Hot flushes are as common in castrated men as in menopausal women. We investigated whether hot flushes exist in a normal aging male population and to what extent.
A questionnaire was sent to all men living in Linköping, Sweden, who were 55, 65, and 75 years old (N = 1,885). The questionnaire asked for demographic data, medical history, mood status, medication, castrational therapy, and smoking, exercise, and alcohol habits, among other items. We asked specifically for current hot flushes unrelated to exercise or a warm environment.
Of the questionnaires received, 1,381 were eligible for evaluation; 33 were analyzed separately because these men had been castrated. Hot flushes of any frequency were reported by 33.1% of noncastrated men, 4.3% reported flushes at least a few times per week, and 1.3% reported daily flushes. Half of the men reporting flushes were also bothered by them, ie, almost every sixth man in total. We found a relation between occurrence of hot flushes and other symptoms thought to be related to low testosterone concentration, such as decreased muscle strength or endurance, decreased enjoyment of life, sadness or grumpiness, and lack of energy (P < 0.05).
Hot flushes occur in one third of a population of noncastrated older men, approximately half of whom consider flushes as bothersome. Neither the mechanisms nor whether the symptoms would respond to testosterone supplementation is known. Androgen substitution to treat symptoms possibly related to a male climacteric is still controversial. Studies are needed to evaluate the needs for and the effects of androgen treatment on vasomotor symptoms.