Male menopause affects 2million Brits but 'can be safely cured with testosterone treatment'
2nd October 2011
It has long been dismissed as an excuse for men behaving badly in middle age.
But the male menopause is very real, affects more than two million British men and can be cured, doctors said last night.
An international conference heard yesterday (CORR) that the decades-long fear that upping testosterone levels raises the odds of prostate cancer is a myth.
Experts hope the University College London finding will raise awareness of the condition in men – and persuade more GPs about the benefits of treatment.
Dr Malcolm Curruthers, one of the study’s authors, said the misery of male menopause can easily be prevented and treated.
He said: ‘Testosterone deficiency not only causes symptoms that can wreck lives and loves from as early as a man’s 40s, it is linked to heart disease, diabetes and brittle bones.
'Some people are even beginning to link it to Alzheimer’s disease as well.’
The male menopause, which is being re-branded testosterone deficiency syndrome, so as to distance it from the female version, affects one in five men over 50.
But younger men can also suffer the fatigue, depression, weight gain, clouded thought, loss of libido and memory and sleep disturbance caused by plunging levels of the sex hormone.
Earlier this year, Robbie Williams, 37, shocked his legions of female fans by admitting he was injecting himself with testosterone to boost his sex drive.
Jabs can last up to six months and daily gels are also available. Some men claim to have the energy of someone 20 years younger after being prescribed male HRT but as few as 20,000 men are being treated.
Some doctors dismiss the symptoms as an inevitable consequence of ageing.
Others say that symptoms such as hot flushes, sweating, depression and loss of sex drive are just side-effects of being overweight, lazy and smoking and drinking too much.
But one of the biggest stumbling blocks has been fears that topping up a man’s testosterone raises his risk of prostate cancer.
The study, which tracked the health for 15 years of almost 1,500 men treated at Dr Carruthers’ Men’s Health Centre in London’s Harley Street, found this concern to be unfounded.
The men treated were no more likely to develop the cancer than other men and raising testosterone levels was found to help the prostate in other ways.
Dr Carruthers said: ‘It is a leading-edge study. Every time testosterone treatment for prostate cancer is mentioned, some nay-sayer waves a shroud labelled “testosterone and cancer”. This dispels that myth.’
Mark Feneley (CORR), a consultant urological surgeon at UCL, and the study’s co-author, said the treated men developed prostate cancer at the same age and rate as the general population.
He added that treated men also benefit from close monitoring, which means that any cancers are picked up early when there is the best chance of cure.
Paul Pennington, of the Andropause Society, the male menopause charity which funded the research, said it will be working to raise awareness of the findings among GPs.
He told the Independent on Sunday: ‘It is extremely gratifying to know we can finally remove one of the obstacles that have seemingly prevented he medical profession from treating this common hormonal disturbance in men, which can wreck their lives, loves and health.’
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