Low testosterone linked to higher rates of depression

Researchers found that 56 percent of men with low testosterone also have depression or depressive symptoms.

By Stephen Feller

WASHINGTON, July 1 (UPI) -- More than half of men with low levels of testosterone have depression or depressive symptoms, a rate much higher than among the general population, researchers said in a new study.

George Washington University researchers reviewed medical records and surveys for 200 men between the ages of 20 and 77, with a mean age of 48, who had been referred to tertiary care for borderline low levels of the hormone, or hypogonadism. They found 56 percent of those men had depression and/or depressive symptoms, a quarter of the subjects were taking antidepressants, and the participants in the study had high rates of obesity and low rates of physical activity.


"In an era where more and more men are being tested for 'Low T' -- or lower levels of testosterone -- there is very little data about the men who have borderline low testosterone levels," said Michael Irwig, M.D., associate professor of medicine and director of the Center for Andrology at the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, in a press release. "We felt it important to explore the mental health of this population."


Among participants who were either depressed or had depressive symptoms, the most common symptoms reported included erectile dysfunction, decreased libido, fewer morning erections, low energy, and sleep disturbances.

Researchers suggest clinicians screen patients referred to them for tertiary care for potential hypogonadism for depression, obesity, and unhealthy lifestyle factors that may also need to be treated.

The study is published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

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