This site is intended for health professionals only

Scientists confirm "male menopause"

A team of scientists has looked into the myth of the male menopause and confirmed it does affect men as they get older and suffer a drop in testosterone.

But the researchers found that while every woman goes through menopause, the male version is very rare.

According to the criteria set out by the team of medical experts, just 2% of men suffer from the male menopause.

Researchers found that poor health and obesity largely contribute to male menopause, which is technically known as late-onset hypogonadism.

In the study carried out by scientists from the University of Manchester, 3,369 men aged between 40 and 79 were measured for their levels of testosterone.

The men, whose average age was 60, were asked intimate details about their sexual, physical and psychological health.

Six physical and psychological symptoms, including inactivity, lack of energy, and sadness, were also recognised. But these were only weakly linked to male hormone levels.

Further symptoms often cited as being hallmarks of the male menopause were found to bear no relation to testosterone. They include changes in sleeping patterns, poor concentration, feeling worthless, and anxiety.

Study leader Professor Fred Wu, from the University of Manchester's School of Biomedicine, said: "Our findings suggest that testosterone treatment may only be useful in a relatively small number of cases where androgen (male hormone) deficiency is suspected, since many candidate symptoms of classic hypogonadism were not associated with decreased testosterone levels in older men."

The findings, published in the New England Journal Of Medicine, will guide doctors facing requests from men seeking a testosterone boost.

Copyright © Press Association 2010

New England Journal Of Medicine