Testosterone prescription is increasing by the day and physicians argue that the condition is being medicalised when it could just be a natural feeling of ageing.
Symptoms of the 'male menopause' include mood swings and irritability, loss of muscle mass, fat redistribution, insomnia and poor concentration. Other symptoms can include a loss of sex drive and erectile dysfunction when men reach their 40s and 50s.
‘Testosterone and testosterone undecanoate are in the top ten most commonly prescribed controlled drugs in England and Wales.’
AdvertisementNHS Choices described the male menopause as an 'unhelpful term' used to explain the symptoms. Experts have sought to clarify the symptoms are not as a result of a 'sudden drop' in testosterone - like the female menopause. Sometimes the symptoms men experience are due to lifestyle changes Instead, medics argue testosterone levels fall - a process described as 'late-onset hypogonadsim - as men age and could even be linked to obesity and diabetes.
Some GPs are unsure just how helpful prescribing testosterone really is, with the hormone being prescribed like oestrogen is for women. Some men are suffering from hypogonadism where the testes produce few hormones.
Professor Mike Kirby, GP and visiting professor to the Prostate Centre, London, told Pulse: "Since the introduction of Viagra, and more interest in erectile problems, more men are being tested for testosterone deficiency - that's been a major driver of it."
He added the rise in prescribing could because GP has a greater awareness of the problem of testosterone deficiency.
However Dr Martin Daerden North Wales GP said he believed the products should be used 'very cautiously'. "I think we should use these products very cautiously unless there are clear clinical explanations for hypogonadism other than age," he said.
Some attribute the symptoms of the 'male menopause' to lifestyle issues - stress, depression, anxiety, lack of sleep or poor diet. But in some cases, where lifestyle or psychological problems don't seem to be responsible, NHS choices said the symptoms of the male menopause may be the result of hypogonadism, where the testes produce few or no hormones.
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