Outrage Over NHS Guidelines For Men Going Through The ‘Menopause’

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male menopause

Councils and NHS trusts have sparked outrage after putting policies in place to help staff recognise the physical and emotional turmoil of the so-called ‘male menopause’.

Even the official NHS website describes the term as ‘misleading’ and ‘unhelpful’. It states: ‘This label is misleading because it suggests the symptoms are the result of a sudden drop in testosterone in middle age, similar to what occurs in the female menopause. This is not true.’

None the less, according to the new guidelines, men should be helped through ‘physical and emotional symptoms’ in the same way as women when they go through menopause.

Managers are being advised to recognise symptoms from hot flushes to emotional changes as symptoms of male menopause or ‘andropause’, that allegedly affects men in their 40s and 50s.

Some policies even suggest that affected men should be referred to Occupational Health or may even be permitted to take extended periods of paid leave if symptoms become incompatible with work.

Campaigners say this is yet another example of the NHS ‘ignoring biological reality’ and moving away from evidence-based language.

n an article for the Mail Online journalist, writer and Co-founder of Justice for Women, Julie Bindel writes:

I thought I had seen it all in recent years, but this has left me reeling and furious in equal measure.

Frankly, it would be risible if it wasn’t so insulting to women, feeding into the pernicious narrative that biology is something that can be shifted and appropriated and that ‘feelings’ somehow counteract the irrefutable reality of the body into which we are born.

We have seen where this ‘anti-science’, as I call it, has led us in recent years: to a world in which we are told that there are multiple genders, that there is no difference at all between those who are born female and those who chose to identify as women, and that a penis can be a female appendage.

Women’s identities are being airbrushed out of existence.

So perhaps we should not be surprised by the appalling spectacle of public bodies propped up by billions of pounds of taxpayer money asking us to swallow the wholesale lie – robustly refuted by science – that the symptoms that accompany a phase built into the female life cycle can be experienced by men. It’s astonishing, particularly when you consider the etymology of the word menopause. It comes from the Ancient Greek ‘mensis’ for month, and ‘pausis’ meaning stop – so quite literally means the end of your monthly cycle.

That is something that happens only to women. So does the anxiety, hot flushes, increased risk of heart disease, chronic insomnia and myriad other symptoms that accompany the process of leaving our ability to grow a baby behind us. And yes, while testosterone levels do fall as men age, nearly every medical journal in existence is unified in agreement that the decline is steady at about 1 per cent a year from around the age of 30 to 40, and unlikely to cause any problems.

All of this is also oceans apart from the slight slump of midlife that most of us face at some point, as we confront the miserable truth that our best years may be behind us and the long gloomy shadows of old age and what comes after encroach on previously sunny horizons.

I have no doubt that men also feel this: indeed it’s long been recognised – we call it a mid-life crisis, and it’s a stage that has traditionally led to some ill-judged decisions, be it a catastrophically doomed love affair or a determined embrace of extreme sports.

Perhaps we have been too quick to mock it, but for this process to be considered even remotely comparable to the agonies that a vast number of middle-aged women go through is extraordinary – and that many NHS bodies in particular are participating in this lie makes it all the more so.

Let us not forget that this is the same NHS that continues to fail to get a grip on the supply chain which governs the provision of hormone replacement therapy, or HRT as it is more commonly known. Many of the country’s 13 million menopausal or perimenopausal women (the latter phrase applies to women in the phase leading up to menopause, which can also be dogged by symptoms) rely on this medication, and while at the age of 61 my own insomnia and anxiety are finally beginning to subside, I have many friends who tell me they are climbing the walls because they cannot get hold of their prescription.

Many of these women have already spent swathes of their lives being punished for the reality of their female biology. They have faced fertility issues and worked through uncomfortable, difficult pregnancies as they fight to keep their jobs as well as battling for proper maternity pay.

Once menopausal, meanwhile, they are written off as past their prime, while their male counterparts are lauded for their accumulated wisdom.

The process can last for decades – I know many women in their 70s who cling on to their HRT medication, fearful of the return of night sweats and muscle fatigue, while men in their 80s can continue to father children, despite a decline in testosterone.

That is biological reality – one that has only recently been dragged to public attention, thanks in part to the tireless campaigning of some high-profile celebrities, among them Davina McCall and Mariella Frostrup.

It certainly strikes me as no coincidence that only now menopause is high on the news agenda has it been deemed a phenomenon that men must battle too. Not content with trying to get into our changing rooms, our refuges and our sports teams, the gender police now wish to claim ownership of an aspect of life which most women would leave behind in a heartbeat if they could.

Of course, we don’t have that choice, so the idea that men can pretend (the only applicable word here) they are suffering – facilitated by organisations captured by this idiocy – leaves me sickened.

Niamh Harris
About Niamh Harris 14981 Articles
I am an alternative health practitioner interested in helping others reach their maximum potential.