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How Does Stress Impact Testosterone?

How Does Stress Impact Testosterone?

11 min read

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23 Jun 2023

Grab your cheat sheet

  • What is stress?
  • How does stress impact testosterone?
  • How do you lower stress and cortisol?
  • Can low testosterone cause stress?
  • Are stress and testosterone are linked?

  • Stress has become a common part of everyday life. For most, common elements of everyday life such as work, family and, in some cases, even sports can cause you to feel stressed. 

    Now, no one enjoys feeling stressed - it’s a negative emotion. 

    Although perfectly natural and even helpful in some situations, too much stress can negatively impact your life and well-being. 

    We all know how stress can impact your sleep, make us more irritable, and even cause potential weight gain, but for men, you need to also think about how stress can impact your testosterone. 

    The truth is that stress plays a massive role in the levels and production of your male sex hormone. Here's an overview of how it can affect your cortisol testosterone:

    What is stress? 

    We have all felt stress at multiple points in our lives, so most are fully aware of what it's like to experience extreme levels of this unpleasant emotion.

    However, a frightening part of stress is that you often don’t know you are experiencing it. While more powerful spikes might happen if you are running late for work or have a tight deadline, you may also be suffering from a lower level of stress ‘static,’ running through your body at more sedate times of your day. 

    In scientific terms, stress is a bodily state in which your natural physiological balance changes and you deviate from your normal healthy state. 

    As a result, your central nervous system will attempt to deal with stress by adapting both the functioning of your body and your behavior.

    To help you pinpoint whether you are experiencing this phenomenon, here are a few of the biological changes that can happen to your body during periods of significant stress: 

    Your heart rate increases.

    One of the most noticeable changes that occur in your body immediately when you're under stress is an increase in your heart rate. 


    This happens because your body releases adrenaline and other hormones that prepare you for "fight or flight." 

    As a result, your heart starts to pump faster to send more oxygen-rich blood to your muscles. 

    This is a natural response so that you're able to defend yourself. This increased heart rate can cause blood pressure and heart-centric problems if you're under constant stress. 

    Your breathing becomes shallower

    Another instant change to your body when you're under stress is shallower, more rapid breathing. 

    This happens because your body tries to take in more oxygen to fuel your muscles. However, this can also lead to feelings of lightheadedness or dizziness. Plus, this can lead to things like panic attacks in certain situations.


    Your muscles tense up

    When stressed, you'll be tensing your muscles more than often. 

    This is another almost involuntary biological response to help you protect yourself from harm, but it can cause physical issues if your stress is consistent. You can start to experience muscle aches and fatigue, which could impact your performance when working out.  

    You might experience an upset stomach

    Stomach aches and other gut issues are common symptoms of stress. This is because stress can trigger various digestive problems, such as indigestion, heartburn, and diarrhea. 

    Stress can also make existing digestive problems worse. Sometimes, these stomach issues can be prolonged and become chronic, only going away once you become less stressed.

    You might have trouble sleeping

    If you're feeling stressed, you might need help falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night. This is because stress can interfere with your body's natural sleep cycle. 


    Stress can also cause nightmares or night terrors, further preventing you from getting the sleep you need. As an athlete or gym goer, a lack of sleep can impact your ability to recover between sessions.

    You might lose your appetite

    When you're under stress, you might lose your appetite or be uninterested in food. This is because stress can disrupt your body's natural hunger cues. 

    Additionally, stress can make food taste less appealing and cause nausea or vomiting. 

    Although, the opposite can also happen, and stressed individuals can be prone to comfort eating. Either way, this issue can affect your weight targets and make it harder to follow a meal plan. 

    You can experience anxiety or depression

    Anxiety and depression are common mental health conditions associated with stress that it can trigger. 

    If you're stressed, you may feel anxious or down about things that wouldn't usually bother you. You may also start to withdraw from friends and activities that you used to enjoy, further increasing the negativity.  

    These changes happen in your body because of a release of a particular hormone called cortisol, a hormone produced in the adrenal glands. 


    Cortisol is responsible for regulating a range of bodily functions, from blood sugar levels to immune system responses, but its main job during times of stress is to provide extra energy by releasing glucose into the bloodstream. 

    However, prolonged or chronic stress can lead to sustained levels of cortisol, which can negatively affect the body, including weight gain, disrupted sleep, and even decreased immune function. 

    Understanding how cortisol functions during stress is critical to managing stress and maintaining optimal health.

    These biological changes can influence your testosterone levels and play a massive part in the production of this essential hormone. 


    How does stress impact testosterone? 

    When you are exposed to prolonged periods of stress, your body will respond by producing less testosterone. This means your levels will drop and stay low if the stress is consistent and unresolved. 


    The reason this happens is all because of cortisol. Having more of this hormone means you ca unable to produce as much testosterone as you usually would, and the testosterone you create will have its effects blocked by cortisol. 


    When stress and an increase in cortisol cause low testosterone, it can lead to a few side effects that can impact your health, appearance, and mental well-being. 


    Low testosterone, caused by an increase in cortisol level, can be more impacting than low testosterone caused by higher estrogen, for example. 


    This is because the high testosterone impacts you, and you'll also experience some side effects due to the high cortisol levels. 


    For example, elevated cortisol can lead to blood pressure issues, weight gain, and headaches, among other problems. Together with a low level of testosterone, you can experience some of the following symptoms:


    1. Low libido 

    One of the most common symptoms of low testosterone is a decrease in libido or sex drive. 


    This can mean that you don't desire sex or intimate moments as often as you usually would, which can affect the quality of your relationships. Low libido can also lead to some physical issues - including erectile dysfunction. 


    2. Fatigue 

    Another common symptom of low testosterone is fatigue. Testosterone plays a vital role in your energy levels, so having low testosterone can make you feel more tired and increase recovery time between workouts. 


    Low testosterone caused by high cortisol can also lead to insomnia, further contributing to fatigue.


    3. Muscle weakness

    Low testosterone can also cause muscle weakness and a decrease in muscle mass. 



    Testosterone is vital in building muscle and strength, so low testosterone levels can cause you to lose your previous gains. You'll also need help with strength and endurance too, making you less effective as an athlete. 


    4. Bone loss 

    Osteoporosis is a condition that can occur as a result of low testosterone levels. Thinning bones characterize this condition and can result in an increased risk of you getting painful fractures. 


    This can affect your ability to partake in contact sports and day-to-day life. Testosterone helps to maintain bone density by stimulating the production of new bone cells.


    5. Mood changes 

    Low testosterone levels can cause mood changes such as depression, anxiety, and irritability. 


    These mood changes may be due to the physical changes that occur with low testosterone levels, such as fatigue and muscle loss, which can make you feel worse about yourself.


    6. Difficulty concentrating

    Difficulty concentrating is another common symptom of low testosterone. Low testosterone has been linked to poor cognitive function, meaning that you may be unable to concentrate well and struggle to retain information. 


    7. Weight gain

    Low testosterone can also cause weight gain, thanks to how you'll have higher levels of estrogen. 

     

    This hormone can cause you to grow fatty masses on your breast tissue and lead to an increase in weight generally. This weight gain can devastate those who have worked hard to create a better physique. 


    8. Sexual Health Problems 

    Low levels of testosterone can significantly impact your sexual health in some pretty brutal ways. If your testosterone is too low, you can experience erectile dysfunction, meaning that you may struggle to maintain an erection, leading to issues in the bedroom. 


    You may also find a reduced sperm count due to low testosterone, which can be devastating when trying to conceive. This happens because your testicles will shrink, producing even less testosterone.  


    If you're looking to become the healthiest version of yourself, it's clear why you need to do what you can to avoid stress and ensure that your testosterone levels remain high, as it can help you obtain a better physique and lifestyle. 


    How do you lower stress and cortisol?

    If you want to lower your cortisol, you need to do a few things to remove the stress from your life or do something where you're not physically affected by potentially stressful environments and situations. Here are a few things you can try to implement in your life: 


    Get enough sleep

    Getting enough sleep is one of the best ways to lower stress levels. Most adults need between 7 and 8 hours of sleep per night, but many get less. 


    Lack of sleep can lead to various health problems, including stress. If you're already struggling to sleep because of sleep, make sure to abide by a routine. Having a set bedtime will make it easier to get to bed after a few days. 


    Exercise regularly

    Exercise is another great way to reduce stress. Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects and can mask and reduce the negative feelings that you may get from stress. 

     


    Just 30 minutes of movement will do a lot to help you feel better. Additionally, exercise can help to improve sleep quality and quantity.


    Eat a healthy diet

    Your diet can affect your stress levels. Healthy foods like fruits, vegetables and grains are packed full of nutrients that can influence your mood and make you react better to stressful situations. 


    Avoid sugar and processed foods, as these can increase your cortisol levels.


    Avoid caffeine and alcohol.

    Caffeine and alcohol are two substances that can increase stress levels. They can also increase your heart rate, which you do not want to do if you're already feeling stressed. 



    Caffeine is a stimulant that can cause anxiety and irritability, while alcohol is a depressant that can make it difficult to cope with stressors.


    Take breaks during the day

    Taking breaks during the day can help to re-energize you and allow you to take some time away from what's stressing you. 


    Taking a few minutes to relax and rejuvenate can make a big difference in how you feel throughout the day. You can do this by walking, hiking, reading a few pages of a book, or exercising. 


    Practice meditation or mindfulness.

    Meditation and mindfulness are two practices that can help calm the mind and body, reducing stress levels. 


    They focus on your breathing and emotions and can be super effective. The best way to get into this is by trying yoga. Combining exercise and breathing exercises is a great way to tackle stress. 


    In addition to these methods, you can combat the situation by raising your testosterone levels. You can use supplements to help your body produce more natural testosterone, reducing the effects of stress. Sometimes you can't avoid stressful situations and instead need to run into them headfirst. 


    If this is your approach, supplements from Testoprime can ensure that your testosterone levels don't drop, no matter what life throws at you. 


    Can low testosterone cause stress? 

    The issue with having lower testosterone due to stress is that it can turn things into a vicious cycle. This is because when your testosterone is low, you may experience increased stress. This will then cause your testosterone to drop further or stay low, creating a repeating pattern that is hard to break once you're in it. 


    In addition to causing stress, low testosterone levels can also lead to men feeling other similar negative emotions and feelings, such as anxiety, irritability, and depression. This can really affect your daily life and contribute to greater feelings of stress, as well as other issues. 


    As low testosterone can lead to various health issues, facing these issues can also make you feel more stressed, reinforcing the pattern and making it harder to get out of. In this situation, the best thing you can do is find a solution that raises your testosterone, such as supplements from Testoprime, and choose a stress-relieving activity that suits you. 


    Are stress and testosterone are linked?

    There's a significant correlation between your stress levels and testosterone levels. If one increases, the other will usually drop, meaning you should worry about your testosterone if you struggle with high-stress levels. 


    Thankfully, there are things you can do to ensure that stress doesn't impact your testosterone, with supplements that boost your natural production of testosterone being a great option. You can also deal with your stress by partaking in stress-busting activities. 


    Don't let stress make you less of a man. Take action to ensure your testosterone and stress levels are well-balanced. 

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