GPs concerned by growing stampede for testosterone

Experts call for caution as male menopause myths see 20 per cent rise in prescriptions over three years

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Demand for testosterone is rocketing due to a surge in middle-aged men complaining of a "male menopause", reports The Times.

Prescriptions of the drug have risen by a fifth in three years, while its use in the NHS has more than doubled in a decade as glossy magazines promote the product as "HRT for men".

However, GPs say many of the symptoms men are complaining about can be attributed to age, weight or tiredness and not hypogonadism, or testosterone deficiency.

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Testosterone is being used "rather like oestrogen has been used in women as an 'anti-ageing' product in the past", said Martin Duerden, of the Royal College of GPs.

He added the hormone should be used "very cautiously unless there are clear clinical explanations for hypogonadism other than age".

Although testosterone does decline gradually with age, men do not undergo the sudden changes experienced by women during the menopause. However, this has not stopped some US companies from promoting a concept of a male menopause that can be reversed through the purchase of male hormone injections.

Experts say it is natural for men to witness a fall in testosterone as they reach middle age. According to Harvard Health, levels drop at a rate of one per cent a year as men reach the age of 40. Those who experience a greater depletion can be said to be suffering from low testosterone.

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