Dr John Moran is a specialist in hormone replacement therapies for the treatment of symptoms of the menopause, andropause and sexual disfunction
Here he answers some of your questions:
What can I do to stop these dreadful menopausal night sweats?
This is one of the most unpleasant symptoms of the menopause and can last for years. Its caused by a decline and imbalance of hormones. You may also want to consider a blood test to see what your hormones are doing – and depending on the results whether you need hormone replacement therapy (HRT) either from your GP or bioidentical hormone replacement which is one of the most effective ways of treating the menopause.
I have heard about the male menopause – it is true that men go through this as well?
Yes – once thought to be fiction rather than fact, medical research has now established that there is a slow decline in androgens, including the male hormone testosterone, in men from the age of 50 onwards. Its also called the male climacteric or andropause.
Here are six easily recognisable symptoms of the andropause:
1. Low sex drive and reduced erectile quality, particularly at night
2. Mood changes, irritability, fatigue and depression
3. Decrease in lean body mass with associated loss of muscle strength
4. Decrease in body hair and skin elasticity
5. Decreased bone mineral density resulting in osteopenia, when small amounts of bone are starting to be lost, can be dectected by testing in a hip and spine bone density scan. Osteopenia is the stage prior to full-blown osteoporosis and is an amber light warning. A urine tesr can also detect bone turnover
6. Increased abdominal fat may put men at risk of coronary heart disease and diabetes
Since I reached my 40s I have started to gain weight is there anything I can do outside of a diet and exercise to get rid of these extra pounds around my middle?
First of all you need to look at your lifestyle. Are you eating healthily? Are you taking enough exercise? The amount of abdominal fat around the middle is an indicator of several diseases of ageing including cardiovascular disease, stroke and diabetes. As people age they become more sedentary and a decline in hormones which help with energy doesn’t help. Get a checkup, including dietary advice.
I keep getting up in the middle of the night to urinate – do you know what could be causing this?
It may be nothing but frequent urinating at night can be a symptom of diabetes. This may also be linked to prostate problems. Ask your doctor for a blood/urine tests.
I used to have beautiful soft skin and shiny hair but my skin is getting dry and my hair lacklustre?
The cause may be a number of conditions – most likely not very serious – depending on your age and general health. Its likely a simple dietary deficiency. Are you taking enough Omega 3 – ie fish oils, eating nuts and seeds – these not only help our skin and hair but also feed our brain, helping to protecting against neurological damage.
I’ve heard about bioidentical hormones – what are they?
They are made from plants and are bioidentical to those made by our body and may include estrogen, natural progesterone, testerone and DHEA. Whereas the HRT prescribed by most doctors, at least on the NHS, is artificial and made from synethetic substances and mare’s urine, branded Premarin, for example.
I am a 50-year-old man and know I should be more active but I feel tired all the time and my sex life has gone out of the window? Is there a natural solution to this such as vitamins and supplements?
The answer may be as simple as changing your diet and exercise but older men often feel this way because of the decline in hormones. You should seek advice and get a full checkup.
Is is good for older people to have sex or should they stop at a certain age?
There is no reason to stop having sex has we get older providing that is what you and your partner both want. It stimulates us mentally and physically – assisting the release of beneficial hormones – and its a form of exercise so good all round.
I want to loose weight, can hormone replacement help?
It depends. If you have put on weight recently then you need to look at your lifestyle and diet. A blood and/or urine test to see what is happening with your hormones may help. Many older woman do suffer from an underactive thyroid and supplementation may help but you would need to have tests to determine this.
Contact Dr Moran
To contact Dr Moran with a health query email him at including contact details. Dr Moran cannot enter into personal correspondence. His replied cannot apply to individual cases and should be taken in a general context. If you do have a health concern you should contact your own professional doctor/GP.