Hormones to Give Ageing Men a Boost
Monday, August 7th 2006
Testosterone implants may be the answer for thousands of New Zealand men slowing down as they head towards male menopause.
A men's health specialist, Dr Ian Booth, said thousands of New Zealand men plodded into a life of fatigue and low sex drive because of falling testosterone levels.
He plans to boost the use of male hormone replacement therapy, where testosterone is injected, swallowed or implanted into listless bodies.
Dr Booth, who has worked in South Africa and England, said the hormone boosts had turned patients' lives around within weeks.
Many men often did not realise they were going through andropause, the term used for male menopause.
Instead, from their mid-40s on, they just accepted symptoms such as tiredness, irritability, anxiety, loss of sex drive, hot flushes, sweating, memory and concentration loss, and erection problems.
Dr Booth hopes to open a clinic in Auckland next month dedicated to male health and sexual dysfunction. He has hosted radio shows in South Africa on the topic and written magazine columns.
Too many men had become resigned to their ailments, he said.
Dr Booth predicted that many New Zealand doctors would be sceptical about testosterone implants and andropause, which was often wrongly diagnosed as stress or depression.
Men on hormone replacement began on oral pills or injections, he said. If successful, testosterone tablets could then be surgically inserted into the abdomen.
Up to 12 tablets were inserted, giving six months' supply.
Testosterone patches were coming on to the market as a further alternative.
Dr Booth said people should not see the implants as a quick fix.
Many problems were complex and required thorough consultations and lifestyle changes before drugs were used.
While andropause tended to begin from about the age of 45, Dr Booth said he had seen some men with symptoms in their 30s.
The condition could be hereditary in some cases, but often seemed random.
High alcohol consumption was also believed to be a trigger.
The coordinator of the men's health course at Auckland's Unitec Institute of Technology, Thomas Harding, said he could see benefit in hormone replacement for some.
"If it was thrown at all men as some kind of panacea, I wouldn't go along with it.
"But as men, we don't talk about our health problems, so anything that brings debate out into the open is great."
Mr Harding said testosterone replacement had been successful overseas, with a large research study planned in Australia.
Source, New Zealand Herald 2006
Footnote from Ideal Health:
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