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The andropause: fact or fiction?
  1. N. Burns-Cox,
  2. C. Gingell
  1. Bristol Urological Institute, Southmead Hospital, UK.


    The so-called andropause is an ill-defined collection of symptoms in a group of men who may have low but may also have normal androgen levels. Unlike the proven benefits of hormone replacement therapy in women, the effects of testosterone supplementation in men are equivocal. It may increase sexual interest, but rarely to a level thought adequate by the patient. It has no proven beneficial effect on erectile dysfunction and other possible beneficial effects on haemopoesis, bone metabolism, lipids and fibrinolysis have yet to be demonstrated. With the availability of the testosterone patch, sustained increases in the serum testosterone levels will be readily achieved and could theoretically significantly affect the behaviour of subclinical prostate cancer. At the present time, testosterone replacement therapy in hypogonadal men is of proven clinical benefit; this is not the case, however, for eugonadal men with symptoms attributed to the andropause. The symptoms of the andropause fatigue can readily be explained by stress and there is no scientifically valid, placebo-controlled study that shows any benefit for testosterone supplements in this not uncommon group of patients.

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