A conference was held on12 March in Cairo to discuss the different aspects of testosterone deficiency in men, which is the leading cause of sexual dysfunction, and shed light on the latest treatment introduced to Egypt.
According to WHO statistics, 152 million men worldwide are affected by hypogonadism (testosterone deficiency).
Regarding the latest breakthrough in treatment to Cairo, the panel shed light on the new long-acting hormone therapy injection introduced recently, overcoming the inefficiencies of previous alternatives.
The conference was led by Andrology professors from Egypt and the United Kingdom representing the Egyptian Society of Andrology and the Arab Association for Sexual Health.
Not a disease
Dr Mohamed Farid, head of the Andrology Department at Cairo University stressed that it is wrong to refer to these cases as a disease.
"It is a physiological symptom that is most likely to occur gradually after a man reaches a certain age, similar to menopause in women," he said.
Farid explained that one of hypogonadism’s main causes is natural ageing, where testosterone levels drop at a rate of 1% annually after the age of 30.
He listed the symptoms of hypogonadism as follows:
• Loss of libido and erectile dysfunction
• sleep disruption
• general physical weakness
• weak muscles
• obesity and belly fat accumulation
• body hair loss
• low bone density
Panel on treatment of Hypogonadism in Egypt
Dr. Bahgat Metawee, Prof. of Andrology and Genito-Urethral surgery at Cairo University explains the natural cycle of this major hormone in men.
“The testosterone hormone in men goes through 3 different phases. The first occurs during fetal development, where testosterone is responsible for the development of the reproductive organs.
"The second phase covers puberty (ages 14 to 20), with the hormone regulating all changes taking place during that period, including bone and muscle building as well as sexual drive and capacity.
"During the 3rdphase - at around age 40 - some men may experience a significant drop in testosterone levels, with an ongoing decrease that can reach up to 30% or 40% by the age of 60.
"In such cases, and after ascertaining prostate health and measuring blood testosterone levels, it is recommended to use long-acting testosterone injections as a safe treatment option,” he concludes.
Metawee stressed that the previous treatment methods had side effects and inefficiencies.
“Testosterone replacement therapy is the main treatment and is available in various medical products, but unfortunately, each had its own problem," he said.
"Using tablets is not optimal as the drug is not fully absorbed, dermal testosterone ointment causes skin irritation, and intramuscular injections taken every one to three weeks may cause testosterone levels to fluctuate thereby undermining efficacy."
He added that the good news about the latest testosterone long-acting injections is its ability to sustain consistent hormone levels, with a testosterone injection required once every 3 months only.
Current international guidelines for men worldwide were highlighted by Dr Geoffrey Hackett, professor of Urology and Sexual Medicine Consultant at the University of Bedfordshire in London, UK.
“Men with type 2 diabetes, morbid obesity or sexual dysfunction, as well as those taking chronic painkillers, should be routinely screened for low testosterone and offered treatment when low levels are found," he said.
The latest statistics show that hypogonadism is the most common cause of Erectile Dysfunction (ED) affects nearly 152 million men worldwide, or around 16% (1 in 6) men aged between 20 and 75, and that ED rates are expected to rise to 322 million cases in 2025.
Despite the widespread incidence of the disease, the latest statistics also show that only about 15%-20% of ED cases are treated.
"Men suffering from ED may experience a loss of self-respect and self-worth, in addition to tension in interpersonal relationships. 25% of men suffering from ED have reported feelings of anxiety and depression," says Dr Mohamed Farid.