When we think of testosterone deficiency, we think of the many symptoms patients may experience. But what about the variables that can cause your low T in the first place or that can exacerbate your low testosterone? Medications and lifestyle are just a few of these factors.
It’s true — your low testosterone levels may not just have one root cause. In fact, it is more likely multiple factors work together and collaboratively lower your testosterone levels.
While some of these factors may be more profound, even the less significant variables still play into the overall equation and can adversely affect your serum testosterone.
If you suffer from low testosterone, it’s critical for you to be aware of negative influences, and implement lifestyle changes that can help you counteract, replace, or avoid these factors — if possible.
Triggers of Low Testosterone
Many components impacting low testosterone are lifestyle-related choices that can, in fact, be changed. Others, like medical conditions, might be harder to modify — while factors like age are variables that simply cannot be altered.
Nonetheless, it’s imperative that you are aware of the factors that can influence your testosterone levels, so you can understand the triggers and are able to take necessary steps toward a healthier life.
The number one factor affecting testosterone levels is your age. For most men, levels will naturally begin to decline at around age 40. It’s a gradual process and takes time — meaning that your testosterone levels will only drop a little over 1% every year after that.
A versatile and balanced diet has countless benefits — but with testosterone being a crucial sex hormone, maintaining a balanced diet also means maintaining your hormone balance.
In addition, research indicates that eating too much of certain foods, like trans fats, can lower your testosterone over time.
Being overweight and obese can have many adverse effects and impact your health for the worse. Patients who are obese, frequently suffer from low testosterone — some of which is due to insulin resistance that’s typically heightened because of a decrease in sex hormone-binding globulin.
Consuming too much alcohol can lead to liver cirrhosis over time and it can also lower your serum testosterone. In fact, alcohol has a strong impact on the Leydig cells, which are responsible for the production of testosterone.
Type II Diabetes
There are many medical conditions out there that can interact with your hormones in a negative way. Patients with type II diabetes tend to have lower testosterone levels because of a lowered insulin sensitivity.
Yes, believe it or not. Even some of the medications that you’ve been prescribed by your healthcare provider can lower your testosterone levels. It’s critical for you to communicate your condition to every new provider, prior to starting medications that could potentially lower your testosterone.
Sometimes, however, you respond best to certain meds in which case continuous monitoring of your levels might be advisable, so you can get ahead of any drops in your levels.
Medications that Can Lower Your Testosterone
There are medications that are known to interfere with your blood testosterone. Below is an extensive list of medications that can, in fact, lower your testosterone.
(1) High Blood Pressure Medications
High blood pressure can cause an array of health issues, including limited blood flow to the penis — which can then lead to an erectile dysfunction. Taking medications for your high blood pressure can sometimes worsen the problem.
A study showed that administering Lisinopril, for example, an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor, for six months to male subjects, led to significantly reduced levels of free testosterone.
Beta-blockers, another group of high blood pressure medications, which include Metoprolol and Propranolol, were also found to strongly interfere with testosterone levels. In fact, a study with four different beta-blockers found profound effects on both total and free testosterone, with Propranolol and Pindolol causing a particularly significant reduction in testosterone levels.
Statins are some of the most common medications prescribed to treat high cholesterol. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 86 million Americans over the age of 20 have a total cholesterol level over 200 mg/dL — with the normal range going up to 200 mg/dL.
Understandably, many Americans, therefore need and do take cholesterol medications, with some of the most common statins including Pravastatin, Atorvastatin, and Lovastatin.
A meta-analysis, however, found that while statins can help prevent cardiovascular events, they can also reduce testosterone synthesis and lead to low T. Just like with other medications, be vigilant about any symptoms that you may experience and reach out to your doctor if you feel like your levels may be affected.
Antidepressants are typically prescribed for the treatment of depressive disorders, including symptoms, such as mood changes and anxiety. A review of multiple studies indicated that most antidepressants have an impact on your testosterone levels.
Another study on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) — the most common type of antidepressants, which includes Fluoxetine and Citalopram — also found that SSRIs negatively impacted androgens and led to lower testosterone levels.
With research indicating a potential link between antidepressants and low testosterone, it’s important for you to let your doctor know immediately if and when you’re experiencing any low T symptoms.
Opioids mark a group of drugs that include painkillers like OxyContin and Hydrocodone, as well as Fentanyl, Codeine, and Morphine. They’re also a group of medications that can be highly addictive.
In addition, opioids directly affect the hypothalamus, pituitary, and gonads — which can further impact your blood testosterone. Hypogonadism that’s rooted in the use of opioids can also lead to sexual dysfunction and infertility.
(5) Other Medications, Including Over-the-Counter Meds
There are other medications, some of which can easily be purchased over the counter that can further contribute to low testosterone levels. Ibuprofen, for example, has been found to change testicular physiology and lead to “compensated hypogonadism.”
Another study, which was conducted in rats, showed that Ketoconazole, which is used to treat fungus and yeast infections, is also capable of reducing serum testosterone levels.
There are many more meds that can have a similar effect, which is why consulting with a doctor and educating yourself about potential side effects is critical.
Find the Right Medications for YOU
When taking medications, keep in mind that every person is different — what may work for others, may simply not work for you. The good news is that with research and science moving at the speed of light, there likely is another drug out there that you can take without reducing your serum testosterone at the same time.
Be sure to communicate any symptoms you’re having with your doctor and keep your endocrinologist in the loop about new meds you may be starting. Communication will bring you one step closer to a happier and healthier you.
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