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Male sex hormones and depression
Can reduced testosterone levels explain depression in older men. The pronounced drop in testosterone levels in men aged 70 and over appears to lead to a significant increase in the risk of depression.
This is the conclusion of an Australian study. After the age of 40, testosterone levels begin to fall. Slowly, but inexorably, at a rate of approximately 1% per year. This phenomenon, known as male hypogonadism, is not without its effect on health.
It affects mood. As is well known, a decrease in testosterone levels can lead to fatigue, irritability, loss of appetite, etc. And in some men it can lead to depressive disorders.
The Australian study is able to substantiate its findings: the men whose testosterone levels were the lowest saw a threefold increase in their risk of suffering a depressive episode.
These results are, of course, only preliminary.
Further studies will be needed to confirm, or indeed invalidate them. As things stand, there are hormone replacement treatments available that can be used to alleviate an excessive drop in testosterone.
Such a drop naturally also impacts on libido and muscle tone. The bones become more fragile, so that for older men, as for older women, there is a risk of osteoporosis.
Even though this may appear on average 10 years later than in women, there is still a genuine need for treatment for this problem. However, it must be stressed that such treatment is completely contraindicated in cases of prostate cancer.
Furthermore, these are major forms of treatment and can only be prescribed following medical consultation.