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Low Testosterone
and Irritability

Testosterone plays a significant
role in many mood disorders

Hormonal imbalance and irritability in men


  • It’s common for men suffering from age-related testosterone deficiency to experience mood swings, irritability, and even depression.
  • Although depressive disorders are more common in women [1], Studies [2] show that incidents of depression in men increase with age and often in line with falling testosterone levels.
  • Mood disorders can include depression, persistent depressive disorder (Dysthymia), and bipolar disorder, all of which are often the result of increased anxiety, stress, irritability, and mood swings often associated with low testosterone levels.
  • These mood disorders are conditions that bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) can certainly help alleviate.

Start Hormone Replacement Therapy by completing our free assessment and purchasing your $99 at-home test kit. 

What is a mood disorder?

  • Depression: Having little interest in normal daily activities accompanied by feelings of sadness and hopelessness. If these feelings last for 2 weeks or longer, this could indicate the onset of depression.
  • Dysthymia: This is a low-grade depressed state or irritable mood that lasts for 2 years at least.
  • Bipolar disorder: Sufferers of this mood disorder experience regular highs and lows. With periods of depression followed by periods of mania or heightened mood.
  • Mood disorders associated with illness: Medical illnesses and conditions such as cancer, injury, arthritis, infections, and many chronic diseases can often cause depression.
  • Substance-induced mood disorder: Medicines, toxins, illegal drugs, and alcohol can all cause symptoms of depression.
  • Mood disorders related to significant events: Many significant life events can cause depression, such as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), divorce, getting fired from your job, and witnessing tragic events.

What causes mood swings in men?

Age seems to be one of the significant causes of depression and other mood disorders in middle-aged and older men. Multiple factors can cause mood disorders; however, they are often the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain or a reduction in hormones in the body. Significant life events can be a powerful trigger of depression along with disorders such as bipolar disorder, which can also be hereditary. In studies [4], it is shown that testosterone levels in men suffering from bipolar are often significantly reduced, strongly suggesting that normalizing testosterone levels in men should be considered by way of treatment.

Many severe mood disorders are not directly caused by hormone deficiency. But there are many symptoms and triggers of mood disorders that bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can relieve because they are so similar.

Symptoms common to low testosterone and mood disorder include:

  • Anxiety
  • Sadness
  • Loss of Libido
  • Decreased energy
  • Weight gain and appetite changes
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Brain fog and reduced ability to make decisions
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Loss of interest in normal daily activities
  • Relationship problems
  • Feeling hopeless or helpless
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feeling inadequate or worthless
  • Feeling guilty for being the way you are
  • Irritability, hostility, aggression

If you struggle from any of these adverse symptoms take a free online hormone assessment to see how Hormone Replacement Therapy can help you.

The role of hormones in mood disorders and irritability

How Does Testosterone Affect Mood?

Many people associate testosterone as the ‘aggressive’ male hormone; this is far from the truth. Common psychological symptoms that men with low testosterone experience include aggression, mood swings, lack of focus, and anxiety; all crucial factors which can cause mood disorders. Paired with physical symptoms such as muscle loss, hair loss, erectile dysfunction, and weight gain you have a melting pot of issues that need to be addressed.

Testosterone plays a pivotal role in maintaining cognitive function. Testosterone converts in the body into a hormone called estradiol. This hormone protects and preserves brain function, memory and even stops destructive proteins from building in the brain that can cause Alzheimer’s disease.

The role of cortisol and mood disorders

Many people who are suffering from mood disorders such as anxiety and depression have elevated cortisol levels. It is well documented and understood that chronic stress is associated with several mental and physical symptoms, including anxiety and depression. When you are stressed the hormone cortisol is released from the adrenal glands as a response to stressors such as danger, uncomfortable situations, and fear.

If you suffer from constant anxiety and stress, the sustained secretion and circulation of cortisol eventually alter the balance of neurotransmitters and other hormones. Cortisol depletes the dopamine (the feel-good hormone), which decreases activity in the brain’s pleasure pathways also lowering serotonin, reducing feelings of happiness and wellbeing.

Crucially for men, elevated cortisol levels actively reduce testosterone (also DHEAs a precursor to testosterone). So, with high cortisol and decreased testosterone, adverse effects may start to show, some of the same negative effects associated with low testosterone:

Symptoms that are common to stress and low testosterone include:

  • Loss of libido
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feeling depressed
  • Lack of energy and interest
  • Irritability
  • Weight gain

Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, in particular testosterone and DHEA, can restore the balance [3] and actively reduces cortisol levels in the body.

Test your cortisol and thyroid levels with our free online hormone assessment.

Thyroid and mood disorders

When your thyroid gland is not producing enough thyroid hormone, or if you have thyroid resistance, you can experience symptoms of mood disorders such as depression. Although an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) and mood disorders are separate conditions, treating low thyroid can improve feelings of wellbeing. In fact, thyroid medication and BHRT can be more effective than antidepressants. 

For many people, doctors often don’t connect thyroid, mood disorder, and depression. Low thyroid can cause symptoms similar to depression and low testosterone, so finding a doctor that knows what signs to look for is crucial.

Symptoms common with low thyroid and low testosterone:

  • Fatigue
  • Slower heart rate
  • Sluggishness
  • Decreased motivation
  • Sleep problems
  • Mood swings
  • Short temper
  • Overwhelming feelings of stress
  • Concentration problems, brain fog
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Joint or muscle pain as well as cramps
  • Tingling in your hands and fingers
  • Vague aches and pains
  • Modest weight gain

Have any questions? Schedule a free consult with one of our hormone specialists. 

BHRT and mood disorders

Many studies show how testosterone and thyroid as part of a hormone replacement program can relieve stress, anxiety, bipolar disorder, anger issues, concentration problems, cognitive ability, and depression. There are many mechanisms at work here, from the beneficial psychological effects these hormones can have to the physical and health benefits BHRT can offer.

BHRT actively restores lost energy levels giving many men the motivation needed to make a positive change. Many men have low self-esteem and depression because of the common symptoms of sub-optimal hormone levels. If you look at the benefits associated with BHRT, you can see in plain sight how and why this therapy works for so many men struggling with low testosterone and mood disorders.

  • Improved wellbeing
  • Increases lean muscle mass
  • Healthier skin
  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Reduced Alzheimer’s risk

Ready to get started with Hormone Replacement Therapy? Click the link below to start your free hormone assessment.

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Studies and References:

[1] Albert PR. Why is depression more prevalent in women?. J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2015;40(4):219-221. doi:10.1503/jpn.150205

[2] Celec P, Ostatníková D, Hodosy J. On the effects of testosterone on brain behavioral functions. Front Neurosci. 2015;9:12. Published 2015 Feb 17. doi:10.3389/fnins.2015.00012

[3] Kroboth PD, Amico JA, Stone RA, Folan M, Frye RF, Kroboth FJ, Bigos KL, Fabian TJ, Linares AM, Pollock BG, Hakala C. Influence of DHEA administration on 24-hour cortisol concentrations. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2003 Feb;23(1):96-9. doi: 10.1097/00004714-20

[4] jung HJ, Shin HS. Effect of Testosterone Replacement Therapy on Cognitive Performance and Depression in Men with Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome. World J Men’s Health. 2016;34(3):194-199. doi:10.5534/wjmh.2016.34.3.194

Bebbington P. (1996). The origins of sex differences in depressive disorder: bridging the gap. Int. Rev. Psychiatry 8, 295–332 10.3109/09540269609051547

Pope HG Jr, Cohane GH, Kanayama G, Siegel AJ, Hudson JI. Testosterone gel supplementation for men with refractory depression: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Am J Psychiatry. 2003 Jan;160(1):105-11. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.160.1.105. PMID: 12505808.

Castanho TC, Moreira PS, Portugal-Nunes C, Novais A, Costa PS, Palha JA, Sousa N, Santos NC. The role of sex and sex-related hormones in cognition, mood and wellbeing in older men and women. Biol Psychol. 2014 Dec;103:158-66. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2014.08.015. Epub 2014 Sep 6. PMID: 25196100.

Wooderson SC, Gallagher P, Watson S, Young AH. An exploration of testosterone levels in patients with bipolar disorder. BJPsych Open. 2015 Nov 6;1(2):136-138. doi: 10.1192/bjpo.bp.115.001008. PMID: 27703738; PMCID: PMC4995589.

Seidman SN, Orr G, Raviv G, Levi R, Roose SP, Kravitz E, Amiaz R, Weiser M. Effects of testosterone replacement in middle-aged men with Dysthymia: a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2009 Jun;29(3):216-21. doi: 10.1097