Hormone balance can be impacted by many different factors. Aging, diet, genetics, weight, medications and many other factors can create hormonal imbalances in both men and women. For men, low testosterone is a concern for many reasons, from how it affects sex drive and libido to the effect on muscle mass, fat accumulation and energy levels. One of the factors that can impact testosterone is stress levels. If you experience high stress on a consistent basis, it could be impacting your testosterone levels.
Cortisol: Stress Hormone
The main reason stress can affect testosterone is due to cortisol, the most prevalent stress hormone. Cortisol is released by the adrenal cortex when you are in a stressful situation to help your body fight back. This is the “fight or flight” response and is meant to help you survive life-threatening situations. While it can be useful in an emergency or short-term stressful situation, if you have long-term stress from your job, relationship or other factors, too much cortisol can become a problem.
Both cortisol and testosterone are aggressive hormones that compete against each other – when cortisol levels are high, testosterone levels tend to be low. Both need cholesterol for formation, so if there is a constant need for cortisol, the cholesterol is used for making this hormone, not for testosterone. Cortisol also suppresses testosterone production in the hypothalamus.
Stress Behavior and Testosterone
On top of the cortisol factor and how it impacts testosterone, there are other reasons stress can lower testosterone. When you are stressed, it can lead to behaviors that can also impact testosterone production. Overeating, lack of exercise, drinking alcohol, smoking and other coping mechanisms that may be used to combat stress can result in lower testosterone.
Low “T” or Testosterone Treatment
Reducing stress in your life or finding better coping mechanisms can help improve your testosterone levels. However, it may be beneficial to seek hormone therapy to restore the correct testosterone levels in your body. At Arcadia Wellness Center, we offer hormone testing and testosterone injections that can help you overcome low testosterone, or “low T,” caused by stress. Call our office in Phoenix to schedule your hormone therapy consultation today.