When Bob Lumby was first told he must be going through male menopause, by a group of ladies on a bus no less, he was a little surprised. After all, he’d heard about women going through menopause – there was plenty written about that. So, where they joking?
It might have been the mood he was in, or just his inquisitive nature, but Bob was not content to let their comment sit. He set about researching male menopause and was surprised by what he could and couldn’t find out.
“I soon discovered” Bob explains, “there’s a fair bit of academia out there on male menopause, but there is not much available in plain English. “After a lot of research and a bit of encouragement from my family, I decided there was an opportunity to write a book.” The result is Manboobs and Hair, A seriously irreverent look at Male Menopause (Andropause).
What Bob quickly learnt through his research is that male menopause and mid-life crisis are two separate things. “Put simply,” he says “a mid-life crisis is
psychological while andropause (the official term for male menopause) is physical and psychological. “Andropause is the time in life when physical and emotional changes occur in men, often affecting their wellbeing,” Bob explains in the book. “Conditions associated with this change in men can be increased stress levels, weight gain, chronic pain, depression and other body changes.”
While Bob is not a medical professional, he did consult with experts in the field and gathered anecdotes from friends and strangers. “There are a lot of people I know in the book,” he confesses, “but there are also a lot of stories I gathered just walking up to people in the street, or shopping centre car parks, and starting a conversation with them. “It’s amazing how people began opening up about their experiences.”
The book has led to a website (male-menopause-explained. com) and also opportunities for Bob to speak at community group gatherings.
“As the title suggests, the book has a humorous angle,” Bob explains, “and that comes across at talks I have done. “I have found, however, that when I talk to groups of just women or just men it’s a lot better than when I talk to a room with both. “Men just don’t open up as much when there are women in the room and women don’t ask as many questions when men are around.”
In his book, Bob has covered topics including sex, eyesight, hearing, stress, depression and anxiety, family relationships, lifestyle and many more, peppering each chapter with truisms, illustrations, thoughts of the day, and serious advice.
“I decided to write a book that conveyed to men what they may experience or are now going through … the journey has been very rewarding – not only have
I learnt about myself, but have met many men of my age that have experienced similar problems both emotionally and physically as they go through this interesting change of life”.