We all know stress is a fact of life. But too much of it for too long can affect a lot more than your mood and mental well-being. Prolonged periods of stress can cause all sorts of adverse health issues, from weight gain to heart problems, but can low testosterone cause anxiety and stress? We look at the facts.
Cortisol Stress and Anxiety
The body's stress hormone is called cortisol. The adrenal glands release cortisol in response to physical and emotional stress. As cortisol enters your system, your body handles the stressor by increasing your heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar and breathing rate.
This response is a good thing for the short term. But running on cortisol for the long term presents a wide range of health risks. Ongoing stress, known as chronic stress, can lead to high blood pressure, digestive problems, diabetes and obesity. Research also shows that stress inhibits the production of testosterone.
Cortisol and testosterone have an opposite relationship. This means when cortisol is high, testosterone is low. Research suggests that men with low testosterone levels tend to have more anxiety and irritability. They also may experience more fatigue, sleep issues and weight gain. These symptoms are why many men seek testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), a treatment that can raise testosterone to healthy levels.
Male Excel patients often express interest in whether TRT can help mitigate their stress-related symptoms. Here's what you need to know about testosterone and stress, as well as using TRT as a treatment for stress.
Is TRT Good for Stress Relief? What the Evidence Says
Chronic stress doesn't just negatively affect your mood. It also adversely impacts your overall quality of life. The results from a 2022 survey from the American Psychological Association demonstrate the considerable impact stress has on our lives:
- More than a quarter (27%) of adults reported that most days, they are so stressed they can't function.
- Nearly two in five adults (37%) reported that when they are stressed, they can't bring themselves to do anything.
- Around a fifth of adults reported forgetfulness (21%), an inability to concentrate (20%) and difficulty making decisions (17%) in the last month due to stress.
Remember that cortisol and testosterone have an inverse relationship: less cortisol means higher testosterone. Animal studies show that testosterone treatment shuts down increased cortisol production. By reducing the amount of cortisol in your body, TRT can help your mood level out and critical functions like sleep and mental clarity return to optimal functioning.
Can Low Testosterone Cause Anxiety and Can TRT Help?
Anxiety is a response to intense, persistent stress, which is measured by elevated cortisol levels. High cortisol levels are often present in people with anxiety and depression. Reducing cortisol levels have been found to improve these mental health conditions.
Traditional anxiety treatments include anti-anxiety medications like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and benzodiazepines. Unfortunately, many men do not find relief using these medications. They can cause undesirable side effects and may present significant health risks. What's more, if your anxiety, low testosterone and high cortisol are linked, traditional treatments will not address these underlying causes.
With TRT, you won't face the side effects or health risks posed by prescription anti-anxiety medications. TRT does, however, address the root cause of your symptoms. If hormone imbalance is causing your tension, hormone optimization treatments, like TRT, can provide life-changing relief.
How do You Use TRT for Stress?
Before you start TRT for any symptoms, including stress and anxiety, getting a blood test is crucial. The problem is that standard blood work only goes so far. To obtain a complete picture of hormone health, Male Excel's home test kit measures five biomarkers: DHEA-S, estradiol, Free T3, PSA and testosterone. Once you receive your test results, a Male Excel board-certified medical provider will review them with you and customize a plan to treat the root cause of your symptoms.
What is the Best Testosterone to Take for Stress?
One of the amazing features of Male Excel's TRT protocol is daily microdosing. Daily dosing closely matches the natural 24-hour cycle of testosterone in your body. With your testosterone cycle in sync, you'll be more likely to get the best results from treatment. Less frequent treatment methods, like weekly and monthly testosterone injections, do not offer the same benefit. Instead, these methods produce a testosterone spike followed by a crash, leaving you to deal with the uncomfortable side effects.
How Long Does it Take Testosterone Treatment to Work?
Some TRT patients notice immediate changes, while others may take longer. How soon you see results from testosterone treatment varies. Several factors influence the onset of your results, including the severity and type of symptoms being treated and your physiological makeup.
If you're on TRT medication, monitor how you feel for 60 days, especially when it comes to stress, mood swings and anxiety. Keep a journal and write down any improvements you notice. If you do not see the desired results, your Male Excel medical provider may increase your medication dosage.
Conclusion: Low Cortisol, Optimal Testosterone is the Key to a Better, Healthier Life
Though it's normal to experience occasional periods of stress or worry, persistent stress can lead to serious physical and mental problems like fatigue, difficulty sleeping and weight gain. Chronic stress is associated with every major chronic disease. It also can lower your testosterone, leading to a host of other symptoms.
Although there's no cure for stress, there are ways to help you cope with it and minimize stress-related symptoms. To get started, first try the least toxic, most effective solutions for your body. These can include adopting an anti-inflammatory diet, exercising regularly and balancing your hormones with testosterone replacement therapy.
Talking to a Male Excel medical provider is the first step in getting an accurate diagnosis. If your symptoms are mainly hormone-related, testosterone replacement therapy may suit you. When life hits you hard, you can count on our TRT-trained providers to customize a treatment plan that offers relief.
Don't ignore symptoms like stress, anxiety and mental strain. At Male Excel, we're here for you. We offer online appointments, as well as home hormone testing, and testosterone replacement therapy for men. Find out more by calling 833-625-3392 and speaking to a Male Excel specialist today.
 Sternbach H. Age-associated testosterone decline in men: clinical issues for psychiatry. Am J Psychiatry. 1998;155:1310-1318. [PubMed]