What IS the truth about the 'manopause'? As Robbie Williams blames declining ... trends now
Is thinning hair and a lack of libido a natural part of ageing for men, or is something more sinister at work?
Testosterone levels do undoubtedly plummet with age, experts acknowledge.
However, this happens gradually as men get older, unlike the sudden crash marking the end of fertility in women.
Symptoms synonymous with the male equivalent of the menopause — sometimes called andropause — include weight gain, erectile dysfunction and insomnia.
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Robbie Williams claims he's going through the 'manopause' suffering health woes. The former Take That singer pictured shortly after leaving the group in 1996 (left) aged 22 and pictured now at 49
Testosterone levels peak in young adulthood, around age 20, but decline by about 1 per cent annually after age 30
Robbie and his wife Ayda Field, 44, have admitted they barely have sex anymore, with a lack of libido another commonly attributed symptom of the manopause
Yet health chiefs and experts both say these, and others, are typically 'nothing to do with hormones'.
Instead, the stress of getting older — such as work or relationship issues and worries about parents ageing — can hamper libido.
Even the dreaded 'midlife crisis' could be to blame, according to the NHS's own page on the disputed topic.
Common 'male menopause' causes might also include a lack of sleep, a bad diet and drinking too much alcohol, it says.
Former Take That singer Robbie told The Sun how he believed his health woes were, in part, due to the condition.
'The hair is thinning, the testosterone has left the building, the serotonin is not really here and the dopamine said goodbye a long time ago,' he said.
'I've used up all of the natural good stuff. I've got the manopause.'
The 49-year-old also claimed to be suffering from a lack of energy and admitted he and his wife Ayda Field, 44, now barely have sex.
While injections of testosterone to boost his levels of the hormone helped, Robbie said he was forced to stop using them.
'I was on testosterone for a while but, because I'm an addict, that had to stop. I got these massive square shoulders and started to look like a doorman. It wasn't a good look,' he said.
'But the sex we had when I was on testosterone was incredible; it was all the time. We were insatiable.'
Much like hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for women, men struggling with the drop in testosterone can be offered artificial boosts to help combat symptoms.
This is usually for men whose plunging levels don't appear to be lifestyle related, suggesting they have late-onset hypogonadism, meaning their testes make too little of the hormone.
Studies estimate that just 2 to 6 per cent of men suffer from late-onset hypogonadism, whereas all women will suffer some form of the menopause.
Testosterone levels begin to rise during puberty, when it causes boys to get deeper voices, bigger muscles and body and facial hair. The hormone also helps the testes create sperm.
Levels peak at 20 before slowly declining as men age, with the fall becoming more pronounced when men reach their 30s — at around 1 per cent every year.
But even then, the consequential effects aren't overly clear.
Many men don't tend to experience any symptoms until they reach their late 40s or early 50s.
And, unlike in women, the hormonal change does not render them infertile. Men are able to keep making sperm until their 80s and beyond, in theory.
Menopause marks the point when a woman no longer has periods, marking the end of her fertile window.
Levels of the hormones the ovaries produce — mainly oestrogen and progesterone — drop off.
This usually happens when a woman is between the ages of 45 and 55, with 51 being the UK average, though it can occur earlier.
Almost nine in 10 women going through 'the change' suffer symptoms like anxiety, mood swings and low self-esteem.
Like with women, the 'male menopause' is used to describe the period in an adult man’s life when his hormone levels crash, causing a host of symptoms that can be life-changing and debilitating — from erectile dysfunction to depression, anxiety and rapid fat gain
Hot flushes, sleeping difficulties, heart palpations, headaches and muscle and joint pain are among a host of physical effects women can simultaneously experience.
Symptoms usually start months or years before the menopause officially begins, as periods start to become irregular. This is called the perimenopause.
And once a women reaches the menopause symptoms can continue for even more years.
The NHS warns these symptoms can have a 'big impact'