Hormones and Men’s Mental Health: Is There a Connection?
It’s normal for guys to cycle through moods. We don’t wake up happy, cheerful, and ready to take on the world each morning. Good days, bad days; this is all a part of life. Our moods can generally change and fluctuate slightly depending on several factors. But when it becomes more than slight changes, how do you know when your hormones affect your mental health?
Are you experiencing brain fog, anxiety, depression, or an unnatural emotional whirlwind? If you’re feeling overly stressed and moody but don’t know why, you could be experiencing a hormonal imbalance. But how would you even know if your hormones are out of whack?
Can Hormone Imbalance Cause Psychological Problems?
When there are hormonal imbalances in the body, they can wreak havoc in myriad ways. Depending on which hormone or hormones are unbalanced, they can cause symptoms like unexpected weight loss or weight gain, problems sleeping, or sexual dysfunctions.
However, as much as most men like to discount a hormonal imbalance attributed to how they act or how it affects their mental health, they cause psychological problems. Of course, some hormones affect mental health more than others, but there is a correlation between a hormonal imbalance and your mental and emotional health.
A Quick Overview of Hormonal Imbalances in Men
Some men may be completely unaware of their hormonal changes or imbalances. What appears to be somewhat normal to them, they ignore symptoms that could very well be their body trying to tell them something is wrong. Unfortunately, this is a common reaction many men have when they refuse to admit that something strange is happening with their physical and mental state.
Although a hormonal imbalance in men can wave many different types of red flags, both physical and mental, some warning signs are more common than others. Male hormones and mental health go hand-in-hand, so psychological disorders caused by hormonal imbalances are important to notice. Once you become aware of them, you should address them with the help of a men’s healthcare professional.
The endocrine glands secrete hormones and travel through the bloodstream. They are responsible for regulating certain bodily functions. Therefore, changes in these functions could be a signal of hormonal imbalances.
Some bodily functions that hormones regulate are:
- Body temperature
- Sleep cycles
- Heart rate
- Sexual functions
- Mental health
If you’re experiencing extreme changes to your physical, emotional, or mental well-being, a possible culprit could be too much or too little of a hormone or a combination of hormones in your bloodstream. In addition, any changes in sleep or mood could be a sign of a hormonal imbalance.
Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy diet are usually the path to losing unwanted fat and building lean muscle. However, if you’re religiously doing both but not burning the fat or building muscle, the culprit could be an undiagnosed hormonal imbalance.
Also, the sudden and disproportionate development of breast tissue in men is a huge signal of a hormonal imbalance. Gynecomastia doesn’t come from a sedentary or unhealthy lifestyle; it directly results from a hormonal imbalance. This condition isn’t dangerous physically, but it can play a role in self-image and bring on a whole slew of emotional problems.
What Hormones Affect Men’s Mental Health and How?
We have over 50 different hormones in our bodies, each with a specific purpose, while some are directly related to mood and emotional health. Any imbalances with them could be the culprit of depression, anxiety, mood swings, and other mental health issues. While an imbalance in some will only cause physical issues directly, these imbalances can also affect how guys feel emotionally.
Low Testosterone Links with Depression
Recent studies suggest that men with low testosterone are likelier to experience depression than men with healthy levels. In addition, men who have low testosterone levels could experience sexual problems, namely a lack of desire for sexual activity and problems achieving or maintaining an erection. Sexual issues typically increase stress, anxiety, irritability, and other emotional problems.
Testosterone isn’t solely responsible for your libido. It’s also connected to other bodily functions. For example, this essential hormone also helps regulate body fat distribution, bone and muscle mass, and the production of sperm and red blood cells. As a result, low testosterone levels can affect men in many ways, such as difficulty building muscle, which could indirectly cause emotional problems.
Cortisol Plays a Major Role in Stress Symptoms
Cortisol is the body’s main stress hormone. When the brain perceives a threat, it releases cortisol and adrenaline. These two combine to spring the body into the flight-or-fight mode in response. Therefore, men going through a difficult time in their lives and suffering from an abnormal amount of stress could have issues with their cortisol levels, leading to emotional issues.
Too much constant cortisol in the bloodstream can initially result in elevated feelings of euphoria, which could lead to mania. However, over time, a steady release of cortisol can bring about feelings of irritability, mood swings, and depression. Cortisol deficiency can also have guys feeling irritable, but it mostly makes them depressed and apathetic. So depending on the cortisol level in the system, you’ll either feel way too up or anxious or too down and depressed.
Imbalanced Thyroid Hormones May Make You Feel Hopeless
Thyroid hormones are responsible for many of our body’s functions, including regulating body temperature, the growth of hair, skin, and nails, and metabolism. Hypothyroidism, a condition that results in a decrease in the production of thyroid hormones, has been linked to an increased risk of depression. Men with hypothyroidism could experience fatigue, an increase in body fat, problems with concentration, loss of sexual desire, along with feelings of hopelessness.
Psychological Warning Signs of Hormonal Imbalance in Men
Recognizing that you have an imbalance of hormones could be quite tricky. The symptoms can be inconsistent, or you may connect them to another culprit. But, quite frankly, most men don’t give their hormones a second thought and typically attribute their troubles with sleep, stress, weight gain, or bedroom problems as a normal part of a guy’s life.
The red flags of a hormonal imbalance come in many forms, mostly physical, but there are some emotional indications too. Unfortunately, as men, we shy away from speaking to our doctors or healthcare professionals about our sexual and emotional health. This is, however, incredibly counterproductive. Hormonal imbalances can be easily corrected if we have a conversation that will improve our quality of life.
Many of the warning signs of a hormonal imbalance in men are physical. Still, each one can cause damage to our egos, which can increase the likelihood of further psychological problems. If you’re experiencing any of the issues below, it’s time to speak to a men’s healthcare professional. A simple test will determine if your symptoms result from a hormonal imbalance.
From a guy’s teenage years to late adulthood, sex or thoughts of sex are a big part of most men’s days. Whether we act upon these thoughts or not is irreverent. Although it’s normal for men’s sex drive to lessen as they age, noticing a sudden and prolonged decrease in an appetite for sex could hint at a hormonal issue.
The inability to reach or keep an erection suitable for a sexual experience is a crushing blow to a guy’s ego. Many ED treatments work quite well and could solve the issue, but sometimes erectile dysfunction is hormonal and not physical. The loss of the ability to have a sexual encounter can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and irritability.
It’s too typical for guys to hide their emotional issues and chalk up things like mood swings, irritability, and insomnia as part of the male existence. However, sudden changes in emotional well-being could be a sign that there’s a hormonal imbalance. There is a link between male hormones and mental health.
Other emotional indications of an imbalance include:
- Mood swings
- Brain fog
- An increase in stress and anxiety
Learning More about Your Hormones Is the First Step Towards Improved Physical and Mental Health
Men’s hormonal imbalances can significantly impact their physical and mental health. Imbalances in testosterone and other hormones can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, decreased libido, depression, and anxiety. However, many men may not be aware that they have a hormonal imbalance until they experience these symptoms, which can be confusing and distressing.
Besides valuing your well-being more, an at-home hormone test kit can help identify potential hormonal imbalances early on, allowing for timely intervention and treatment. By taking the test at home, you can easily check for imbalances in key hormones such as testosterone and cortisol.
Once the results are available, a telemed consultation with a men’s health professional can provide further guidance on addressing any imbalances detected. This can help prevent or alleviate mental health and psychological problems caused by hormonal imbalances, improving overall well-being and quality of life.
Therefore, using a men’s biomarkers at-home test kit can be essential in taking control of your health and preventing or mitigating potential mental health and psychological problems caused by hormonal imbalances. However, it is important to seek the guidance of a healthcare professional to interpret test results and develop an appropriate treatment plan.
How To Regulate Hormones and Mental Health Naturally
Preventative measures are a great way to ensure that your hormones stay balanced and help to improve your mental health. Taking care of your physical body is almost a given as a guy, but taking steps to care for your mental and emotional health is just as important.
Taking care of your physical body can help to take care of your mental health. Here are some suggestions to keep your body and mind healthy.
Keeping your body moving, flexible, and strong are keep not only for your physical health but also plays an equal role in your mental health. If you’re not the type to hit the gym to pump iron, you can exercise in other ways that are just as beneficial. Brisk walks, jogging, or even playing some light-hearted football with the guys can help to keep you in good shape. A sedentary lifestyle can increase cortisol in the body, keeping you anxious.
Embrace a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet daily can do wonders for not only your physical health but also your mental health. Ensuring you consume the proper amount of leafy greens, complex carbohydrates, and avoiding processed foods can help keep your testosterone and other hormones balanced.
Daily mindfulness and meditation help you keep your mind at ease. Letting go of the day’s stressors, even just for a few minutes a day, can help to keep your mind focused. A healthy mind is crucial to keeping your entire body working as calmly and efficiently as possible. If sitting cross-legged while chanting OM is beyond your reach, try quiet walks in nature.
Go to Your Regular Medical Checkups
Visiting your primary care physician annually is the proper way to stay on top of your physical and mental health. Be open and honest and tell them of any emotional issues you’re experiencing. For example, hormonal imbalances could cause many mental health problems. Your doctor or men’s health professional can test your levels to see if they’re the root of your problems.
Sleep More (And Better)
Inadequate sleep can affect how our bodies release hormones. Hormonal imbalances are sometimes the result of not giving your body the rest it needs. As is the practice with many men, endless doom-scrolling on social media before sleep can increase stress and release cortisol and should be avoided.
Speak with a Mental Health Professional
There is no shame in seeking professional mental health counseling. However, for some guys, regular sessions with a psychologist or life coach can help to relieve the stress of daily life. They can also help to discover the sources of their stress, irritability, and other mental health issues.
Hormones and Men’s Mental Health: Final Thoughts
Gone are the days of men white-knuckling their way through particularly difficult emotional times. There’s no need to hide problems with their mental health quietly, and they should be confident enough in their masculinity to seek assistance. Since there’s a direct link between hormonal imbalances and men’s mental health, having hormonal levels tested should be a part of every man’s healthcare.
Don’t hesitate to speak to a healthcare professional if you have any signs of a hormonal imbalance. There are several treatment options available. Don’t forget; taking care of your health includes taking care of your mind as well.