I believe this is one of the most overlooked and undertreated causes of depression today: low testosterone.
When we think of low testosterone, we typically think of men and their sex drive. However, this ignores a large part of the picture. First of all, testosterone is important to women’s health, too. Secondly, it does a lot more in the body than simply regulate sex drive.
The many things testosterone does in the body
Yes, testosterone is important for sex drive and libido, in both men and women. Adequate levels are also important for the following things in both sexes:
• Energy levels and drive –
• Sound sleep
• Healthy weight –
• Muscle tone –
• Stable moods
• Ability to focus and a clear mind
• Cardiovascular health –
• Bone density –
Unsurprisingly, when testosterone levels are too low, it can cause low energy, disrupted sleep, weight gain, reduced muscle tone, mood swings, difficulty concentrating and fuzzy thinking, cardiovascular problems, low bone density, and, of course, low sex drive.
While women produce lower levels of testosterone throughout their lives than men do, they experience the same symptoms as men do as a result of low testosterone, including, sometimes, depression.
The link between low testosterone and depression
As stated above, testosterone has a strong effect on mood. Low testosterone has been linked to depression as well as anxiety and irritability.
Low testosterone levels are related to depression and well-being in women. Androgen levels in women decrease continuously to about 50% before menopause compared to a 20-year-old women. (1)
How do you know if your depression is caused by low testosterone? A simple blood test can determine the levels of testosterone in your blood, including free testosterone, which is available for the body to use. If your testosterone levels are low, you should supplement with bioidentical testosterone and see whether the depression is alleviated along with other symptoms, too.
You may, instead, be told your levels are “normal” and that you don’t have a problem with low testosterone, even though you’re experiencing multiple symptoms listed above, like reduced muscle mass and low sex drive. Please make sure your doctor takes into consideration all of your symptoms and clinical history when evaluating you. Most traditional doctors will check your free testosterone level if you ask, but the problem lies in how they measure the lab tests. The lab ranges are age-adjusted so they are often compared to the testosterone levels of others in your age range. Maybe the level isn’t low for someone who is 55, but who wants the levels of a 55-year-old? You want the testosterone levels that you had when you were in your prime.
Low testosterone levels are related to depression and well-being in women. Androgen levels in women decrease continuously to about 50% before menopause compared to a 20-year-old women. (1) In regard to psychological status, testosterone replacement had a beneficial effect on sense of well-being and depressed moods in women. (2)
Hypogonadal men showed an increased incidence of depressive illness.Hypogonadism is associated with depression. (3) Research suggests that testosterone treatment might improve depressed mood in older men who have low levels of bioavailable testosterone. (4)
Treating low testosterone and depression
For both men and women, symptoms such as reduced sex drive, reduced energy, and memory problems are often put down to the inevitable effects of aging. While we can’t stop the body from aging, we can treat low testosterone where appropriate, and gain back that “spring in the step” while reducing or eliminating associated symptoms.
In my practice, I’ve found great success with bioidentical hormones including testosterone and DHEA (another hormone in the body, which can be used to “boost” testosterone). Because they’re bioidentical, these hormones are the same as those found naturally in the body, and the body knows exactly how to use them. I’ve seen many people improve their quality of life by taking supplemental bioidentical testosterone and DHEA.
Listen as Dr. Hotze explains the importance of optimal testosterone levels for men:
Ready to treat your depression and low testosterone?
If you think you’re experiencing the symptoms of low testosterone and want to get back on the path to wellness, contact us at the Hotze Health & Wellness Center. We will work closely with you to make sure that you’re seeing the results that make a real difference in the quality of your day-to-day life. Why live with the “inevitable” when you can be treated naturally and not only relieve your depression, but experience higher energy levels, better sleep, better stamina and more? Speak with one of our wellness professionals today by calling us at 281.698.8698. We look forward to hearing from you!
1. The Impact of Testosterone Imbalance on Depression and Women’s Health
2. Transdermal Testosterone Treatment in Women with Impaired Sexual Function after Oophorectomy
3. Increased Incidence of Diagnosed Depressive Illness in Hypogonadal Older Men
4. Bioavailable Testosterone and Depressed Mood in Older Men: The Rancho Bernardo Study