- TORONTO - The idea of a middle-aged
men going through a mid-life crisis is nothing new. But now some doctors
say it may well be more than just a phase, and they're setting up clinics
to deal with "male menopause".
- The condition, known as andropause, afflicts about a
third of all men over 40, according to the Canadian Andropause Society.
- It's caused by the level of the testosterone, a steroid
hormone, dropping too low, which can lead to fatigue, depression, and
lowered sex drive.
- Even though it's common, many people are unaware of the
problem. In a recent survey, 40 per cent of the men interviewed said they
didn't believe male menopause existed.
- Doctors say the medical community itself is just now
starting to pay more attention.
- "There's an explosion of research now talking about
declining testosterone levels, declining stamina," says Dr. David
Saul, of the Canadian Andropause Society.
- A new blood test can easily determine if testosterone
levels are too low, and there are now drugs available to replenish the
body's supply, according to Saul.
- Hormone replacement to treat menopause in women has been
around for some time, although critics have questioned whether topping
up estrogen levels is actually a good idea.
- Studies are divided on whether estrogen replacement improves
sex drive and reduces depression. There is also disagreement on whether
it can cause health problems, from gallbladder disease to cancer.
- Doctors say research into what happens to men's bodies
as they age is about 25 years behind similar studies for women.
- Meanwhile, a patch developed to help raise testosterone
levels in men with andropause is now being reviewed by Health Canada.