The menopause has been the bane of middle-aged women’s lives for centuries. But now, a 25 year study has found that the male menopause, or ‘manopause’, could also be a very real health complaint among the opposite sex.
Researchers believe that men should be offered testosterone treatment to help them deal with the condition.
A comprehensive study, which spanned 25 years, measured the testosterone levels of 2,500 men.
It found that when a man’s testosterone levels began to drop in his thirties, he would experience symptoms including joint pain, night sweats, low mood and low libido – similar to that of the menopause.
Dr Malcolm Carruthers, who led the study, suggests that previous research into this area was not up to scratch, due to outdated methods.
In the past, testosterone levels would have been measured using blood samples and the results would have been measured against those of men at a similar age.
The testosterone levels would have seemed relatively normal, as overall all of the men in that age group would experience a drop.
However when compared to a much younger male, the drop in testosterone levels becomes far more significant.
Health professionals at the Centre for Men’s Health in London believe that around 20% of men over 50 have a testosterone deficiency.
For them, the ‘andropause’ – also known as the male menopause – is a real problem which should be treated with Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT).
Dr Carruthers told the Daily Telegraph: “I believe that around two million men in the UK could benefit from symptom relief, but outdated testing methodology and undue safety concerns have prevented the vast majority from receiving the treatment they need.”
The research paper was published in the journal, The Ageing Male.
The andropause is by no means a new discovery in the world of men’s health.
Dr Helen Webberley, the dedicated GP for Oxford Online Pharmacy, tells HuffPost UK Lifestyle that the male menopause is a gradual process and is “officially” known as Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome.
“It doesn’t happen suddenly, as it does with women, it gradually creeps up on men as their natural testosterone levels decline.
“The problem we face is that it has very common symptoms which could be attributed to almost anything – such as tiredness, lowering libido, loss of concentration and reduced exercise tolerance. These symptoms are so common that they are almost considered part of normal day to day life and are often ignored.
“However, with a simple test we can measure the testosterone level to see if it is low and, if it is, testosterone gels can help to restore the balance. As testosterone levels begin to normalise, energy, sex-drive, tolerance and concentration all increase and we see that many men begin to feel much better.”
Dr Webberley believes that it is the responsibility of doctors to offer these tests to men.
“We, as doctors, should be offering more tests, and men should be asking for them,” she says. “If two samples taken two weeks apart show a low testosterone level then treatment should be trialled. If this helps symptoms improve, fantastic, if not then we should dig deeper to make sure there is nothing else wrong.
“Many men are too proud to get tested, so work needs to be done to normalise this condition and make it acceptable for men to get their levels checked.”