Researchers at George Washington University found that men referred for tertiary or lower level care for borderline testosterone levels had much higher rates of depression and depressive symptoms than those of the general population. “In an era where more and more men are being tested for “Low T” — or lower levels of testosterone — there is very little data about the men who have borderline low testosterone levels,” said Michael S. Irwig, M.D.,associate professor of medicine and director of theCenter for Andrology at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. “We felt it important to explore the mental health of this population.”
The research involved 200 adult men, aged 20-77, with an average age of 48, who were referred for borderline total testosterone levels between 200 and 350 ng/dL. Depression and/or depressive symptoms were present in 56 percent of the subjects. Furthermore, one quarter of the men in the study were taking antidepressants and that the men had high rates of obesity and low rates of physical activity. The most common symptoms were erectile dysfunction, decreased libido, fewer morning erections, low energy, and sleep disturbances. When we see a male patient entering the “andropause” or male “change of life” in their late 30′s to early 50′s, we typically see a male patient who complains of:
- lack of sex drive and or erectile dysfunction
- Muscle weakness or loss of strength
- Belly fat, obesity
- Depression, mood swings
- Or, they just don’t “feel the same."
These are classic symptoms of low testosterone levels or more commonly referred to “Low T.” Men can suffer from sex hormone deficiency just as women do, and be treated for this deficiency in the same manner as women that is with prescribed hormonal replacement or supplementation. The difference of course is in the primary hormone; Estrogen for women, Testosterone for men.
So when these male patients’ testosterone levels are checked and many find that their levels are below normal or at the bottom reaches of the “normal level,” the first thing they want to know is “what can you do for me?”