Hypothyroidism and Low Testosterone—Male Hormone Imbalances That Can Damage Your Quality of Life
While many people think of hypothyroidism as primarily a female health issue, it affects men, too. In fact, there’s a connection between hypothyroidism and low testosterone that you should be aware of if you’re having problems with chronic fatigue, an unexplained loss of sex drive, or declining quality of life.
The symptoms of chronic male hormone imbalances that too often are passed off as “getting older” can have serious, negative effects. If you suffer from either or both of these health issues, male hypothyroidism or low testosterone, there’s good news:
Treatment is available and effective.
What Is Hypothyroidism?
The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland located just below your Adam’s apple (larynx) that is responsible for production of T3, which is short for triiodothyronine, the medical term for thyroid hormone.
When your thyroid doesn’t function properly, you either get too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism), or too little thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism).
T3 has regulatory effects on most organs of the body and regulates our overall metabolic rate, thus the connection to changes in body weight and energy levels.
Symptoms of thyroid hormone fluctuation affect the skeleton, the heart, and the metabolic machinery of your cells. Specific symptoms of hypothyroidism (low thyroid) may include:
- Low libido
- Erectile dysfunction (ED)
- Elevated cholesterol and weight gain
- Dry skin
- Inability to concentrate and remember
- Low blood pressure
- Thinning outer eyebrows
- Feeling cold
You’ll likely notice that some of the symptoms in this list are the same as the symptoms commonly associated with low testosterone, especially those related to energy levels, sexual function, concentration, and weight fluctuation—not surprising considering the connection between hypothyroidism and low testosterone.
Research into the Connection Between Hypothyroidism and Low T
Researchers have observed a chain reaction that often begins in the thyroid gland that in turn affects testosterone production:
- Healthy production of thyroid hormone stimulates the hypothalamus to produce GnRH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone)
- GnRH then signals the pituitary gland to produce LH (luteinizing hormone)
- LH signals the testes to produce testosterone
If your body starts off with insufficient thyroid hormone production (hypothyroidism), a normal level of GnRH won’t be produced. The pituitary gland then gets a weak signal that results in low production of LH. Poor LH production means the testes aren’t told to produce sufficient testosterone to fuel many of your body’s critical systems.
You go from hypothyroidism to hypogonadism (the medical term for low testosterone).
More research is available here.
Low T and Hypothyroidism in Men—Get a Blood Test
In order to correctly diagnose your problem and confirm that your symptoms are due to hypothyroidism, low testosterone, or both, a focused blood test is needed.
The usual blood tests, such as those commonly administered at yearly physical exams, simply take a high-level view of the situation that may or may detect a problem. Since they aren’t looking for anything in particular, these tests are notorious for failing to catch the actual indicators of a hormone imbalance. When TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) and total testosterone levels (the figures most often used in initial exams) show themselves to be within a normal range, most medical practitioners see no reason to further investigate a hormone problem.
At TCT, we insist on going further to confirm hypothyroidism by checking 2 other very important hormones produced in the thyroid:
- Free T3 (triiodothyronine)
- Free T4 (thyroxine)
While these hormones make up less than 1% of your thyroid’s total hormone production, they are the hormones your body most relies upon to function properly.
In the case of low testosterone, using a calculated free testosterone test is necessary to make a proper diagnosis. The difficulty is that free testosterone levels aren’t one size fits all. If you’re experiencing symptoms, the numbers are somewhat subjective—you might still have testosterone levels that are too low for your body.
Learn more about male hypothyroid treatment here.
Finding the Source of Your Symptoms — Get a Free Consultation
We recommend taking the first step towards feeling better by getting a thorough examination that focuses on finding the actual source of your symptoms.
To put this another way, a diagnosis of hypothyroidism is made by first listening carefully to a patient describing their symptoms, and then carefully examining the blood test results in order to confirm or rule out the often hard-to-detect hormone imbalances like hypothyroidism and low testosterone.
Symptoms first, data second.
Hormone imbalance issues are complicated, and correct diagnosis and treatment are required to restore and maintain overall balance. We have expertise in the latest research and treatment techniques
We’re looking forward to helping you experience a symptom-free life and get back to feeling your best, not just achieving a pre-determined number on a blood test.
At Testosterone Centers of Texas (TCT), your first consultation is free.
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