Yes, there is such a thing as a Male Menopause, or Andropause. And yes, there's a cure (BACK)
Age was once blamed for men's drop in drive but now, reports Tracy McVeigh, testosterone is available at the click of a mouse
Sunday March 26, 2000
Sybil Fawlty memorably blamed Basil's eccentric behaviour on his 'time of life' - but the joke is a miserable medical reality for millions of men suffering lack of drive at work, loss of libido or impotence, depression, irritability, night sweats and hot flushes. And the good news is that there is a cure.
Colorado hormone replacement therapy for Low T is now becoming recognised as a suitable treatment for what has been until now dismissed as a mid-life crisis rather than a serious medical condition.
Men, like women, suffer a drop in testosterone hormone levels as they age. In men the hormone is testosterone. Many men, and many GPs, will dismiss their symptoms as natural ageing, but last week the British Medical Journal revealed that there was a strong argument that the male menopause - called the andropause - does exist. Now The Observer can reveal the little-known fact that a treatment is available. The UK is the only country in the world where safe, oral tablets of TRT are available.
Fifty-something men can recover their lost youth, tired businessmen can find their killer instinct once more, beer bellies can be reduced and sex lives can be rejuvenated.
One group of Harley Street doctors is so convinced of the value of testosterone replacement therapy, and so frustrated by GPs' unwillingness to prescribe it, that they are launching a cyber-clinic, an online consultancy for men suffering from an age-related drop in testosterone levels.
Stress, alcohol intake and even environmental hormone disrupters are all causing an increase in the number of sufferers. Andropause hits high flyers, those with naturally high testosterone levels, hardest of all.
Bernard Collen, 54, credits the drug with having saved his marriage and his career. Ten years ago he was an irritable, exhausted salesman who put his lack of sex drive and bad temper down to the stress of his job. 'I really felt I was starting to lose my grip,' he said. It was his wife, Michelle, who heard of the UK Andropause Clinic and the pioneering work being done by Dr Malcolm Carruthers at the Gold Cross Medical Group in London's Harley Street.
'She rang him up and just forced the phone into my hand,' said Bernard. A blood test confirmed he had low testosterone and he was prescribed TRT. 'My life turned around. It restored my ability to do my job, it boosted my sexual desire, it seemed to give me better mental agility and the depression went overnight,' he said.
Dr Carruthers and his colleagues have been voices in the medical wilderness for 10 years, in which time more than 1,000 men have been treated with TRT at his clinic, and the group is now launching an interactive AndroScreen website. This means that men unhappy with their GP's advice can turn to the Internet for a medical appraisal.
Dr Carruthers believes he has convinced many other doctors that TRT is the way forward. 'All the evidence that has come forward, particularly over the past year, shows that the andropause is a real and serious condition,' he said. 'The data I have collected shows TRT is safe and highly effective. Around 50 per cent of men aged 50, 60 per cent of men aged 60 and 70 per cent of men aged 70 will be suffering from the male menopause now.
'There is no need to suffer. There is loads of evidence that TRT works very well. It even decreases obesity and increases lean body mass. It reduces the beer belly because it improves abdominal muscle.
'It is high time the condition is recognised and treated. That's why we have set up this Website - to make it available to people, not only in the UK but also in the States. TRT is one area we are actually ahead of the States in.
'The sad thing is that people keep going to their GPs and they are not being diagnosed. The doctors prescribing TRT are few and far between. And that is why we want to use the Web to create a new form of global consultancy and it will enable us to spread the scarce specialist advice in this field as far as possible.'
Testosterone was thought for a time to be linked to prostate cancer but within the past year that risk has been dismissed. In fact the regular screening of patients being prescribed TRT may even aid detection of the so-called 'silent killer'. The main remaining complaint against TRT is from those who do not believe it actually works and do not believe the andropause exists except as a natural ageing process.
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