(Telegraph) Is the ‘manopause’ more widespread than we thought?
New research suggests that testosterone deficiency in older men is much more prevalent than current screening methods suggest, and that more men would benefit from hormone treatment
‘Manopause’ is a colloquial term. The male menopause is scientifically referred to as the andropause; ‘andro’ deriving from the Greek for ‘man’ or ‘male’. And despite many years of research into the symptoms, causes and overall existence of the andropause, it is often dismissed as a made-up condition, like “man-flu”.
This scepticism can be linked to a lack of data. The hard evidence needed to truly prove the existence of the andropause has simply never been gathered. There exists a recognised medical condition known as ‘Low T’, which is a diagnosis of low levels of testosterone in the body, but this has only been observed in fairly isolated cases.
The consistency to classify the andropause as a real and universal medical condition has been lacking, until now.
A new study published in The Aging Male Journal by men’s health expert Dr Malcolm Carruthers has compiled enough data to present the most convincing evidence yet for the existence of a male menopause. His 25-year study examined almost 2,500 men, measuring their testosterone levels using various pioneering methods.
When the level of testosterone in a man’s body begins to diminish, the effects are evident. Joint pain, night sweats, low mood and decreased sexual function are but some of the symptoms exhibited in the physicality or mental attitude of many middle-aged men. But, until now, this transition has not appeared as prevalent and predictable as the female equivalent.
Dr Carruthers blames an “excessive reliance” on outdated methods for this andropausal oversight. Up to now, testosterone levels have been measured using only blood samples, and the results themselves are compared solely with other men of the same age. Thus, the levels may be deemed ‘normal’ in relation to their peers even if they have dropped significantly overall.
And, because of this, a man with very high testosterone in his younger years might experience a severe drop in his forties or fifties (the andropause), despite analysis of his blood not showing anything out of the ordinary.
Before the study, only 25,000 British men were thought to experience a genuine hormonal shift on the same scale as the menopause; severe enough for them to benefit from hormone treatment. But on the basis of Dr Carruthers’ results, this number could be somewhere closer to two million – equating to one in every five middle-aged men.
The new research therefore indicates that, despite still not being as prevalent or predictable as the female menopause, the ‘manopause’ could in fact be a genuine and widespread condition.
In the study, obesity, alcoholism and illnesses including cancer and hormone disorders appeared to exacerbate the andropausal symptoms, but the same adverse effects and drop in testosterone levels could be seen in control groups of ‘clean living’ individuals.
The purpose of this new study was to alert the medical community to the andropause as a genuine problem, while arguing that Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) can be a safe, effective treatment for men with the condition.