The age-old stereotype of old men being grumpy may have a biological culprit backing it up: andropause, colloquially known as “male menopause”.

Holistic health expert Dr Frances Pitsilis joined Breakfast this morning, explaining that male menopause has “always been a thing”.

Pitsilis said men go through andropause “slowly, often unnoticeably, gradually, and then one day they’re frail, they’re depressed, they can’t build muscle at the gym, they get grumpy and irritable”.

She said the affects of andropause usually kick in around the age of 45.

Some symptoms include falling asleep after dinner, developing “man boobs” and unknowingly becoming “b****y”.

“In my own mind it’s real because I see it and I treat it,” she said.

“When you looked at the scientific literature 15 years ago, they were debating whether it really was a thing, but today the researchers and experts are trying to wake the world up to it.

“They’re trying to get it out there and get people to realise that men need to have it treated.”

She advised men seeking treatment to speak with their GP, but given that andropause is not yet common knowledge within medical circles, they may be referred to an endocrinologist.

“While you’re waiting to see a specialist, why don’t you do a male menopause questionnaire online and take it with you?” she asked of older male viewers.

“It would ask about all the symptoms … [with] symptoms that we’ve mentioned like ‘are you getting depressed?'”

Pitsilis said they may need testosterone rather than anti-depressants.

She added that some men may begin andropause before age 45, saying for some the condition “can be genetic”.

“It can be pituitary failure, it can be a testicular failure, it can be chronic stress and other diseases that drain you, and it can be drugs as well like steroids, statins, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

“It is normal at the moment, but if we’re starting to talk about it now I think the awareness is going to increase … then more men can get the help that they really deserve.”