Everyone gets tired. According to the New York Times, Americans are among the most stressed people in the world.
But sometimes fatigue is just the tip of the iceberg. Low energy in men can be the result of major hormonal imbalance.
It’s possible to fight this fatigue by understanding the root cause. Low testosterone levels lead to fatigue but are simple to treat with the right lifestyle and medical support.
Check out this guide to fighting fatigue caused by low testosterone.
Testosterone in the Body
Testosterone often brings about images of aggressive athletes or bodybuilders bench pressing three times their weight. But testosterone has a much larger role than levels of strength or aggression.
The main role of testosterone in the body is reproductive health. Testosterone is a type of male sex hormone called androgen.
Androgens are a type of steroid produced in the testes and adrenal glands. The amount of testosterone produced in the body is determined by the hypothalamus in the brain and your pituitary glands.
The hypothalamus tells the pituitary gland how much testosterone is needed in the body and the message gets sent to the testes. This communication happens primarily through chemicals in the bloodstream.
Before you’re born, testosterone is working to develop sex organs as early as 8 weeks of fetal development. The amount of testosterone levels during fetal development is said to predict certain social behavior later in life.
Behavior like impulsiveness and substance abuse can happen more often in boys with heightened testosterone in the womb.
There’s no shortage of middle-aged men with tales of a stronger, faster youth. The puberty years are when the most visible evidence of your testosterone comes to the forefront.
The growth of facial hair, voice changes, and muscle development happens because of a rise in testosterone. These effects help boys transition into the body of an adult man that’s far more physically capable than strength shown during childhood or later in life.
Low Energy in Men
Adults rarely mirror the energy levels of adolescence. Expecting to run the same 8-minute mile during your 40s that you ran in high school isn’t possible for most people.
Low energy is marked by other characteristics like feeling tired all the time and having difficulty concentrating. These two factors go beyond just the stress of a long day at work.
Lack of motivation is another sign of abnormally low energy. These symptoms are tricky because they’re similar to depression but can’t be resolved with antidepressants.
Brain fog is a major sign of low energy that may have a medical cause. After you’ve lost your keys for the third time in a day, it may be time to explore the root causes.
Extremely low energy is often a sign of low testosterone. Check out this list of other common symptoms of low testosterone in men.
If you’ve ever considered Viagra, you may be suffering from erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction is when you cannot get an erection or maintain an erection during sexual intercourse.
Erectile dysfunction isn’t an occasional thing. Unless it happens more than 3 out of 4 times you attempt intercourse, you’re not suffering from erectile dysfunction.
Not every man with low testosterone levels suffers from erectile dysfunction, but this condition is a result of low testosterone.
Low Sex Drive
Your memories of puberty can offer unrealistic views of what a sex drive should be. As you age, a natural decline in sexual urges is expected.
But a dramatically lowered libido may be cause for concern. Sexual desires should be gradual and not instantaneous.
Constant fatigue, even after long nights of rest is a common sign of low testosterone. The average adult needs between 6 and 8 hours of sleep.
If you’ve gotten more than this amount and still feel drowsy, check your testosterone levels. Your body should be fully alert within an hour of waking especially after a healthy meal.
The inability to sleep is also a sign of low testosterone. Healthy hormones mean falling asleep each night without the use of sleeping pills or alcoholic substances.
Waking up during the night is a sleep disturbance associated with insomnia. Get checked out if you’re experiencing insomnia combined with other symptoms.
Changes in Mood
We’ve all seen images in movies of men on steroids becoming overly aggressive to the point of concern. While high testosterone does impact moods, low testosterone affects the way you feel far more often.
Low testosterone results in more irritable, anxious and depressed behavior. Things like decreased memory only add to the stress.
More Body Fat
There’s no surprise that having no energy will mean less exercise. Less exercise leads to an increase in body fat.
A condition called gynecomastia also impacts the level of fat in the body. When a man has low testosterone, breast tissue can become enlarged.
Gynecomastia happens when there’s an imbalance of estrogen relative to testosterone. In women, breast tissue includes a combination of specialized tissue that produces milk and fat.
In men, increased breast tissue just means more fat.
Decreased Muscle Mass
Men suffering from low testosterone levels can lose muscle mass. Building muscle mass during workouts becomes increasingly difficult.
If you’ve recently noticed muscle mass shrinking even after working out, testosterone could be the culprit. Weight gain is much easier when there’s less muscle mass which is another reason for an increase in body fat with low testosterone.
Decreased Bone Mass
Testosterone levels help increase bone mass. When levels are low, men are more likely to experience fractures.
Older men are also more likely to experience bone loss. For adults ages 19 to 50, adding calcium to the diet can help improve bone density.
According to Mayo Clinic, the recommended dietary amount of calcium per day is 1,000 milligrams. This amount increases for men after age 70.
Vitamin D is another option for improving bone health. Exposure to sunlight is a natural way of ensuring Vitamin D production in the body.
Certain kinds of fish, mushrooms, and eggs also encourage Vitamin D production.
During puberty, you grow pubic and facial hair because of the testosterone level spike in your boy. This process is reversed when levels are low.
The hair on your face and body may decrease or go away altogether because of testosterone levels. This symptom alone isn’t a strong sign of testosterone levels because genetics plays a large role in hair loss.
Low Volume of Semen
If you notice the amount of semen decrease during ejaculation, this could be the result of low testosterone. Testosterone plays a huge role in the healthy function of the testes where semen is produced.
Testosterone regulates the amount of seminal fluid created which can impact fertility. In order for sperm to be mobile, there needs to be a substantial amount of seminal fluid available during ejaculation.
Treatments for Low Energy
There are immediate lifestyle changes that can help men combat low energy. These tactics help you take control of low testosterone and your overall health.
Get Adequate Sleep
If you’re suffering from insomnia, getting more sleep is easier said than done. But during sleep is when your body produces most of its testosterone for the day.
Missing out on critical sleep hours can decrease the level of testosterone needed to keep your energy level throughout the day. Avoid caffeine when possible to prevent any sleep disruption.
Eat your last meal hours before bedtime to help your body begin the winddown process. If you’re prone to anxiety, right before bed might not be the best time to catch up on work or read the news.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Clean eating is a trend that can have huge benefits for low testosterone. Small, well-timed meals throughout the day can feed your body a constant source of energy.
Skip the saturated fats and opt for fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Animal fats can help provide a source of energy when eaten in moderation.
Avoid alcohol when possible especially when used to induce sleep. Liver dysfunction only adds to testosterone problems later in life.
Break a Sweat
Working out with low testosterone may not bring about the lean, muscular physique you want right away. But exercise increases your testosterone levels naturally.
Take 30 minutes to go for a walk, play tennis or lift weights. This short time during the day will leave your feeling more energized and support your hormone production.
The symptoms of low testosterone are dangerously close to those of depression. Both are serious conditions, but depression affects your mental health in ways that can lead to suicidal thoughts or harming others.
If you believe you’re depressed, talk to a mental health professional right away. It’s important to get balanced before you work on your testosterone levels.
The removal of depression and chronic anxiety leaves you with more motivation to tackle other areas of your life you’re neglecting. Consult with your doctor on the best antidepressants to take that won’t negatively impact testosterone levels or libido.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Even after launching a full-scale testosterone boosting treatment plan at home, your levels won’t go back to their normal range. In this case, your doctor might suggest testosterone replacement therapy.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy is a proven, but serious option because it can mean permanently preventing your body from producing its own testosterone in the future.
In cases where you see no improvement at all in testosterone levels even after major lifestyle changes, hormone therapy might be your only option. The therapy won’t be a cure-all.
Lifestyle changes are still required to help beat the symptoms. Expect to still change your diet, get more exercise and establish regular sleep patterns.
Impacts of Treatment
The time it takes for TRT to create improvements in the body varies. Some men see results within a month while others require multiple treatments in order to begin feeling a change.
By the 16th week of treatment, you are usually at an optimal dose that results in more mental clarity and physical strength.
When to See a Doctor
Testosterone levels drop every year. In healthy adult men, testosterone levels drop an average of 1 to 2 percent every year.
The pituitary gland sees less of a need for testosterone and a protein called sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). What’s considered healthy levels of testosterone can vary from person to person.
It’s important to see a doctor when you notice a variety of symptoms happening all at once. The key is to look for instant and not gradual changes in the body.
Your hair loss might be the result of stress and not a testosterone deficiency, but it’s best to be sure than to self-diagnose in case further medical attention is needed.
Finding a Cure
Testosterone therapy is the primary way of treating low testosterone. This treatment is helpful in delayed male puberty, low adult testosterone sometimes breast cancer.
Low energy in men can be the result of an impossibly stressful week at work or a drop in testosterone production. The level of variance in testosterone levels is different based on a wide range of factors.
The best way to decide what’s right for you is to discuss options with a healthcare professional. No matter your age, a boost in testosterone can mean dramatically improving your quality of life and reducing angst created by imbalanced hormones.
For more information on how to make testosterone replacement therapy work for you, please take a look at our treatment goals.