Changes in the male reproductive system with aging can include changes in testicular tissue, sperm production, and erectile function. These changes usually occur gradually. Unlike women, men do not experience a major and rapid change (over several months) in their fertility as they age (such as menopause). Instead, the changes occur gradually during a process that some people call andropause.
The changes due to aging in the male reproductive system occur mainly in the testicles. The tissue mass decreases. The level of the male sex hormone, testosterone, gradually drops. There may be problems getting an erection. This is a general slowdown, rather than a total lack of functionality.
The prostate enlarges with age as part of its tissue is replaced by scar-like fibrotic tissue. This condition, called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), affects about 50% of men. BPH can cause slow urination and ejaculation problems. In both men and women, changes in the reproductive system are closely related to changes in the urinary system.
Many of the age-related physical changes, such as an enlarged prostate or testicular atrophy, must be treated as health problems. Like hypertension and diabetes, these can also be prevented.
Andropause is a process by which sexual functions decrease with age the like other organic functions, as a result of low levels of testosterone in the body, or by malfunction of testosterone receptor. For this reason, the quality of life decreases and there are a series of problems among which are: loss of energy, fatigue, decreased ability to concentrate and memory, depression, lack of motivation, irritability, muscle weakness, decreased desire or sexual impotence, decreased physical stamina, insomnia, weight gain, dry skin, osteoporosis, joint pain, and decreased height.
Prostate cancer and heart disease are potential risks from this hormonal imbalance.