Originally published: 31.JAN.2019
Last updated: 26.OCT.2023
Think of testosterone and you might think of strength, muscle mass, and sex drive. And while they’re both important functions, testosterone plays a crucial role in many other bodily functions; including regulating mood and emotions. That means when testosterone levels begin to shift, it can sometimes have an impact on mood, potentially leading to low mood and/or irritability.
Read on for everything you need to know about low testosterone and low mood, including the role testosterone plays in emotions, and how you can check in on your testosterone levels with LetsGetChecked.
- What is Testosterone?
- How Can You Tell if You Have Low Testosterone?
- Why Does Low Testosterone Cause Low Mood?
- How Can You Combat Low Testosterone?
- Can You Improve Low Mood?
- How to Check Your Testosterone Levels
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is the primary male sexual hormone. It is also produced in women, however in lesser amounts. Testosterone plays several important roles throughout different life stages, during puberty in young men:
- Regulates male sexual characteristics
- Stimulates the growth of the Adam’s apple (lowering or ‘breaking’ of the voice)
- Growth of reproductive organs
- Production of sperm
Following puberty, testosterone plays many other roles in men including:
- Muscle mass distribution
- Red blood cell production
- Bone density
- Regulate sex drive
- Regulate mood
How Can You Tell if You Have Low Testosterone?
In some men, testosterone levels can remain high throughout life however for many, testosterone levels will begin to decline from the age of 30-40. Unlike menopause in women, this decline is slow and gradual.
As well as aging, there are other potential causes of low testosterone, including:
- Injury or infection of the testicles
- Chemotherapy or radiation therapy
- Klinefelter's syndrome
- Performance-enhancing drugs such as anabolic steroids
- Dysfunction of the pituitary gland
- Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- A family history of low testosterone
Some symptoms associated with low testosterone levels include:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Low sex drive or libido
- Fertility issues
- Brain fog
- Mood changes
The most reliable way to know your testosterone levels is with a testosterone lab test. This can be done with your healthcare provider or you can take a sample from home with LetsGetChecked’s range of Male Hormone Testing options.
Related article: Do Testosterone Boosters Work?
Why Does Low Testosterone Cause Low Mood?
Low testosterone has been said to cause Irritable Male Syndrome (IMS), a behavioral state of nervousness, irritability, lethargy, and depression that occurs in adult male mammals following withdrawal of testosterone . And although there is not one straightforward reason found for this, experts do recognize a link between low testosterone and shifts in mood.
There are several possible reasons for this connection:
Fatigue: One of the symptoms associated with low testosterone is fatigue. This can impact overall mood and create anxious states of mind. It can also influence cravings for unhealthy foods that offer a short-term energy hit.
Weight fluctuation: Another common symptom of low testosterone is weight gain. It is not fully understood if weight gain causes low mood or depression or vice versa but numerous studies have shown that they are both intrinsically linked in influencing one another ,.
Low sex drive/libido: With age, it is natural to notice a decline in sex drive as testosterone levels slowly decline. However, this can still be a source of anxiety for many men which may lead to low mood or depression.
Serotonin production: Testosterone may be associated with promoting higher levels of serotonin - a chemical in the brain associated with good mood and happiness. If you are experiencing low testosterone levels, a lack of serotonin may cause low mood or anxiety .
Low testosterone levels and low mood are intrinsically linked and can have similar symptoms. That’s why it’s important to consider speaking with an expert to find out more about the underlying cause of your symptoms and feelings.
Related article: Foods That Kill Testosterone: Do They Exist?
How Can You Combat Low Testosterone?
There are a myriad of reasons why you may be diagnosed with low testosterone, some are related to chronic health conditions, and others are connected to lifestyle factors that can be adjusted.
It is important to understand what causes low testosterone before you can understand how to combat the condition either physically or emotionally. This means that treatment will depend on the underlying cause, but it’s important to know that in the majority of cases, it can be treated successfully.
Can You Improve Low Mood?
There are many things that you can do to help improve your mood and take steps toward feeling like yourself again. The following four lifestyle adjustments can potentially help boost your mood and balance hormonal health:
Talk it out: Go for lunch in your favorite cafe or take a walk in the local park - whatever it is you decide to do, don’t do it alone! Use these opportunities to reach out to friends, family, and loved ones and open up. You will be surprised how much better you will feel after talking with someone you trust.
Get physical: Regular physical activity can not only help boost serotonin production in the body, it can help reduce stress and even promote hormonal balance. You don’t need to try something drastic - simply opt for your favorite form of movement.
Follow a balanced diet: Your diet can not only impact your mental health but your hormone health too. Make sure to follow a diet that’s balanced and packed with the nutrients your body needs to feel its best.
Get good quality sleep: Try your best to get a full night of good quality sleep each evening. If you are struggling to fall asleep, try out some deep breathing exercises or short meditation practices before bed.
Low mood should not stick around for long, if it does, it’s important to speak with someone you trust. If a low mood affects your day-to-day life or causes you distress, speak with an expert about your feelings.
Related article: Why am I so Tired? 6 Common Causes of Fatigue
How to Check Your Testosterone Levels
The most reliable way to know your testosterone levels is with a lab test. You can do this with your local doctor or with LetsGetChecked’s range of Male Hormone Testing options.
Our testing range can help you get a fully comprehensive view of your hormonal health and expose any imbalances that may be holding you back. Testosterone levels can be examined by a small blood sample, with online results available within 2-5 days.
You should consider taking a male hormone test if:
- You are interested in learning more about your hormones
- You suffer from chronic stress
- You constantly feel run down
- You are body-building competitively
- You have previously taken anabolic steroids
- You are obese
- You have a family history of low testosterone
- You suffer from thyroid issues
- National Library of Medicine. The irritable male syndrome. Online: Pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. Depression, emotional eating and long-term weight changes: a population-based prospective study. Online: ijbnpa.biomedcentral.com
- National Library of Medicine. Obesity and Weight Gain in Relation to Depression: Findings from the Stirling County Study. Online: Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- JAMA Psychiatry. Association of Testosterone Treatment With Alleviation of Depressive Symptoms in Men. Online: Jamanetwork.com