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Is low T the reason for the Big D?

answered 11:56 AM EST, Tue January 15, 2013
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anonymous anonymous
Can low testosterone levels cause me to feel kind of depressed? I am 47 and I am starting to feel a lot more tired than I used to and I lack in sex drive. I am also having trouble sleeping all the way through the night and I just feel very down and sad sometimes for no particular reason. Because of the way my sex drive has changes I am wondering if everything is linked to testosterone or something else that would affect my sex drive?

Art Matthews Says...

The short answer is "Yes, but... " (I know I say that a lot).

Contrary to what pharmaceutical and herbal remedy companies would have us think, low testosterone is not something that is an epidemic. But wouldn’t they love to sell us a patch or a pill that promises to instantly solve all our problems? As men age, it is natural that our hormone levels will drop, but the drop isn't normally significant enough to account for no libido in most men. There are other, more plausible possibilities.

Feeling "kind of depressed" and having a lower sex drive could be related to a number of factors for you besides at what level one of your sex hormones are. Primary insomnia might be one likely culprit from your description. Insomnia is difficulty falling or remaining asleep and can affect everything from cognitive abilities, mood and -- yes -- even sex drive.

Often the causes of low sex drive are more cerebral than physical: living in a rigid routine, poor stress management skills and familiarity with one's sex partner. If you are in a long term relationship, you may have fallen into a rut and the two of you are not caring for the romantic/sexual side of the relationship as you once did. Remember that the brain is the largest sex organ in the human body! It needs stimulation (and I’m not suggesting porn either; that comes with its own set of problems).

My suggestion is to start with your primary care doctor and let them know everything that is going on, from sleep issues, substance use, frequency of exercise/activity, lack of libido, conflicts in the workplace, satisfaction with your relationship and life, etc. Make sure you don't just say, "I think I have low testosterone" or you will likely end up with a 'script for hormone therapy. What you need is a professional who will take an investigative approach to your problem. You may discover it could be insomnia, depression or ??? Your doctor should run blood tests to make sure that your thyroid is working properly and to identify if hormone levels and other health indicators are in their expected ranges.

If you discover that insomnia or depression is a factor, then consider seeing a therapist or psychologist. You may even need to complete a sleep study to identify whether or not you have sleep apnea or other condition that may affect your quality of sleep and physical health. Sleep apnea is quite common in men your age who are overweight/obese and have high amounts of stress.

Best of luck to you and please let me know how you do.

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Page last updated Jan 15, 2013

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