Male Menopause Symptoms Officially Identified

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2010-06-19 18:31

Men, it’s okay to admit you are going through male menopause. Researchers have officially identified the symptoms associated with a reduction in testosterone in older men, although they say male menopause affects about only 2 percent of older males.

The link between the decline in testosterone levels seen in older men and late-onset hypogonadism (also known as male menopause) has long been a subject of debate. Now, for the first time, investigators have identified the symptoms of this condition and published their findings in the New England Journal of Medicine.

To establish the list of symptoms, the researchers, led by Dr. Fred Wu, a professor at The University of Manchester’s School of Biomedicine, surveyed a sample of 3,369 men aged 40 to 79 from eight different European centers. All the participants answered questions related to their general, sexual, psychological, and physical health.

Blood samples were collected from the men to determine their free and total testosterone levels. Free testosterone is the amount of the hormone present in the bloodstream that is not bound to protein. It comprises 2 percent of the testosterone in the body and is the biologically active form of the hormone. Total testosterone is the amount of both bound (and biologically inactive) and unbound testosterone.

The researchers selected three sexual, three physical, and three psychological symptoms they believe to be significantly linked with low testosterone levels. The three strongest indicators of male menopause were found to be in the sexual category: decreased frequency of morning erections, erectile dysfunction, and a decreased frequency of sexual thoughts. The lower a man’s testosterone levels, the more sexual symptoms he had.

The remaining six symptoms were only weakly linked to low levels of testosterone: loss of energy, sadness, fatigue, an inability to walk more than 1 km, an inability to participate in vigorous activity, and an inability to stoop, bend, or kneel. Overall, Dr. Wu noted that male menopause is often associated with poor overall health and obesity.

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