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Hot flushes irritability, memory loss, bone thinning, sleep disruption, depression, loss of libido. All symptoms of the menopause, signalling the end of fertility and a cause of huge disruption to the lives of thousands of women.
But what about men? Do we experience a similar condition in mid life? I pondered this question last week in the wake of news that some forms of hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, could (minutely) raise the risk of blood clots in women who take it.
Reason - Women - HRT - Drop - Sex
The reason women take HRT is because there is a dramatic drop in the sex hormone oestrogen, which causes all those health problems.
The medication tops up levels, alleviating the symptoms. So it’s generally considered worth taking, even if there is a remote possibility of side effects.
Men - Decline - Sex - Hormone - Testosterone
Men do also experience a decline is their sex hormone, testosterone. It starts to drop off between 40 and 70. But the fall is gradual, and only a minority of men notice the change.
Some doctors also debate whether symptoms – including irritability, low mood, insomnia, muscle loss and weight gain – are due to hormones, or simply the result of lifestyle: being overweight, stressed and physically inactive.
Manopause - Andropause - Versions - HRT - Men
It’s dubbed the manopause, or andropause, but although there are versions of HRT for men, many GPs have been reluctant to offer them.
Despite this, it seems prescriptions for these drugs are on the rise, up 20 per cent since 2012, costing the NHS £20 million a year.
But do they work? And more importantly, are they safe?
A jab to boost libido - and build muscle?
Years - Part - Experiment - Question - Testosterone
A few years ago I took part in an experiment to test this very question. I injected myself with testosterone to see if it would boost my mood and libido, as advocates promise.
Back then, British GPs were even more reluctant to give hormonal treatments...
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