11:19 18 June 2010
Researchers have revealed that the male menopause is in fact no myth. However, it only affects 2% of men.
A comprehensive joint study by Manchester University and Imperial College London examined the sex drives of 3,369 men aged 40 to 79. The aim was to identify the condition for the first time, by analysing the subjects' sexual, physical and mental states.
They found that a reduction of the hormone testosterone in ageing bodies produced nine identifiable symptoms of the previously elusive 'manopause'.
However, the team stated that only two out of 100 suffer badly enough to warrant hormone-boosting therapy.
The three key symptoms are erectile dysfunction, lower frequency of erection in the morning and lower sex drive. For male menopause to be diagnosed, all these, associated with low testosterone, must be apparent.
Other signs include an inability to engage in vigorous activity and trouble bending or stooping.
Three psychological symptoms were also noted - sadness, loss of energy and fatigue.
The study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, also revealed symptoms not necessarily related to the male menopause include changes in sleeping pattern, poor concentration, feeling worthless, nervousness or anxiety and difficulty getting up from a chair.
The University of Manchester School of Biomedicine's Professor Fred Wu stated: "Our findings have for the first time identified the key symptoms and suggest testosterone treatment may be useful in only a relatively small number of cases.
"The criteria should guard against the excessive diagnosis of male menopause and curb unwise use of testosterone therapy."
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