One of the most important things involving men’s health is their level of testosterone. Men with low testosterone can experience a variety of health issues including poor sexual function, increased fatigue, lower bone mass as well as depression and more. A recent study showed the majority of men with borderline or low testosterone have a greater chance of developing depression.
Low Testosterone Causes
It is the testicles in a man’s body that produces testosterone. A male can produce low amounts of testosterone from an injury. It can also result from some forms of cancer treatment, an elevated level of iron in the blood, a severe case of mumps and more. Decreases in testosterone levels also result from normal aging. Obesity as well as using opiate medications can cause a male’s testosterone level to decrease.
Borderline Testosterone Levels
Research shows that males who seek treatment for borderline testosterone levels often are depressed, obese and have a lack of desire for physical activity. A study examined over 190 men with ages ranging from their 20s to their late 70s. All of them had been diagnosed with borderline testosterone levels. Approximately 55 percent of these males were diagnosed with having symptoms of depression. Many were prescribed antidepressants. More than 38 percent of these males were overweight. Over 39 percent were diagnosed as obese and over half engaged in no exercise beyond regular walking.
A man can experience low testosterone at any age. It is more common with older men. Cognitive difficulties, anxiety, as well as depression, are common symptoms of aging. It is these common aging symptoms that make diagnosing older men’s symptoms a challenge. Physicians recommend that if an older male is depressed, irritable or just not their usual self, it’s important they see a physician immediately.
Research results were published in 2004 from a study that involved over 277 male participants. They were all in their late 40s. The study lasted for a four-year period. It showed that men with low levels of testosterone had a four times greater chance of developing clinical depression when compared to men with healthy testosterone levels. Researchers believe the depression associated with low testosterone is directly connected with a man’s mood. It’s possible low testosterone directly affects their natural levels of the hormone serotonin, the hormone that regulates a person’s mood. As men get older, their body’s ability to absorb serotonin decreases.
As long as 50 years ago men were given testosterone replacement therapy for depression. When antidepressant drugs were made readily available, this form of depression treatment was abandoned. New research suggests testosterone replacement therapy may be more effective than antidepressant drugs. Initially, hormone replacement was given as an injection. It now can be administered with a skin patch. Research published by American Journal of Psychiatry confirms this theory. A study of 22 depressed males was involved. Half were given antidepressant drugs and the other testosterone replacement therapy. After eight weeks, a third of the men who received testosterone replacement therapy showed dramatic signs of improvement.