Depression is common in the United States. In fact, 6.7% of the US adult population in a given year suffers from major depressive disorder.
But what if your depression isn’t caused by the same factors that can cause major depressive disorder? What if, instead, your depression is because of a low testosterone level?
Low testosterone depression can wreak havoc on a person and may contribute to issues in all areas of a person’s life.
How can you deal with testosterone levels that are too low and causing depression? Here’s more information that may help you moving forward.
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is the hormone that is associated most commonly with men. This is because it is a hormone that helps them develop deeper voices, more muscular builds, and facial or body hair. It also contributes to red blood cell production in the body, helps to boost mood, and assists with thought processes.
As you can guess, it is important for men to have normal testosterone levels in order to function to the best of their ability.
Testosterone levels in men will continue to increase until early adulthood years and will remain high until about their 40s. After this, levels start to decline gradually in small amounts.
As a man gets into his 50s, he may start to notice signs or symptoms of lower testosterone. These include:
- Change in sexual desire
- Inability to get an erection
- Depression or anxiety
- Less muscle mass
- Hot flashes
- Weight gain
Falling testosterone levels are completely normal and happen to every man as he gets older. There are certain things that cause the decline to happen faster, such as chronic illness, stress, or alcoholism, but it is inevitable for every human male.
How to Tell if You Have Low Testosterone
Doctors will be able to determine your testosterone levels based on several factors, including a physical exam, symptom review, and blood tests.
You likely will need to undergo multiple blood tests on different days since your levels will fluctuate and need to be monitored for the most accurate assumption.
If your doctor agrees that you have low testosterone, you may need more tests before deciding on what to do next. For instance, if you have low testosterone, you may also have low bone density and the doctor will need to test for that as well.
Another concern to worry about in men is prostate cancer because testosterone can make it grow much faster in the body. If you have prostate cancer and also have low testosterone, adding more testosterone to supplement your low levels may cause cancer to become worse.
Low Testosterone Depression: Is It a Diagnosis?
The short answer is yes. If a doctor finds that your testosterone levels are low after testing, you will be diagnosed as having low testosterone. If you have depressive symptoms as a result of the low testosterone, you may be diagnosed with low testosterone depression.
Clinical depression can be diagnosed by a variety of people, so talk with your doctor about what your options are. If you are feeling depressive symptoms, you should try to get help sooner rather than later.
Early intervention and treatment are important if you are facing depression affecting work or family life, as well as any other aspect of your life.
Get Help Now
After you are diagnosed with low testosterone depression, improving your testosterone levels safely may be the best route to take. Again, your doctor may have other input, but for the majority of men, this is the best option.
Therapy is not always the first thing to try. There may be lifestyle choices you have made that cause your testosterone levels to be low, including weight gain or a specific type of medicine, so these need to be addressed first.
If therapy is the way to go, there are different methods that you will want to consider.
You could apply the skin patch every day in the evening and it releases the testosterone hormone into your skin. In addition, you could spread gels onto the skin along the arms, shoulders, or thighs. This is another way of getting testosterone into the body through the skin.
You can take testosterone by mouth if it is attached to your gum or inner cheek two times a day. It is absorbed into the blood this way.
Pellets of testosterone can be implanted into your skin and slowly release the testosterone. This can be useful because once it is implanted, you don’t need to worry about it until it is time to replace it after a few months.
Lastly, injections of testosterone are another option. These are weekly or bi-weekly injections and you may find that your levels are really high after the injection and slowly go down as time passes before the next one.
You will likely start to feel your symptoms get better after four to six weeks. Changes in your muscle mass will take a bit longer, but come with time.
Dealing with Low Testosterone and Depressive Symptoms
Low testosterone depression can take a toll on a person’s life, but it is definitely treatable. You can do things to help your testosterone levels rise back to a normal level.
Talk with your doctor if you feel like you might have low testosterone and it is impacting your mood or thought processes. You may find that there are solutions out there to make you feel better in no time!
If you’d like to learn about some of the other ways you can boost your testosterone levels, consider checking out our post to give you some helpful tips.
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