NHS Trust to Give Men Suffering from 'Male Menopause' a Year of Paid Leave

ambulance crew pulling stretcher
NHS Trust Gives Male Menopause Patients Paid Leavesturti - Getty Images

East Midlands Ambulance Service will allow staff to take a year of paid leave if they're suffering from 'male menopause'.

The condition, which isn't clinically recognised, is caused by a fall in testosterone levels, and can result in symptoms such as weight gain and depression.

In addition to paid leave, managers at the trust have also been asked to provide additional uniforms, portable fans and change shift patterns to assist male staff members, reports The Telegraph.

‘As well as having menopause guidance we also support anyone within the organisation who is affected directly or indirectly by the andropause,’ said Tina Richardson, deputy director of human resources at East Midlands Ambulance Service.

‘We provide occupational sick pay for up to 12 months based on service length. That will support absences which may result from symptoms of the andropause or where time off for medical appointments is required.'

East Midlands Ambulance Service is now among a handful of employers with a policy on the male menopause. The Dyfed-Powys police force also recognises the condition, but doesn't offer time off for symptoms. While, the Midcounties Co-op also offers some support for male menopause.

What is 'Male Menopause'?

Male menopause, or andropause as it's also known, occurs when a man’s testosterone levels fall, resulting in symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, depression, sexual health problems and mood changes. According to Dr Alexis Missick, a GP working with the online pharmaceutical company UK Meds, the majority of men who are experiencing male menopause will also experience low libido and may not be able to maintain a strong erection.

The difference between the male and female menopause is that with the female menopause, estrogen production stops completely. With male menopause, however, there's a slower, more gradual decline of testosterone. The lack of a sudden drop in the sex hormone is one of the reasons the term 'male menopause' is derided and thought of by some commentators as 'unhelpful'.

Men's testosterone levels naturally fall by about 1% a year from around the age of 30 to 40, while lifestyle and psychological factors can also contribute to the symptoms associated with male menopause.

Behaviours like excessive alcohol consumption, a poor diet and smoking are all known contributors, as are psychological conditions like stress, depression and anxiety. As the NHS website states, 'in many cases the symptoms are nothing to do with hormones.'

How to Treat Male Menopause?

Any man experiencing the symptoms of male menopause should visit their GP, who will first check whether the condition is linked to any lifestyle or mental health issues.

If that's not the case, a blood test may be ordered to check the need for testosterone replacement therapy, which can be administered in the form of injections, patches, creams, gels or pills.

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