By Lisa Sigell

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Brian Decato is an energetic father and loving husband who says his life couldn’t be better.

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But, looking back 10 years, he describes a much different man, one he didn’t even recognize.

“Everything from no energy to depressed to really low sex drive — just going through an emotional roller coaster. I cried watching ‘Seabiscuit’,” Decato said.

His mood swings were erratic and he often felt hot and tired.

“I was becoming a cranky old man,” Decato said.

“He even complained of sore breasts and a low sex drive.

Decato thought things would get better but they didn’t. He said he lived like that for five “very long” years.

“I was talking with my mom one day and telling her all this stuff and my mom was going through menopause. And, she said, ‘You sound just like me,’ and that freaked me out more than anything,” Decato said.

Decato finally went to a doctor for testing and found his testosterone level was extremely low for a man his age. The doctor said he was going through a change that men typically don’t experience until later in life. Decato was experiencing these symptoms much earlier.

It’s referred to as hypogonadism. It’s also referred to as andropause, male menopause or, even, “man-opause”.

“Man-opause?!” Decato laughs.

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“The worst name possible…even just the name hurts to say it. It’s brutal.”

Doctors told Decato he had the testosterone of a 55-year-old woman.

Symptoms can include lack of sleep, decreased strength or endurance, decreased sex drive, mood swings, sleep problems and lack of concentration.

Dr. Johnny Mitias understands it all too well. Not only did he start Ageless Men’s Health to treat men with low testosterone, he was also the first patient.

The doctor said he felt just like Decato, except that he was in his 50s when it happened.

“I started noticing I was getting tired, gaining weight…I wouldn’t want to play with my kids,” Mitias said.

Mitias said men lose approximately one percent of their testosterone every year after age 30, some even more. He said the idea of a male menopause or andropause is not always embraced in the medical world — but it should be.

The doctor said he’s seeing more cases than ever in young men like Decato. He treats many of them with weekly injections of testosterone.

Decato and his wife, Diane, said their marriage was saved once he began his injection treatments. Now, he can sleep, focus and has the energy to be a father and husband.

“I’m just so much happier,” Decato said.

“I feel like a man again.”

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