Voiceover: When the menopause affects women the average age for this is 52. The embarrassing symptoms are well recognised. As well as memory loss, mood swings and hot flushes are common. But what if a man such as 66 year old Derek should have similar symptoms? He’s come to the clinic for help.
Derek: The biggest hell for me has been upsetting my family. I know my wife has suffered. If I can find some treatment that will cure the problem then I shall be very happy and so will my family.
Dr Pixie: Nice to meet you Derek. So what brings you to the clinic?
Derek: For probably 5 or 6 years I’ve had a whole series of symptoms and one that worries me most of all is that I’m prone to outbursts of verbal aggression. This has not been part of my character in the past. I feel a lack of mental agility. I suffer from a lot of night sweats and I have hot flushes and sweats during the day time which can be fairly embarrassing at times. I have difficulty falling off to sleep and when I do get to sleep and I get up early in the morning I’m as tired as I was when I went to bed.
Dr Pixie: I think a lot of your symptoms could be attributed to low levels of testosterone. Testosterone is essential, it makes you feisty, it affects your erectile function, it affects your sleep, it affects your appetite, it affects your zest for life, it affects your concentration, it affects everything. And, as when females go through the menopause, there is a condition in males called Andropause where your testosterone levels start to dip. It is a thing that can be treated so easily.
Dr Pixie: Yeah, and then we can take it from there.
Derek: I’d be very keen to go through that process.
Dr Pixie: Brilliant.
Voiceover: Andropause has only been recognised by the medical community since the 1940’s but it’s thought that 45% of men in their 60’s suffer from it. It’s caused by falling levels of testosterone and can lead to irritability, lack of energy and a low sex drive. The best treatment is with hormone replacement therapy. Derek’s treatment begins with a questionnaire and blood tests which he then discusses with Dr Malcolm Carruthers, an Andropause expert.
Dr Malcolm: You have every symptom of testosterone deficiency in the book to quite a high degree. The actual blood tests that we went over were, as I believe you had hoped, absolutely diagnostic of testosterone deficiency.
Voiceover: Derek’s symptoms have been recognised and he can start treatment with a daily dose of testosterone gel applied to his shoulder.
Derek: Since I started the treatment, my outlooks improved, my positivity’s improved.
Voiceover: But, has he been able to cure the hurt he caused?
Janet: You were horrid, vile, bad tempered. It’s not really the person you know.
Derek: It certainly was a difficult time and I think a lesser person than what Janet is would not be here now. So it was certainly quite a relief when the condition was diagnosed and I realised that all the symptoms I had been feeling and suffering over the years were attributable to low testosterone levels.
Janet: I think you’re brighter.
Derek: I feel brighter.
Janet: And I think you’re more susceptible to doing things.
Derek: I know when the levels get up to the figures that Dr Carruthers wants then I am sure I’m going to be on top of the world.
An estimated 45% of men in their sixties are thought to suffer from andropause, which is caused by a deficiency in testosterone levels. Symptoms are similar to that of the menopause and include memory loss, hot flushes and insomnia. Here Dr Pixie meets a patient whose sudden mood swings have been affecting life at home. Will HRT gel improve his demeanor?
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