Testosterone deficiency is one of the undiagnosed causes for depression in men.
Testosterone is known as the 'male' hormone, the hormone that gives assertiveness, sex drive, and mental and physical energy. It also helps maintain muscle and bone growth. When there's a testosterone deficiency not enough testosterone is produced to meet the body's needs. It's common to hear people joke about men with 'too much testosterone' as being over aggressive and assertive. And while too much testosterone can be a problem, low testosterone also brings along issues. These issues are both physical and mental.
Testosterone deficiency symptoms include increased body fat (obesity), decreased muscle mass and strength, erectile dysfunction and lowered sex drive. Another major sign of this hormone deficiency includes psychological changes including depression, fatigue, reduced assertiveness, poor memory and lowered self-esteem.
Recent scientific studies reveal that men with depression are nearly three times more likely to have low testosterone levels than men without depression. In addition, aging men with low testosterone levels are five times more likely to have symptoms of depression than men with normal testosterone.
The following questionnaire can be used as a screening tool for a testosterone deficiency.
- Do you have a lack of energy?
- Do you have a decrease in strength, endurance, or both?
- Do you have loss in height?
- Have you noticed a decrease in enjoyment in life?
- Are you sad, grumpy, and/or irritable?
- Have you noticed a recent deterioration in your ability to play sports?
- Are you falling asleep after dinner?
- Has there been a recent deterioration in your work performance?
- Do you have a decrease in libido?
- Are your erections less strong?
If you answer yes to more than half of these questions, then it may indicate that your testosterone levels are low.
As men go through the natural aging process they experience a decrease in testosterone at a rate of ten percent, per decade from the age of thirty. It has been shown that thirty percent of men after the age of fifty-five have a testosterone deficiency.
Because these hormone levels decline with age, it is often misinterpreted that the symptoms of a testosterone deficiency i.e. "depression, muscle loss, memory loss, lower sex drive", are just a normal part of the aging process. And although it is part of the aging process, you simply don't have to put up with the associated negative feelings and physical symptoms. A testosterone deficiency can be easily treated with testosterone medications. Injections, pellets and creams are available by prescription.