Reporting Tracy Kornet
NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – The symptoms sound familiar: fatigue, mood swings, bone loss, but the conditions is not menopause. In fact, the ailments have nothing to do with being a woman.
Doctors say men can experience their own version of hormonal change which some are calling “man-opause” or more accurately Andropause.
At 35 years old, Brian Decato is a happy loving father, whose life right now couldn’t be better, but 10 years ago he was a much different man.
“His mood swings were crazy… all over the place,” recalled Brian’s wife, Diane. “And he didn’t have a sex drive.”
Brian admitted he was going through something, but didn’t know what.
“I cried watching [the movie] Seabiscuit,” he said, shaking his head. “I was becoming a cranky old man.”
Decato thought things would get better, but they didn’t, and he lived with the mysterious symptoms for five years.
Then, Decato got some insight from, what he considered at the time to be, an unlikely place.
“I was talking with my mom and telling her this stuff. And my mom was going through menopause and she said, ‘you sound like me’ and that freaked me out more than anything.”
Decato finally went to a doctor and after several tests learned his testosterone level was extremely low for a man his age.
The husband and father was going through a change that usually happens over the years in men, but for Decato the change was happening earlier quickly.
Dr. Arash Tirandaz, of Texas Health Plano, said doctors used to be hesitant to treat low testosterone.
“If your testosterone is too high you increase your chance of getting prostate cancer,” explained Dr. Tirandaz, but she added that the latest studies show men with low testosterone also have a greater risk of developing prostate cancer.
There are now new testosterone drugs on the market that allow for easy and inexpensive treatment.
“You can just go to your regular primary care doctor. Your insurance should cover you for testing and it should cover you for treatment,” said Dr. Tirandaz.
Both Brian and Diane Decato said treatment saved their marriage.
Brian said he can now sleep at night, is focused during the day and has enough energy to be a father and a husband.
“I’m just so much happier. I feel like a man again.”
According to medical experts, obese men are at a greater risk for low testosterone. Doctors also recommend that any man with a neck size of 16-inches or larger, who is feeling tired or depressed, should be checked for low testosterone.