Are You Ruining Your Testosterone?
Low Testosterone is a difficult condition that many men face every day. As many as 13 million Americans have low testosterone, and 90% of them will not seek low T treatment. With so many side effects, such as low energy, depression, low sex drive, weight gain, and erectile dysfunction, it’s safe to say that no man in the world desires to be diagnosed with low T. But what if you are causing low testosterone yourself without even knowing it? Although decreased levels of the male hormone occur naturally as a man ages, certain habits and activities could also be contributing to a drop. By being aware of these contributing factors, you can help keep your testosterone levels as high as possible.
Habits That Contribute to Low T
Testosterone levels are generally related to age and physical fitness. However, one of the first things that a low T doctor will ask you about is for more information about your lifestyle. This will help him/her identify any activities that may be contributing to the drop in hormone levels. Being overweight, inactivity, pain medications, steroid use, hair-loss medications, and insufficient sleep are all factors that could be causing decreased testosterone in your body.
Although age does have an influence on testosterone levels, the size of a man’s waist weighs more heavily on it (literally). Aging cannot be paused or stopped. On the contrary, weight gain can be reversed and controlled. Overweight and obese men see an incredible improvement in their testosterone levels when following a healthy diet and daily exercise regimen. If you are overweight, fight low T by losing 15% of your current weight. Although it may seem like a small percentage, this triggers a significant rise in testosterone without any assistance from low testosterone treatments.
Besides being detrimental to many other aspects of your well-being, being a couch potato can also cause low testosterone. This is not to be confused with being overweight, as inactivity is unhealthy for men of average weight as well. Exercise has numerous health benefits and helping reverse low T is one of them. By exercising for 40-60 minutes just 4 or 5 times a week, men will see noticeable improvements in their testosterone, bone density, fertility, memory, heart and sexual health, as well and overall mood.
While occasional use of narcotic painkillers is necessary, using them regularly can ruin your testosterone. A recent article in the May-June 2015 Journal of Opioid Management found a very strong link between narcotic pain medication and hypogonadism, which is the body’s inability to produce sufficient levels of the male hormone. If you are taking painkillers for chronic pain, talk to your doctor about alternative methods that will not affect your testosterone levels.
If you enjoy bodybuilding, stay away from steroids. When a man takes anabolic steroids, his testes shut down testosterone production completely. This not only affects him while he takes the steroids, but long after he discontinues using them as well.
Are you taking prescription medication to help delay or prevent baldness? Look out for ingredients such as finasteride, which causes low sex drive, sexual function, and – you guessed it – low testosterone. Do some research about any medication that you take, especially those for hair growth. If you find that any previous users have experienced sexual dysfunction or depression, ask you doctor for another option.
A good night’s sleep is important to you and your body’s ability to function each day. Poor sleeping patterns, including sleep disorders like sleep apnea, can lower your body’s testosterone-producing capabilities. Be sure that you get enough quality sleep each night. If you fear you have a sleep disorder, talk to your doctor to schedule a sleep study so that he/she can diagnose you properly.
In summary, here are 6 things to adapt in your lifestyle for healthy testosterone production:
– Maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight, devise a plan to lose weight and stick to it.
– Be sure to get enough physical activity. If you are not currently active, start with some moderate cardio and weight training.
– Stop using narcotic painkillers. Talk to your doctor about alternative methods for pain management.
– NEVER use anabolic steroids. If you have ever used them before, speak with a low T specialist about testosterone treatment options.
– Avoid harmful ingredients such as finasteride in any hair loss medications.
– Establish and maintain a regular sleep-wake cycle. Speak to a doctor if you feel you may have a condition that is preventing you from getting quality sleep.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of low T, schedule an appointment with a doctor. In the meantime, make any of the necessary changes above to your lifestyle to support your body’s ability to produce the important hormone.