the Mayo Clinic, menopause and “andropause” are two distinct animals. During menopause, women undergo a cessation of menstruation and a rapid plummet in hormone production. On the other hand, men experience gradual declines in testosterone production after age 40. However, some men continue to produce high levels of testosterone well into their older years. What’s more, the problem does not appear to be universal; symptoms of testosterone decline, which may include reduced sexual desire and spontaneous erection, swollen breasts, a loss of hair from the body and around the genitals, loss of muscle mass, depression, and rarely, hot flashes and sweats vary from man to man and some men never experience any symptoms whatsoever.

In fact, back in October, I cited data suggesting that there is insufficient evidence supporting a decline in androgen in a majority of men and that “the extent to which an age-dependent decline in androgen levels leads to health problems that might affect or alter the quality of life remains under debate.”

Further, the medical community is not only in disagreement over “male menopause” but also its treatment.
There’s lots of controversy over testosterone replacement therapy and whether or not it actually helps the symptoms of androgen deficiency. What’s more, research suggests that a large majority of men experiencing symptoms of androgen deficiency do not seek care. (No surprise there, right?!)

Okay, so now that we’ve got that straight, may I reiterate that it’s not all about you?

I  ran across a disturbing piece in this past Tuesday’s Washington Post about how and why the country’s economic crisis is taking a greater toll on men.  Entitled “Economic Crisis Hits Men Harder, the article relies on the psychotherapist and author Jed Diamond who is at the forefront of the male menopause movement. In addition to expounding on the distinction between male menopause and irritable male syndrome (for which Diamond continues to claim that he has supportive data)  Diamond says:

“The loss of jobs, economic situations, crashing — it affects men in a profound way. The chaos is affecting men in very, very powerful and negative ways…Men have a less resilient emotional system; women’s brains are more networked from left to right. They are balanced socially. Men tend to be more isolated” (and therefore, don’t have as much social support).

I agree with Diamond’s point that women tend to turn to social support in times of stress and therefore, may be able to deal with it more effectively than their male counterparts. However, to  minimize the impact on a majority of the population, many of whom work multiple jobs while simultaneously caring for families, well, that’s just wrong. In fact, economic development expert Sara Gould writes that “the current instability roiling Wall Street’s markets will lead to an increasingly dire economic situation for women. This is especially true for low-income women, women of color, single mothers and others who have long experienced the disproportionate impact of flawed economic policies.”

So, if women are bearing the brunt of the crisis and are facing increasingly dire situations, is it accurate to say that the economic crisis hits men harder? And likewise, is it reasonable to take a life transition that is as natural to women as breasts and recreate it in the male image?

What do you think? I smell a rat and his name is Jed.

[You can find this post and other goodies on BitchBuzz]

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To everything…there is a season

Posted by on Oct 9, 2008 in general | 4 comments


The severity of menopause symptoms are associated with the season in which you are born.

Sounds pretty far-fetched right?

Evidently, it’s not.

A few years ago, Italian researchers conducted a study of 2,541 women who were undergoing menopause and not taking HRT. Information was collected on physical, vasomotor (i.e. hot flashes, night sweats) and psychological symptoms (e.g. anxiety, depression), which were then rated by severity and grouped by the season of birth. The researchers also controlled for factors that could potentially interfere with the study results, including age, number of years in menopause, body mass index, education, occupation and smoking habits.

The findings, which were published in the Menopause journal in 2006, demonstrated a relationship between season of birth and menopause symptoms. For example, women born in Autumn had the least severe symptoms while women born in Spring had the most. This same association held true for anxiety and depression and physical symptoms.

This got me thinking. If season of birth affected how severe menopause symptoms were, could it also affect when menopause started.? So, I delved a bit deeper.

Turns out that a study published in the journal Maturitas in 2006 shows that menopause onset is also seasonally-regulated.  Among 2,436 women studied, the onset of menopause was significantly more frequent in Winter (32.5%) than in Spring (20.8%), Autumn (20.3%) and Summer (26.2%).

I’m taking an informal poll on menopause onset and its relationship to seasons. I’d love your feedback and participation so please, spread the word!

[polldaddy poll=”981919″]

[polldaddy poll=”984809″]

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