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Male Menopause: How to beat the boep

Male Menopause: How to beat the boep

Although well documented for women, the menopause is no myth for men either.

Paunchy middle-aged men are the butt of countless jokes but there may actually be hormonal reasons why some develop a spare tyre around their belly.

The male mid-life crisis is generally viewed as some kind of masculine menopause when a man cuts loose, buys an expensive sports car or starts to dress far younger than his age.

However, do men really suffer from the “change of life”? Yes, sort of, as
although they may not experience such rapid hormonal changes as women they do still experience a kind of menopause.

Testosterone is a key male hormone which peaks in men as they enter their twenties and, from then on, levels gradually decline.

One of the side-effects of this can be the emergence of that dreaded beer belly or “boep” as the presence of testosterone helps to slow down the growth of abdominal fat.

The male testosterone slide is slow – generally about 1 percent per year after the age of 30 – and a blood test is the only way to pick this up.

Men however still do need to avoid a weight-gain spiral. This is because, as they accumulate more fat, an enzyme in their fatty tissue converts testosterone to oestrogen, which in turn means testosterone levels dip still more.
Midriff fat can therefore be both a cause and an effect of low testosterone, along with those dreaded “moobs” (man boobs), as oestrogen is what causes breast tissue to grow.
A large stomach also includes visceral fat, which is a hidden layer of fat around your internal organs regardless of your overall weight.
Too much visceral fat increases a man’s risk for heart disease, insulin resistance and diabetes, colorectal cancer, sleep apnea and high blood pressure. Genes also can contribute.

How do you measure up?

Your waist should not measure more than 102cm. If it does, you need to take steps to trim it down. Here is how to measure it:

  • Put a measuring tape around your bare stomach, just above your hipbone.
  • With the tape snug against your skin but not tight, relax, exhale and measure your waist.
  • Do not pull in your stomach!

Mercifully, that paunch will only launch when a man reaches his late 40s to early 50s.

Sometimes it comes with other symptoms commonly seen in the female menopause, such as tiredness and sleep disturbance, and some men also suffer from erectile dysfunction.

There are options to help but, where the go-to treatment for women is hormone therapy, it is not so clear for men.
When it comes to medical interventions, it is a good idea to have a frank talk with your doctor.

How to beat the boep

In general they advise:

  • Eat a healthy diet. 
  • Keep portion sizes in check. 
  • Replace sugary cool drinks and alcohol with water or artificially sweetened drinks.
  • Get off the couch! Ideally, aim for a combination of aerobic activity and strength or weight training.

Drinking excess alcohol can give guys that beer belly but alcohol alone isn't to blame. Men in their 50s need about 200 fewer calories daily than those in their 30s due to muscle loss.
Losing that beer belly takes effort and patience – you didn’t grow it overnight and it won’t vanish overnight - but it can be done!

Date Published: 
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