The Andropause: Moving Forward from Denial to Discovery

Jerald Bain, BScPhm, MD, MSc, FRCPC, CertEndo, BA, Professor of Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Toronto; Staff Physician, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Mount Sinai Hospital; President, Canadian Andropause Society, Toronto, ON.

The time has come to put to rest the barbs and criticisms of the naysayers who either question or outright deny that the andropause exists. It is also time to put to rest the hesitation and discomfort some may have with the terminology, andropause. Andropause exists and andropause is its name, and many of yesterday's naysayers are among today's converts.

The Four "Pauses"
Perhaps the easiest way to envisage andropause is to view it as one of the four major "--pauses" in the endocrinology of aging.1 There are many theories as to why we age and many studies trying to understand the molecular basis of aging. Yet whatever the underlying mechanisms finally turn out to be, there are at least four significant alterations of endocrine function, each of which has been designated the suffix "pause". Whether or not this is an appropriate designation or the most descriptive of each of these endocrine changes is a moot point. The names transmit concepts that we can recognize and study, and that we can influence, if needed, with therapeutic strategies.

The most well known of the four "pauses" is menopause. Menopause is the culmination of a process that occurs over several years.