Feeling Exhausted? The Surprising Link Between Fatigue and Testosterone

Are you feeling tired more than you expect? That’s not surprising in some ways. After all, today’s fast-paced world puts a lot on your plate. You have to juggle work deadlines, deal with financial stresses, make sure your family’s okay and your relationships are thriving — and that doesn’t even include making it to the gym and coping with your commute. No wonder you feel exhausted.

But what if what you’re feeling is more than normal fatigue? What if it’s rooted in an actual medical issue? And what if it’s something that could be treated? Imagine feeling the kind of energy you felt regularly some 10 or even 20 years ago. Imagine feeling that level of get-up-and-go every day.

Many men don’t realize that one persistent symptom of low testosterone levels is fatigue that just doesn’t seem to go away. The relationship between low testosterone and fatigue is a complex one, but it’s worth exploring, especially if you’ve been longing for renewed levels of energy and greater ability to focus. Keep reading to learn more about the relationship between fatigue and testosterone deficiency.

The Basics About Low Testosterone Levels

Testosterone plays a crucial role in almost every area of your life. You may just know it as the male hormone that fueled your puberty and powers your sex life, but it’s far more important than that. Testosterone is key to the development of muscle mass, and it helps keep your weight under control as well. It also has an effect on your brain, pushing back “brain fog” and helping you concentrate and stay focused. It plays a role in helping you to sleep well, and it even helps keep your bones strong. And yes, of course it’s absolutely vital to the maintenance of your sex life, as it keeps your libido revving.

But those testosterone levels you enjoyed when you were in your 20s don’t last forever. As men age, testosterone levels decline naturally. Starting in your 30s, you can expect to see your testosterone production drop by an average of 1% per year. For some men, that means their testosterone levels can drop below the normal range of 300 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter. When that happens, some unpleasant symptoms can start to make their presence known — many of them symptoms you might never even think had anything to do with testosterone levels. One of those common symptoms is fatigue and exhaustion.

How Is Fatigue Linked to Low Testosterone?

Testosterone is one of the key hormones in your body that powers your well-being. It stimulates your body’s energy levels and vitality. If your testosterone levels fall below the normal range, you’re likely to find yourself lethargic and fatigued pretty much all the time. Instead of heading for the gym, you just sit and scroll on your phone. Even going out on a date sounds exhausting and not worth the effort — and even if you even hate yourself for feeling that way, you can’t summon up the energy to make a change.

To complicate things, low testosterone levels are also associated with insomnia. That creates a vicious cycle. You don’t sleep well at night due to insomnia, which leads to greater tiredness during the day, but you’re so exhausted that your sleep cycle is thrown off, so you don’t sleep well at night… and on it goes. On top of that, testosterone deficiency also affects your mental performance, making it hard to concentrate — and the extra mental effort needed to get through your normal day also compounds your fatigue.

What Else Can Cause Fatigue?

Low testosterone levels are, of course, not the only potential cause for the fatigue you’ve been feeling. Maybe you truly have been pushing yourself too hard and you’re naturally tired as a result. If that’s the cause, though, your tiredness should go away within a day or two of removing the extra stress and effort from your life. If that doesn’t happen, it’s time to look at medical causes. Among the common causes of fatigue in men are:

  • Anemia: Anemia is a condition caused by low iron levels in your blood. If you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, you may be more likely to develop anemia, and vitamin B12 deficiency can also contribute. Men who make frequent blood donations may also find themselves flirting with anemia, which causes weakness and chronic fatigue.
  • Hypothyroidism: Testosterone isn’t the only hormone that affects your energy levels. If your thyroid hormone levels are low, fatigue can result. Look for accompanying symptoms that include sensitivity to cold, weight gain, muscle aches and dry skin.
  • Depression: If you have persistent feelings of disinterest and hopelessness, your doctor may diagnose depression. But that’s not necessarily the final diagnosis, since low testosterone levels can also contribute to depression in some men. Both conditions also often involve difficulty concentrating and sleep problems. The good news is that treating depression, whether with therapy or medication, may improve your testosterone levels — and it works both ways, because treating low testosterone levels may also serve to treat depression.

Other causes of fatigue in men include several serious medical conditions. Fatigue can be a symptom of chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, heart disease or kidney disease. In addition, various medications and illegal substances can also play a role in the development of fatigue.

What’s the Relationship Between Testosterone and Stress?

The relationship between fatigue and stress seems pretty clear. When you get stressed, your body works harder to cope with everything, and it gets tired. But where does testosterone fit in? Let’s break down the chemistry of what’s actually happening in your body when you’re stressed.

No matter where the stress is coming from — finances, work, your personal life and relationships, or just overall worry — your body responds by amping up its production of cortisol. This hormone, known as the “stress hormone” (there’s a hint as to what it does), actually inhibits your body’s production of testosterone. You need that testosterone to give you energy and fight against fatigue — but the increased cortisol keeps you from getting it when you need it. Now you’re in another vicious cycle, one where stress increases cortisol which decreases testosterone which decreases energy and increases fatigue. You have to dig into the root cause of all this to stop the cycle.

How Can You Know If Your Testosterone Levels Are Low?

Your men’s health doctor will certainly want to hear all about your symptoms related to fatigue as part of diagnosing the causes for what you’re experiencing. Fatigue isn’t the only symptom of low testosterone. Your doctor will also look for other symptoms related to testosterone deficiency, including:

  • Loss of sex drive/libido
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Weight gain, especially around the belly
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Loss of bone density
  • Insomnia
  • Brain fog (memory problems, loss of concentration)

While these symptoms may not seem related to one another on the surface, they certainly can be — and of course, they can be caused by other factors as well. If your doctor sees a pattern that involves several of these symptoms, however, they’re likely to want to test your testosterone levels. That can be done with a simple blood test. If the tests reveal that you do have low testosterone, there’s good news: this is something that can be treated.

How Can Testosterone Replacement Therapy Help With Fatigue?

Testosterone replacement therapy offers an effective treatment plan for pushing back fatigue and restoring energy levels for men who have low testosterone levels. Once your testosterone therapy has gotten underway, you should notice a greater sense of alertness and vitality, with drastically lessened feelings of fatigue. In addition, testosterone replacement therapy deals with other symptoms that you may have been experiencing, including low libido, erectile dysfunction and insomnia. It should also help you lose belly fat, develop greater muscle mass and enhance your concentration and focus.

Other Lifestyle Changes to Help Fight Fatigue

If low testosterone is at the root of your fatigue, testosterone replacement therapy is the key to dealing with it. In the meantime, you can take other steps to give yourself a little more energy, including the following:

  • Practice good sleep hygiene: This includes reducing screen time before you go to bed, keeping your bedroom cool and dark, not using your bedroom for anything other than sleep or sex and maintaining a consistent sleep schedule. As a bonus, your better sleep will give a little boost to your testosterone production.
  • Limiting alcohol consumption: This will also improve your sleep quality and help you maintain focus during the daytime.
  • Lose any extra weight: Yes, that’s easier said than done. But shedding even a few extra pounds helps alleviate fatigue while also improving your overall health.
  • Get regular exercise: Even walking or yoga a few times a week will help boost your energy levels if you don’t have time for a full workout at the gym.
  • Eat a healthy diet: Focus on fruits and veggies, whole grains and lean proteins to give your body the energy it needs for your daily activities (and minimize sugar and fats).

Is It Time to Get Your Testosterone Levels Tested?

If you’ve been fighting persistent fatigue and you suspect that your testosterone levels might be low, it’s essential to get the blood tests that can provide you with the answers you’ve been looking for. At Boston Vitality, we offer all the testing you need to provide an accurate diagnosis for your fatigue as well as appropriate treatment. Understanding what’s behind your exhaustion and addressing any issues surrounding low testosterone can improve your quality of life in ways you might only imagine right now.

You don’t have to be tired all the time. You don’t have to drag yourself through the week, hoping you’ll catch up on rest over the weekend, only to launch yourself into Monday morning still exhausted. Let us help you find out what’s going on with your body. It’s time to put fatigue in your past and reclaim the energy that you once enjoyed. Contact us today to make an appointment for testosterone testing so we can help you get back on the path to vitality and well-being.