British research backs 'male menopause' cure

Hope for millions of men as scientists show no link between testosterone treatment and prostate cancer

The "male menopause" has been ridiculed as an excuse for men behaving badly in middle age, but the condition is a real one. Now more than two million sufferers have been given hope of a safe cure. For years, testosterone replacement treatment (TRT) – the most effective known medication for what is officially the andropause – had been linked to prostate cancer. But today clinicians will announce that research has found no link, meaning that for the first time doctors will be able to recommend the treatment without fear.

The 15-year study of 1,500 patients by the Institute of Urology at University College Hospital, London, disproved the link and found that raising testosterone levels could in fact be beneficial to the prostate.

The condition, also known as testosterone deficiency syndrome, causes sufferers – predominantly men aged 50 or over – to experience extreme tiredness, depression, weight gain, brain fog, memory loss, sleep disturbance or lower sex drive. Erectile dysfunction can also be a symptom, although for many the only obvious symptom is fatigue.

Although it affects millions of men, including untold numbers in their thirties and forties, just 1 per cent of those suffering from the male menopause are diagnosed.

The new research removes a major obstacle to treating what doctors say is the most common hormonal disturbance among men. Testosterone treatment is available on the NHS, but it is very scarcely used and cannot be prescribed by GPs, partly because of the fears about cancer.

The research breakthrough comes at the start of Britain's first ever Andropause Awareness Week, at the same time as scientists and clinicians gather in Munich to discuss advances in knowledge and treatment.

Several high-profile men have been diagnosed with the condition recently. The singer Robbie Williams was diagnosed earlier this year and record producer Pete Waterman and opera singer Ian Storey are also sufferers.

The Andropause Society's chief executive, Paul Pennington, who himself has the condition, said: "It is extremely gratifying to know we can finally remove one of the obstacles that has seemingly prevented the medical profession from treating this common hormonal disturbance in men, which can wreck their lives, loves and health. Unfortunately, the views about the dangers of TRT are about 20 years out of date. The experience of clinicians has shown that rather than being dangerous, carefully regulated and monitored TRT has been shown to be remarkably safe."

Low testosterone is associated with diabetes, heart failure, obesity and osteoporosis. Doctors believe that raising levels of the hormone could help reduce the incidence of these conditions.

Dr Malcolm Carruthers, one of the authors of the University College Hospital research, said: "This myth that TRT was linked to prostate cancer has persisted. It arose from research in the 1940s based on very few cases. It has stopped so many men from getting testosterone treatment."

Dr Carruthers said that doctors still need to be more open to diagnosing the condition. He said: "At the minute, the condition is neither recognised nor treated, despite the fact that it wrecks men's lives and results in misery on a large scale that could easily be prevented and treated."

Case study: Gordon Watson, 76, from Doncaster

"Two years ago I started getting short of breath and feeling very tired. I spent a year having every test imaginable. I was getting up at 9 and would be back in bed by 11am, tired out. I couldn't eat my dinner and I felt physically and mentally tired.

"Then I had a testosterone test and it came back as quite low. I'm a diabetic, and the doctor said low testosterone affects me more. At that point I thought the prostate issue was a risk, but I was willing to take it. I noticed the difference in 48 hours. Now I have injections of testosterone every 10 weeks and I'm great, I am back going on five-mile walks again."

Life & Style
Sampling wine in Turin
food + drink...and abstaining may be worse than drinking too much, says scientist
Arts & Entertainment
Kingdom Tower
architecture
Sport
Jose Mourinho restrains his assistant manager Rui Faria, Fabio Borini celebrates his winning penalty and Connor Wickham equalises for Sunderland
sportChelsea 1 Sunderland 2: Deafeat is extra bitter as former Chelsea player Fabio Borini scores late penalty to seal victory
Arts & Entertainment
Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin has been working on the novels since the mid-Nineties
books
VIDEO
News
Easter a dangerous time for dogs
these are the new ones. Old ones are below them... news
News
Brand said he
people
Sport
Roger Federer celebrates his victory over Novak Djokovic in the Monte Carlo Masters
sport
Voices
Actor Zac Efron
voicesTopless men? It's as bad as Page 3, says Howard Jacobson
Arts & Entertainment
The monster rears its head as it roars into the sky
film
Voices
For the Love of God (2007) The diamond-encrusted skull that divided the art world failed to sell for
its $100m asking price. It was eventually bought by a consortium
which included the artist himself.
voicesYou can shove it, Mr Webb – I'll be having fun until the day I die, says Janet Street-Porter
Extras
indybestFake it with 10 best self-tanners
Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
News
peopleOrlando Bloom the pin-up hero is making a fresh start
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Apprentice IT Technician

    £150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

    1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

    £153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

    1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

    £150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

    Sales Associate Apprentice

    £150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

    Day In a Page

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

    Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
    Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

    British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

    The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
    Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

    Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

    Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

    A History of the First World War in 100 moments

    A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
    Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
    Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

    Cannes Film Festival

    Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
    The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

    The concept album makes surprise top ten return

    Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
    Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

    Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

    Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
    10 best baking books

    10 best baking books

    Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
    Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

    Jury still out on Pellegrini

    Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
    Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

    Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

    The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
    Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

    Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

    The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

    As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
    Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

    Mad Men returns for a final fling

    The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

    Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit