About 20% of men over 60 would suffer from hot flashes, similar to the flashes of a woman in menopause. Typical are bouts of sweating and sometimes a striking red face.
The cause is an abnormally sharp decrease in the male sex hormone testosterone. Normally, the production of sex hormones in men continues into old age. The decrease in testosterone levels is very gradual, but in some men this would be quite abrupt. When there is effectively a significantly reduced testosterone level (which can be detected by a blood test), doctors talk of a ‘low testosterone syndrome’ or ‘endocrine syndrome’.
In addition to hot flashes, there are usually other phenomena, such as:
- reduced vitality and muscle strength
- fatigue, concentration problems
- reduces libido
- erection problems (weak erection, short erection)
- weight gain
If a blood test shows that there is a significant deficiency of testosterone, hormone therapy could be a viable remedy. However, administering extra testosterone can have all kinds of side effects such as: developing breast tissue, retaining fluid in the tissues. In addition, it may increase the risk of prostate cancer.
Another possible cause of hot flashes is the overproduction of vasodilators. This usually indicates an underlying condition (such as colon cancer); a doctor’s examination is always appropriate, especially when other symptoms occur, such as diarrhea.
Other cancers (such as breast and prostate cancer) and cancer treatments that disrupt testosterone production can also cause hot flashes.
If you suffer from hot flashes, it is therefore advisable to talk to your doctor about this.