At a recent ALFED health and safety meeting, the subject of accommodating women going through the menopause at work was brought up, which sparked a conversation about the effects of the decline in testosterone in men, and the lack of knowledge, understanding, medical help and support for men as this natural drop occurs.

Understanding and Addressing the Effects of Falling Testosterone Levels in Men - The Aluminium Federation

Testosterone levels in men (and some transgender and non-binary people) gradually decline from the mid-30s, with a more noticeable decline from about age 50. This is a natural decline as part of the aging process, but other conditions such as stress, lack of sleep, diet and lack of exercise can also result in low testosterone.

Symptoms of the low testosterone include low energy levels, poor concentration, memory loss, mood swings, erectile dysfunction and low libido whilst long term effects could include poor mental health, obesity, coronary artery disease, infertility, reduced muscle mass and reduced bone density which may lead to osteoporosis.

Overall, the effects of low testosterone can prevent people bringing their best and full selves to work and can be a real threat to workplace productivity, yet how many employers recognise this and are proactively taking steps to recognise the condition and support their employees? Does your organisation give the same attention to low testosterone as it does to the menopause?

Understanding the implications of low testosterone and including it in your wellbeing agenda could boost engagement and productivity and reduce absence from fatigue or long-term sickness.

How can we do this?

  • Focus on low testosterone as part of your health awareness strategy, to help people recognise the signs, symptoms and potential risks of low testosterone. This can be done through events, guest presenters or providing literature as a specific topic or as part of wider Health Awareness campaigns.
  • Signpost employees to healthcare professionals for testing or to self-testing kits. A simple blood test can determine testosterone levels, and healthcare providers can offer guidance on appropriate treatment options if necessary.
  • Have discussions around low testosterone, offering confidential specialist support (including psychological support) through your Employee Assistance Programme, or other local healthcare experts.
  • Promote a healthy lifestyle; changes such as diet, exercise, sleep, and work-life balance can have a huge impact on testosterone levels.

Falling testosterone levels in men are a natural part of the aging process, but they can have significant implications for health and well-being if left unidentified and unaddressed. By understanding the effects of declining testosterone levels and taking proactive steps to address them, employers can help employees maintain optimal health and vitality as they age.

The menopause has received a huge amount of attention over the past few years and people are speaking about it far more openly, which can only be a good thing. There are mountains of on-line help and support resources (a simple Google search returned over 137 million results!), alongside of course, face to face help from medical practitioners, consultants, support groups etc. Employers are now starting to include menopause in sickness and flexible working policies, alongside discussing potential adjustments with their affected staff, that could help the individual feel more comfortable and therefore maintain their performance.

Let’s start giving low testosterone the same attention as the menopause in the workplace, breaking down barriers, removing any stigma or embarrassment for those affected and providing the support they need.

For more information about ALFED, or to become a member, please visit: www.alfed.org.uk.

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