pharmacyNew data presented at this year’s Society for Endocrinology BES conference[4 November] has revealed that Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome (TDS) is underdiagnosed and undertreated despite its high prevalence in older men and those with various comorbidities.

Lack of awareness is one of the major factors contributing to delayed diagnosis and inappropriate management in men with low testosterone, with two-thirds of men who took part in the Besins Healthcare survey experiencing symptoms for up to 2 years before seeking advice.

The survey was conducted in 101 males aged 40 or older who had been diagnosed with low testosterone for a mean 4.1 years. It found the main reasons for this delay were:
· Wrongly believing that it was not a serious problem (49%)
· Wrongly believing that it was ‘part of life’ (46%) or a normal consequence of ageing (44%).

One of the survey’s authors, Dr David Edwards GP said: “It is tragic that so many men are not receiving treatment for their low testosterone following a correct diagnosis. This clearly highlights the need for improved awareness and management of this condition.

“Testosterone is required by all men for a healthy life physically and psychologically so it’s really important that low testosterone - which has been linked to certain risk factors including chronic illnesses such as diabetes mellitus, and obesity - is treated. I urge men, and their partners, not to brush the symptoms under the carpet as being a normal part of ageing.”

Despite TDS affecting more than 700,000 men aged between 50 and 79 in the UK, embarrassment was also revealed to be another cause for not seeking help. When help was finally sought, for almost one-quarter of men aged over 40 years, and 40% of those aged under 60 years, treatment for their TDS was never received.

For the men surveyed, common symptoms were decreased libido (65%), tiredness/fatigue (64%), erectile dysfunction (59%), and listlessness/no energy (48%). Other symptoms include reduced muscle mass and weakness, depression, loss of concentration, irritability and hot flushes and sweats.

The Talking TDS campaign was launched by Besins Healthcare UK in 2015 to raise awareness of TDS and help men experiencing some of these symptoms. As part of the campaign, a short film has been produced, which can be viewed below

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