A GP from Dundee is about to start the onerous task of trying to improve the sex drives of men across the country.
Beren Hollins is to head up three clinics where the growing problem of testosterone deficiency can be treated.
It is estimated 20 per cent of Scottish men over the age of 50 suffer from the condition although it is increasingly being found in younger generations – Robbie Williams has had testosterone replacement therapy.
As well as reducing libido, the condition makes men prone to mood swings and depression, reducing overall quality of life.
Dr Hollins is to oversee a network of Scottish Centres for Men’s Health in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
Despite being available on the NHS, only 1 per cent of the Scots men who could benefit from testosterone replacement therapy actually receive it, a shortfall the private clinics hope to make up.
In the clinics, men receive a full medical covering all aspects of their health and if testosterone deficiency is detected a course of treatment is advised. This can take the form of injections but also a gel, which is rubbed on the shoulder.
Dr Hollins said: “We see so many of these men every day in practice and for the majority of my colleagues it wouldn’t occur to them that they had testosterone deficiency. We are starting off at a level of massive ignorance; there is a huge amount of education to be done to raise awareness.”
The health issues which blight Scotland obesity, heart disease and a relative low life expectancy compared to other Western countries are all linked to a lack of testosterone, he said.
Although one of its most obvious manifestations is in libido, testosterone deficiency is not just about sex drive, according to Dr Hollins.
He said: “When you work as a doctor in Scotland you can’t help but be struck by the comparisons of health outcomes for men compared to the rest of Britain. Unfortunately, it is not a terribly healthy nation.
“When you become aware that a lot of the symptoms these men have are very much the symptoms of testosterone deficiency, suddenly you start to look at it in a different way. Could we preventing this health burden Scotland has with the use of testosterone?”
Dr Hollins insists testosterone replacement therapy is no Hollywood-style fad and can actually help reduce the wider health problems of the country.
He said: “The lack of testosterone seems to be so much a part of the beginning of so many of the health problems; the diabetes, the heart disease, blood pressure etc.
“We can delay these things becoming a problem or avoid them altogether with the use of testosterone. We can help this ageing population become a healthier population.
“Sex drive is one of the ways we can tell that it is there but it is a much bigger issue than that.”
Dr Hollins said a key issue to be overcome is persuading men – traditionally reticent to talk to their doctor about any matter, never mind something sexual – to come forward.
He added: “Once they start talking the embarrassment goes away, and rightly so.”