AskNadia: Diabetic Husband Experiences Male Menopause

Dear Nadia,

My husband is almost retired and has stopped taking care of his diabetes. He has always been a rational, methodical man and now he is completely irrational and seems to be in la la land with his diabetes. He no longer motivated in taking care of his diabetes which makes me angry.

Susan

Dear Susan:

If your husband’s behavior is new, it could be that he is going through male menopause. A gradual hormone depletion process in aging men. Unlike women, who experience menopause after ovulating ceases, “andropause, commonly referred to as male menopause is an aging process when testosterone levels start dropping. Men with a testosterone deficiency can experience a lack of intimacy, depression, loss of energy and motivation.

Since people with diabetes experience a higher depression rate than people without diabetes, depression, diabetes and andropause combined, could get in the way of managing a burn out disease that has no days off; giving way to new irrational behavior.

Andropause

Once a man reaches the age of 30- he can expect a 1% decline in his testosterone a year. A simple physical exam and a blood test with a physician will determine your husband’s hormone level, answering questions and hopefully determine what next test or therapy should be.

There are some physicians who do not believe in male menopause and will discourage taking a testosterone blood test. An andropause diagnosis does not seem as widely accepted as a woman, yet similarly, hormone treatment for men and women is controversial.

A while back, I had a male friend in his late 50’s with pre-diabetes ask me “Do men experienced menopause?” We researched the topic 5 years ago and we could not find a lot of data on the topic. The lack of information invalidated my friend as he physically felt fatigued and seemed more gloomy than normal.

There are other reasons for low testosterone levels. Diabetes can contribute to a lower testosterone count in addition to side effects from other medications. The best way to get a concrete answer is to have your husband visit his physician. Through a series of question, a physical exam and a blood test, you should have some answers. Ideally, a new therapy that will help your husband get back to managing his diabetes.

Selfcare

How do you take care of yourself and not worry so much about your husband? Expression like “lala land” indicate judgment and frustration on your part. Clearly, you care and are worried. The best approach for a family member of person living with diabetes is to approach them in an exploratory conversation. No one wants anyone to tell them they have a problem and are not dealing with it. For some men, the “testosterone” conversation could put them on the defensive while others will welcome the feedback in finding the solution to feeling better.

Nadia

AskNadia (ranked #1 to 10 By Google), named “Best Diabetes Blog for 2017 by Healthline and with 19 nominations, Nadia Al-Samarrie’s efforts has made her stand out as a pioneer and leading patient advocate in the diabetes community.
Nadia was not only born into a family with diabetes but also married into one. She was propelled at a young age into “caretaker mode,” and with her knowledge of the scarcity of resources, support, and understanding for people with diabetes, co-founded Diabetes Interview, now Diabetes Health magazine.
Nadia has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, and other major cable networks. Her publications, medical supply business, and website have been cited, recognized and published in the San Francisco Chronicle, The Wall Street Journal, Ann Landers advice column, former Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca, Entrepreneur magazine, Houston News, Phili.com, Brand Week, Drug Topics, and many other media outlets.

 

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