How do I know anything about managing stress and low testosterone, you ask? Well, the answer is I have low testosterone and have been
taking Zoloft for stress related depression for many years. Because I have both issues, I have done a ton of research over the years on how to manage both. The goal is to eventually get off all medications and control my stress and increase my Low T.
Are you feeling anxious, depressed and stressed? There are always a lot of pressures in your life. It turns out that many of these pressures can manifest in many physical ways, including low testosterone.
So, let’s talk about how we can manage both low testosterone and stress.
How are Stress and Low Testosterone Related?
If you have been around for a while and have been paying attention to life in general, you are probably already aware that stress is not good for your health. What you may not know is that stress can have a negative impact on your hormones. This specifically affects the testosterone
that gives men their obvious male characteristics, like muscle mass, body hair, and a deep voice. OK, my voice isn’t that deep, but I am pretty sure I am still a male.
According to S. Adam Ramin, MD, a urologist and medical director of Urology Cancer Specialists in Los Angeles, “Stress can cause lower testosterone levels and then turn into a vicious cycle — the lower testosterone level can cause stress, which can cause testosterone numbers to drop even lower”.
Stress has several side effects. Two of them are, lack of motivation to exercise and poor quality of sleep. These can contribute to lower-than-normal testosterone levels.
Of course, the inverse is also true. Managing your stress levels can help improve many of the symptoms of low testosterone. Studies have shown, lowering stress can help improve sexual function, decrease moodiness, and help men get a better night’s sleep.
The physical or physiological connection between stress and low testosterone is not fully understood. All the medical research I did, showed it is thought that there are probably certain brain chemicals we secrete in response to stress, which then go to the part of the brain that
controls testosterone production.
Since stress and low testosterone are both physically and physiologically intertwined, they share some of the same symptoms. The most common are feeling sluggish and tired. This is usually directly related to being ‘old and fat’ according to most men. Other symptoms that are widespread with both low testosterone and stress including depression, loss of sex drive, and erectile dysfunction. Unfortunately, I can corroborate all of these.
How then, do we cope with both stress and low testosterone? Continue reading to find out.
Dealing with Low Testosterone and Stress – Don’t Give Up!
Any male can develop low testosterone, but you are clearly at a much higher risk if you are older, overweight, and under a lot of stress. Great, what is a guy who is very stressed out all the time and also suspects he has low testosterone supposed to do?
I hate to say it but you need to “See your doctor“. You should start with your primary care physician, who will most likely refer you to a urologist or endocrinologist. Mine sent me to an endocrinologist, who is amazing. The specialist will review your symptoms and, assuming they are consistent with low testosterone, they will order a comprehensive blood test to check your hormone levels.
Normal testosterone levels vary by your age, but usually fall in the range of 300 to 1,000 ng/dL. If you are in the range of 300 to 400 or are at the low end of normal based on your age, you are considered to have low T. If you are anything below 150, that would be considered very low. If you are in the ‘very low’ range, you could also develop less common symptoms like anemia, osteoporosis, depression, and confusion. Oops, I thought confusion was just part of getting older 🙂
Other blood tests may include those for precursor hormones to testosterone, including prolactin, luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating
hormone, and thyroid hormones, according to my endocrinologist. If all those levels come back normal, you have healthy hormones, including testosterone, and your symptoms are probably due purely to stress.
If it turns out your testosterone levels are low, you should start with lifestyle changes to manage the symptoms of low testosterone. Here is a list of things I have found help with both low testosterone and stress management:
- You can and should, Lose weight. Body fat increases estrogen, and when estrogen is too high in males, that leads to less testosterone production. Stress can also cause men to exercise less and eat more fattening foods. Less proper exercise only increases the chance of low testosterone. When you lose weight, the process reverses, and testosterone levels tend to go back up, and of course you will most likely be less stressed if you are in good shape.
- You Must Get enough sleep. If you are under a lot of stress your are not going to get enough sleep, with all the garbage running through your head, and lack of sleep is known to lead to low testosterone. However, getting the right amount of sleep, can cause those levels to go back up. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults ages 26 to 64 get seven to nine hours of sleep a night and that those over 65 get seven to eight hours. Please people, get enough sleep. Your body and your mind will thank you for it.
- You can make changes in your diet. To help boost your testosterone, you should go for a high-protein, low-fat diet. Please check out my articles on Foods that DECREASE your testosterone and Foods that INCREASE your testosterone. They both have a ton of important information of the foods you should and should not eat, related to testosterone production. Basically, make sure to limit certain foods — such as those high in refined sugars, salt, and saturated and trans fats — that can elevate triglycerides, cholesterol, and fatty acids.
- Exercise Regularly. Regular cardiovascular exercise releases endorphins, which can reduce stress. It is recommended that you get 30 to 45 minutes of cardiovascular exercise, such as running, swimming, or biking, three to four times a week. But, it is very important that you add strength training — which builds muscles. Lifting heavy weights and building muscle, helps boost testosterone levels.
- Learn a few Breathing Techniques. Simple breathing techniques can instantly lower your stress level. All you need to do is take a deep breath through your nose and into your belly, hold it for a few seconds, and then let it out over a ten-second period. Repeat this a few times to calm your body and mind, any time you feel anxiety or stress. I actually learned this while studying martial arts and meditation. It really works!
- Make time for YOU. Every day you should do whatever works for you to get their head together, whether it is exercise, a massage, listening to music, yoga, watching your favorite show on TV, or maybe a walk. Even if it means getting up earlier, it is important to have this time for yourself.
- You can Consider Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT). Testosterone replacement therapy can help return testosterone to a normal level and may help relieve some of the symptoms of low testosterone. However, TRT is not the right choice for everyone and may cause side effects, including increased risk of heart attacks, blood clots, and stroke. Talk to your doctor about whether TRT is right for you and make sure you are aware of all the side effects for your particular situation. This is not on the top of my list! I don’t like the list of side effects.
You can Manage Your Stress and Low Testosterone.
As you have just read, stress and low testosterone share many symptoms and may be linked by the stress hormone cortisol. There is evidence that high levels of cortisol can cause lower testosterone. On the other hand, there is not much evidence that taking testosterone will reduce stress or that reducing stress will elevate testosterone. It is clear that reducing stress with healthy lifestyle changes is always a good idea, and it may even increase you testosterone level and improve your sex life. Sounds good to me!
One way I have found to relieve stress, is to stop worrying about Low T. So, I don’t. I eat better and exercise regularly. I have lost weight and have more to go. The main thing is to take care of yourself and never ever give up!
Best of Luck and feel free to add your comments and questions below and I will absolutely respond.