A GP has warned that the NHS is facing a “forgotten epidemic” with hundreds of thousands of middle-aged men suffering from the MANOPAUSE.
Men who are suffering a low sex drive, depression, obesity and fatigue are being urged to request a blood test to screen them for the disease.
The so-called “manopause” is thought to be caused by low testosterone levels which can be easily treated with a simple hormone injection.
Dr Jeff Foster, who runs TFJ Private GP Services in Leamington Spa, Warks., says a blood test can help diagnose the condition.
He said: “It is easy for many of these symptoms to be attributed to the stress of modern life and or poor lifestyle choices, which is why the male menopause has been something that has often been dismissed by the general public and doctors alike.
“However, there is now good evidence that the symptoms of the ‘manopause’ are caused by a testosterone deficiency and need not be endured as part of the natural ageing process; especially as they are associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, and bone thinning.
“This is why patients need to stand up and proactively ask their doctors to screen for testosterone levels if they think they may have symptoms of the disease.
“Between six and 12 per cent of the male population over the age of 40 are estimated to suffer with testosterone deficiency. It’s a forgotten epidemic.
“Testosterone deficiency can manifest itself in many ways. In fact, symptoms are so varied that many patients do not even consider going to their doctor to ask about them.
“While some patients may suffer from an inherited condition that causes low testosterone, much more commonly, a reduced testosterone level is caused by a range of other factors, such as, obesity, use of anti-depressants, strong painkillers, or steroids, cancer treatments, asthma, liver or kidney disease, use of cannabis, and even long-term excessive exercise.”
Symptoms of testosterone deficiency are varied, and include decreased sex drive and erectile dysfunction, depression, poor concentration, obesity, loss of muscle mass and tiredness.
Testing for low testosterone is done via a simple blood test performed between 7-10:30am, when men naturally produce their highest levels of the hormone.
Testosterone replacement therapy comes in a variety of preparations that help fit with patient comfort and choice. They include oral treatments, injections, or via a gel.
Dr Foster added: “For most men, testosterone therapy is safe and carefully monitored, can reduce the risk of other diseases, and mortality, as well as massively improve quality of life.
“Male menopause is no longer something that should be trivialised or ignored and men should not feel ashamed or embarrassed about seeing their doctor to discuss the feelings of a loss of focus, sex drive, energy, or desire in their life.”