THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TESTOSTERONE AND DEPRESSION
Depression, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), occurs when a person experiences, among other symptoms and patterns, a depressed mood (feeling sad, irritable, empty) or a loss of pleasure or interest in activities for most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks. Depression is so common that approximately 280 million people in the world have depression. Research has found a significant inverse correlation between testosterone levels and depressive symptoms, such that depression scores were lower with increased testosterone levels. Fortunately, there are treatments for low testosterone levels that can help your depression. In this blog post, we will explain what testosterone is, its relationship with depression, the available treatment and whether you should get it.
WHAT IS TESTOSTERONE?
Testosterone is primarily a male sex hormone that is generated in men’s testicles. Despite being categorized as a male hormone, testosterone is also produced by women but at a lesser level than by men. It controls fertility, muscle mass, fat distribution, the synthesis of red blood cells, and sex drive. High or low testosterone levels can cause dysfunction in regions of the body that are normally regulated by the hormone.
Your physical and emotional health may alter as a result of low testosterone. Your sexual desire and function can be the most significant difference. Men with low T frequently experience a considerable decline in sex drive. You might discover that getting and maintaining erections is harder, or you might encounter infertility.
The strength of the bones and muscles is another function of testosterone. You might gain weight when your hormone levels rise, and you’ll probably lose muscle and bone mass. You may be more susceptible to heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis as a result of these changes.
Low T can affect men of any age, but it tends to affect older people more frequently.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LOW TESTOSTERONE AND DEPRESSION
Diagnoses might be challenging because low T and depression share many symptoms. Complicating matters further, melancholy, memory problems, and anxiety are all typical aging symptoms.
Low T and depression both share the same symptoms including:
- low sex drive
- trouble concentrating
- memory problems
- sleep problems
However, there are usually differences between the physical signs of depression and low testosterone. Low T symptoms like swollen breasts and weakened muscles are typically not seen by people with depression who also have normal hormone levels.
Headaches and back discomfort are two of the most frequent physical signs of depression.
If you want to know if your testosterone levels are healthy or if you have androgen deficit, a physical examination and blood tests can help.
CAN LOW TESTOSTERONE LEVEL LEAD TO DEPRESSION?
Kheirkhah F et al. in the study of the relationship between testosterone levels and depressive symptoms in older men, concluded that men with depressive symptoms had lower total testosterone levels than those without depressive symptoms. A significant inverse correlation was found between testosterone levels and depressive symptoms such that depression scores were lower with increased testosterone levels.
Men are not the only ones who may experience depression when their essential hormone levels drop. According to one study, women with low T frequently develop depression. Women who are in perimenopause or who have completed menopause are the ones who are diagnosed with and treated for low female testosterone.
Researchers haven’t quite figured out how low testosterone causes depression, but it may have something to do with the function testosterone serves in making you feel good. Although there is an inverse relationship between testosterone levels and depressive symptoms, this relationship is not causal. Dopamine, a chemical in your brain that is responsible for your emotions of pleasure, is released more readily when testosterone is present.
Additionally, there might be a link between testosterone levels and serotonin’s role in the body. Depression symptoms are associated with a drop in serotonin levels in the brain. The reuptake of serotonin in the brain, which increases brain activity and elevates mood, may be facilitated by testosterone.
Additionally, testosterone may have anti-anxiety properties, according to researchers.
CAN TESTOSTERONE THERAPY HELP TREAT DEPRESSION?
Testosterone’s function transcends just reproduction. Your body produces red blood cells and keeps bone and muscle mass by using testosterone, which also controls sex drive and how much body fat is distributed. Additionally, we are aware that testosterone, like other sex hormones, has an effect on the brain’s cognitive function and psychological health. More specifically, low levels of testosterone may interfere with healthy brain function, perhaps causing or exacerbating depression in some men, while adequate levels help support healthy brain function.
The majority of the existing data supports testosterone’s antidepressant properties, however, the mechanism underlying this effect is yet unknown. The regions of the brain that alter most in those who experience severe depression include the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, and amygdala, and testosterone may have an impact on these regions. The body’s normal synthesis of substances like serotonin and cortisol, which support mood regulation, may be impacted by testosterone.
Whatever the method, bringing testosterone levels back to normal by HRT may aid with depression relief by bringing the brain to a healthy state. TRT may even be used as a stand-alone therapy for hypogonadal males with moderate depression, while it may also be an effective augmentation therapy for individuals with significant depression, according to a study.
HOW TESTOSTERONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY WORKS
Many different types of Testosterone Replacement Therapy(TRT) are available. It is best to consult with a board-certified healthcare professional who specializes in hormone replacement treatment to determine which is best for you. To give you the best care possible, your doctor will take the time to thoroughly review your symptoms and medical background. The appropriate tests will be run to determine the hormone levels in your blood, saliva, or urine.
You’ll then be able to decide which preparation suits you the most. Depending on the individual’s tastes and circumstances, testosterone replacement therapy is available as gels, creams, pellets, and injections. Each has advantages and disadvantages. An experienced practitioner will outline the advantages of each of these treatments and assist you in selecting the one that is best for you. Additionally, they will choose the treatment plan that will work best for you and the dose that is right for your body.
Your hormone levels will be checked often throughout your therapy to make sure your body is reacting well to the medicine. Your healthcare provider will also assist you in minimizing any adverse effects you might encounter, which are typically minor and disappear on their own after the first few weeks. The most frequent adverse reactions are oily skin, acne, reduced sperm and testicular size, increased red blood cell count, and minor fluid retention.
More serious concerns may be related to hormone replacement therapy. You may make sure you are informed of the potential hazards involved with this potentially life-changing therapy by working with a highly qualified hormone health practitioner.
SHOULD YOU GET TESTOSTERONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY FOR DEPRESSION?
TRT might not be right for everyone, and the precise part it plays in treating depression depends on the circumstances of each person. It’s critical to seek comprehensive care from mental health professionals if you’re experiencing depression. This care may include psychotherapy, psychotropic medication, and instruction in self-care. TRT, however, may not only be beneficial but also essential for restoring both physical and psychological wellness in persons with low testosterone levels.
Many men go straight to their family doctor for treatment of low testosterone. Though it’s a good place to start, it’s possible that your basic care physician lacks the necessary expertise in the area of hormone health. Because of this, we always advise consulting a professional, such as a doctor from HRT Doctors Group.
A potent mix of bioidentical hormone drugs and lifestyle coaching is used by the experts at HRT Doctors Group to assist men and women manage the symptoms of hormone imbalance. Importantly, these hormone health specialists may collaborate with your mental health team to help you find a solution to your problems that makes sense for you. You may move forward toward a happier and more fulfilled life if you have a thorough, personalized treatment plan in place.
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Kheirkhah F, Hosseini SR, Hosseini SF, Ghasemi N, Bijani A, G Cumming R. Relationship between testosterone levels and depressive symptoms in older men in Amirkola, Iran. Caspian J Intern Med. 2014;5(2):65-70.
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World Health Organization. (2021, September 13). Depression. World Health Organization. Retrieved August 17, 2022, from https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression