Sunday, November 18, 2012

Male menopause could be a reality

Male menopause could be a realityStudies now suggest even men experience the notorious "change of life".

Hot flushes, low libido, unpredictable mood swings are just some of the hormonal changes women experience during menopause. But it seems the boys aren't exempt from these symptoms as they get older according to a new British study. Dubbed andropause – or "man-opause" as London's Daily Mail puts it – British scientists found men, like women, experience a shift in hormonal behaviour as they get older.

Scientists at the Centre for Men's Health in London discovered that 20 per cent of the 10,000 men over 50 were affected by a hormonal imbalance. 

While women experience a drop in oestrogen during menopause, men endure a dip in testosterone, which can cause similar symptoms to women, including energy loss, low libido, mood swings and night sweats.

"Testosterone deficiency syndrome is a common and serious condition that is not being diagnosed or treated," says Dr. Malcolm Carruthers, who runs the Centre for Men's Health. For men, the hormonal change is often more gradual than menopause, but it's equally as important for men to talk to a doctor when experiencing andropause symptoms.

Erectile dysfunction is one common indicator of testosterone deficiency, a condition some men are reluctant to talk about.

The World Health Organization has yet to recongnise andropause as a medical condition, the Daily Mail continued.

But while some doctors doubt the seriousness of andropause, scientists say there are more serious health concerns at risk. Carruthers said that lower testosterone levels can lead to a slew of other health problems. "This is a condition that can wreck lives if left untreated, and also shorten lifespan because of its proven link to heart disease, obesity and diabetes."

And unlike women, whose symptoms tend to ease after menopause, andropause can continue well into old age, the Daily Mail reported.

In contrast to the andropause argument, Professor Ashley Grossman, a consultant endocrinologist at St Bartholomew's Hospital in London says he's concerned the male menopause idea has become a commercial opportunity for drug companies and private clinics. "Women suffer a sharp fall in the hormone oestrogen when they go through the menopause, and men need to realise that testosterone levels naturally fall by 2 per cent a year from the age of 40," he said.

However, Carruthers stands by his study. "This is a clinical condition – and one for which men can receive treatment," he says.

Whether andropause exists or not, there are numerous treatments doctors may prescribe to combat testosterone deficiency in men including testosterone implants and replacement therapy.

"By ignoring the problem we're putting men, and their wives, through needless misery," Carruthers said.

Source: Body and Soul 

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