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A 75% increase in men reporting ‘male menopause’ symptoms is likely linked to Covid anxiety, but may also be a sign of hormonal imbalance, warns expert

A 75% increase in men reporting ‘male menopause’ symptoms is likely linked to Covid anxiety, but may also be a sign of hormonal imbalance, warns expert


A leading testing expert says the increase in men reporting symptoms of the ‘male menopause’ during the pandemic could be due to lifestyle and stress. However, depression or loss of sex drive may also be due to low testosterone caused by late-onset hypogonadism.


New analysis of data from the height of the pandemic has revealed there was a 75% increase in men reporting some symptoms of the ‘male menopause’ – sometimes called the andropause and colloquially known as the ‘mid-life crisis’. These symptoms may have been caused by a hormonal condition, as well as stress and lifestyle changes, warns Dr Quinton Fivelman PhD, Chief Scientific Officer at London Medical Laboratory

Says Dr Fivelman: ‘Symptoms of the male menopause include depression, loss of libido or sex drive, weight gain, developing “man boobs” and experiencing mood swings. Over the last two years there there was a marked increase in the number of men reporting some or all of these symptoms.

‘In most cases, the causes are down to lifestyle and stress. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimated 13% of men aged 50 to 69 had some form of depression in early 2021, during the pandemic. The number of men experiencing some sort of depression before the pandemic was 7.4%. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England says that men aged 40-49 have the highest suicide rates in the UK.

‘During the pandemic, 40% of people in the UK put on half a stone on average, according to Public Health England, and a survey of around 2,000 people by the sports equipment manufacturer Run Repeat found 4.7% more UK men than women had increased weight. The journal Nutrients found older age was also associated with an increase in Body Mass Index (BMI) during 2020, as was alcohol consumption.

‘Work or relationship problems, money and divorce also play their part in creating the symptoms of male menopause. Recent speculation about the nuclear threat posed by Putin’s Ukrainian war will have added to anxieties. Smoking, excess drinking, overeating and lack of exercise also exacerbate these problems.

‘The once-ridiculed “mid-life crisis” is also a key factor. Reaching the middle years may prompt a reflection on work and personal life, which can lead to increased stress and anxiety, sometimes with tragic results.

‘However, men experiencing problems such as low sex drive and erectile dysfunction may actually be suffering from low testosterone levels, rather than external issues. This may indicate a hormonal problem. Like women during the menopause, there is a natural change in hormone levels in middle-aged men. However, unlike the sharp drop in oestrogen during the female menopause, men experience only a slow but steady decline in testosterone of less than 2% a year. In itself, that’s not an indication of health problems. However, a marked significant loss of testosterone can be caused by late-onset hypogonadism.

‘Hypogonadism is a condition in which the testes produce few or no hormones. It’s most widely seen as a condition from birth, which can lead to delayed puberty and small testes. However, it can also develop later in life, particularly in men who are obese or have Type 2 diabetes (which is also on the increase and often goes undiagnosed, leading to serious health issues later in life).

Blood tests can measure testosterone concentrations and identify if they fall below certain levels, revealing whether someone is likely to have late-onset hypogonadism.

‘These readings are influenced by age, whether someone is overweight, has Type 2 diabetes, thyroid problems or liver disease. They can also be caused by taking anticonvulsant drugs (increasingly used for treating depression and neuropathies).

‘If the results suggest someone has a testosterone deficiency, doctors may refer them to an endocrinologist, a specialist in hormone problems. A variety of treatments can help restore testosterone levels.

‘Blood tests are available through GPs and privately, through blood tests sent through the post or in drop-in clinics. For example, the new generation male hormone profile blood test from London Medical Laboratory is a simple finger-prick test. It is highly accurate, quick and simple to carry out, either at home through the post, or at one of the many drop-in clinics that offer this test across London and the southeast. The male hormone profile test measures nine key hormone biomarkers, including testosterone and free testosterone levels in the body. For full details see:

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Last Updated: 10-Mar-2022