- Can lack of testosterone make you tired?
- Why Am I Always Tired? Recognizing Common Causes of Fatigue In Men
- What Causes Fatigue In Men?
- Finding Relief From Fatigue
- How to Fight Fatigue From Low Testosterone
- Sleep and tiredness
- Lifestyle causes of tiredness
Can lack of testosterone make you tired?
In cases where testosterone levels are very low, hormone replacement therapy can be offered to relieve symptoms. This can be given in tablet form, patches, gels, implants and injections.
Often the symptoms of low testosterone don’t require treatment though, and instead a mixture of diet and lifestyle changes can improve things. This includes:
- Sleep – to tackle sleep deprivation and the resulting effects on your hormone levels try setting up a consistent sleep pattern. This will involve having a relaxing period before you go to bed where you read, take a bath, and avoid phones and computers. It will also involve going to bed at the same time each night and at a time that will ensure you get at least 8 hours of sleep
- De-stress – deep breathing techniques, practices such as yoga and even herbal remedies such as Stress Relief Daytime can help to ease symptoms of mild stress and anxiety. This will encourage a better night’s sleep which, in turn, should help to balance out your testosterone levels
- Adopt a healthy diet – fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrains and fresh (not processed) meat and fish keeps the body healthy. This is important as being overweight can cause testosterone levels to fluctuate
- Participate in regular exercise – this can improve mood and increase energy levels, plus it keeps you fit and healthy! It is also recommended to restore muscle mass and function.
Lack of zinc can also cause a dip in testosterone levels – one particular study found that 4 weeks of zinc supplements prevented a decline in testosterone levels in sedentary men. Therefore, increasing your intake of this important mineral could help to even out your hormone levels.
Foods such as meat, legumes, shellfish and dairy all offer plenty of zinc but for a bit of extra support you could turn to our Balance Mineral Drink. With a helpful combination of magnesium, vitamin D, calcium, potassium and, of course, zinc, this product may help to relieve symptoms relating to low testosterone levels such as fatigue. It also maintains normal muscle function and bone maintenance, both of which can suffer when testosterone levels fall.
My Top Tip:
Pour one sachet of Balance Mineral Drink into a glass containing 150ml of water or milk and then stir well. The drink has a natural strawberry flavour so is both refreshing and tasty!
“I am now a regular purchaser of this producct, it has really helped me with fatigue. Pleasant tasting… I now add it to my daily smoothie as part of my healthy eating routine. One of many products recommended to me and i’m feeling GREAT after a period of poor health.”
Read what other people are saying about Balance Mineral Drink.
Why Am I Always Tired? Recognizing Common Causes of Fatigue In Men
Chances are that you’re familiar with the sense of heaviness that sits in your mind and your body after a long day of work. Sometimes, you even might catch yourself waking up in the morning with the same feelings. Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep. Or maybe you overdid it the day before. Most of the time, you can pull yourself out of bed and shake it off. But what if … you can’t? What if it persists?
Most of the time when we feel fatigued, we can point to a cause and set aside some extra time to rest or to address whatever is making us tired. On the other hand, when we can’t figure out why our energy is low, it can be a sign that the fatigue is a part of something larger. Often, common causes of fatigue in men can sneak up on you and leave you feeling exhausted without warning. If you are struggling with fatigue, you should pay close attention to these potential causes and ensure that you have the knowledge you need to get back to feeling healthy and energetic once again.
What Causes Fatigue In Men?
The reason it can be hard to get over fatigue is that fatigue is a feature of countless normal activities like strenuous exercise as well as a plethora of health problems, including everything from seasonal allergies to cancer. This means that if you’re frequently fatigued, your best course of action is to see a practitioner who can investigate the source of your symptoms and create a plan for how to address them.
But while many factors can strip you of your energy, there are a few culprits that are especially common. These include your lifestyle, depression or anxiety, low testosterone, and hypothyroidism. If these explain your fatigue, there are ways to get you back on track—but you’ll need to understand what you’re experiencing first.
Your lifestyle is an important place of vulnerability when it comes to your risk of experiencing fatigue. Whereas a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and frequent exercise can offer significant protection, the following lifestyle factors can contribute to your feeling of fatigue:
- Low sleep quality
- Low sleep duration
- Poor diet
- Poor work-life balance
- Habitually low physical activity
- Moderate to high alcohol consumption
- Use of certain recreational or prescription drugs
While these factors can have a significant impact on your energy levels, you can typically address them with relatively simple changes in behavior. Cutting back on work, alcohol, and unhealthy food can often help you recover from fatigue relatively quickly. Of course, some changes are harder than others, and you may need help in both understanding what steps to take and in taking them. Depending on your situation, this may mean working with a practitioner, nutritionist, psychologist, or support group that can offer the kind of support you need as you begin your recovery journey.
Anxiety, Depression, and Other Mental Health Disorders
When your mind is constantly scrambling, your body is often just as restless. As a result of the mental load of worrying and the physical load of tense muscles and a rapid heartbeat, anxiety frequently leaves you feeling drained and fatigued. In fact, for many men, anxiety is the primary cause of fatigue.
Depression is also well-known to significantly diminish energy levels. For some, the fatigue makes everyday tasks more difficult and unpleasant, but still doable. For others, simply getting out of bed or taking a shower becomes difficult. Even in mild cases, people with depression often lose the motivation to be physically active. It’s important to understand that inactivity stemming from depression isn’t the same as rest—and fatigue which doesn’t go away after resting is a major feature of depression. In fact, inactivity can further reinforce fatigue.
While physical symptoms of depression such as fatigue can happen to anyone, evidence suggests that men may be particularly vulnerable while simultaneously being less prone to symptoms that are more typically associated with depression, such as deep sadness. Because men often experience depression differently than women do and are not encouraged to explore and express difficult emotions in the same way, many men fail to recognize their symptoms as depression and are significantly less likely to seek treatment. However, depression is not something to be ashamed of and getting the right treatment can help you restore the emotion and physical harmony you need to thrive.
Anxiety and depression are not the only psychiatric conditions associated with fatigue. If you are experiencing any symptoms of a mental health disorder, visiting a psychiatrist for a thorough evaluation and diagnosis is critical to understanding what you are going through and getting the help you need to live a healthy and fulfilling life.
Low testosterone levels often lead to fatigue in men and can impact you even if you have no other symptoms of hormonal imbalance. In your body, testosterone is partially responsible for regulating the rate at which you gain muscle, expend energy, and maintain your lean body mass. When you don’t have enough testosterone, your body can’t unlock the power and energy to which you are accustomed, which leaves you feeling fatigued. In fact, fatigue is so closely associated with low testosterone that it is one of the hallmark features that practitioners use to diagnose low-T.
There is plentiful evidence of the impact of low testosterone on energy levels. A 2016 study, for example, found only 4.9% of men with normal testosterone levels reported that they frequently felt fatigued in comparison to 9.2% of men with low testosterone levels. When controlled for the age, lifestyle, and weight of the men, this difference meant that men with low-T were around 40% more likely to report being fatigued. Furthermore, the men with low testosterone scored significantly worse on a depression scoring scale (Black Depression Inventory) than those with normal testosterone levels, indicating that low-T may affect energy levels via multiple mechanisms.
If you suspect that low testosterone levels are causing your fatigue, you should also be aware of the other symptoms of low-T, which include difficulty gaining muscle, low mood, and low sex drive. Men start to experience dropping testosterone levels as they age, meaning that many men may start to notice symptoms of low T in their 40s—which is exactly when their lifestyle may also be changing. If you think that low testosterone is contributing to your fatigue, it’s important to know that low-T is typically easy to treat when you work with the right practitioner.
Hypothyroidism is a powerful driver of fatigue in men because it means your body is not getting enough of the thyroid hormones it needs to keep your energy at a normal level. Of these thyroid hormones, two of them, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), are especially important in terms of their ability to prevent fatigue. The reason for this is that T3 and T4 are partially responsible for regulating your heart rate, metabolism, breathing rate, and breakdown of fat molecules. When your body doesn’t have the tools it needs to upregulate these functions, it means that you’re likely to become exhausted far more quickly than you would otherwise—even if you’re not exerting yourself.
In one recent study, the process of internalizing oxygen and exhausting carbon dioxide was 23% slower in people with hypothyroidism than in healthy people. As the researchers note, this slower speed causes “greater metabolic cost to perform repeated tasks and significant impairment of daily living tasks.” In other words, fatigue that you experience as a result of hypothyroidism can disrupt your ability to participate in even everyday activities and self-care.
Fatigue isn’t the only symptom of hypothyroidism, of course. People with hypothyroidism also often experience weight gain, inability to concentrate, depression, and dry skin. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should consider the possibility of hypothyroidism very seriously. The only way to definitively diagnose hypothyroidism is with blood testing administered by a practitioner skilled in treating hormonal health conditions. They will also provide you with a comprehensive treatment plan to help you restore balance.
Finding Relief From Fatigue
After looking at these common causes of fatigue in men, you may have a few ideas about where your low energy is coming from—and how to fix it. But you shouldn’t start this journey alone. Your best course of action is to consult a practitioner who understands you and your body’s needs and will offer the tests you need to achieve an accurate diagnosis. With all the facts in hand, you can work together to develop a strategy for getting back on track and feeling like yourself again. This may include medications as well as lifestyle changes designed to reinvigorate your mind and body.
Many men assume that fatigue is simply a fact of life as they get older, busier, and take on more responsibilities. But whether it’s lifestyle-related or the sign of a serious medical issue, you should never ignore persistent fatigue. By getting to the root of what is happening, you can ensure that you protect your physical and emotional health and live life to its fullest.
If you’re experiencing fatigue, BodyLogicMD can help you. Our network of highly-trained practitioners specializes in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and integrative medicine, making them uniquely qualified to identify and treat a wide range of health issues. If your fatigue is hormone-related, they will use the most cutting-edge therapies and lifestyle supports available to help you restore your energy levels and experience the life you deserve. Get started on a customized treatment plan designed to fit your needs and help you reach optimal wellness—contact a local practitioner to schedule your first appointment or take the BodyLogicMD Hormone Balance Quiz today.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. All content on this website is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases.
Charlotte is a patient care coordinator specializing in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. She is committed to helping patients who struggle with the symptoms of hormonal change and imbalance explore their treatment options and develop effective strategies to optimize wellness.
How to Fight Fatigue From Low Testosterone
One of the trademark symptoms of low testosterone in men is chronic fatigue — the type of tiredness that doesn’t improve after rest.
About 5 million men in the Unites States have low testosterone, and fatigue is one of the ailment’s most common and debilitating symptoms, along with loss of muscle strength, mood changes, and lack of interest in sex.
But what is the relationship between fatigue and low testosterone? The hormone testosterone, produced mainly by the testes, drives a man’s sexual desire. It also helps make sperm cells, maintains muscle, and generates energy. Testosterone levels decrease in all men with age, typically about 1 to 2 percent per year after age 40. As part of normal aging, energy may start to drop a little, and interest in sex may decline a bit as well. However, it’s not normal for testosterone levels to get so low that fatigue impacts daily activities or for there to be a complete loss of interest in sex.
Energy-Boosting Tips for Low Testosterone
Fortunately, there are several options men have to rev up energy levels again.
“I always recommend easier lifestyle changes first,” says Aaron Lentz, MD, an assistant professor of surgery in the division of urologic surgery at Duke University in Durham, N.C.
Here, Dr. Lentz offers six suggestions how men can boost energy and break out of low testosterone-related fatigue:
Check for other ailments. Men should ask their doctors if other conditions or medications may be contributing to fatigue. Sleep apnea, thyroid disease, and medications such as narcotic pain pills and some antidepressants can cause fatigue along with a drop in testosterone levels. Addressing these conditions first may alleviate the fatigue from low testosterone.
Get plenty of sleep. During sleep is when men produce most of their daily testosterone. Less sleep means less testosterone. So, one of Lentz’s first recommendations is to get a good night’s sleep. If having too much caffeine is disrupting your sleep, try consuming less and at earlier times during the day. And if sleep apnea is a problem, treat it.
Eat a healthy diet. A balanced diet that’s low in saturated fat with a rich mix of fruit, vegetables, and a moderate amount of animal fat, can help diminish feelings of fatigue. Part of a healthy diet also means drinking alcohol only in moderation. Too much alcohol can cause fatigue and liver dysfunction, which ultimately can lower testosterone levels, Lentz says.
Break a sweat. Exercise will naturally increase your testosterone levels, according to Lentz. Do what you enjoy, whether it’s walking, playing sports, riding a bike, or lifting weights. Regular exercise can help you feel more energized, control your weight, and improve your overall health.
Treat depression. It’s also important to be treated for any depression or anxiety, which will tap your energy and has been found to be related to low testosterone. In one study, Toronto researchers compared the testosterone levels of men ages 40 to 65 who were depressed with those who were not depressed. They found that the men with depression had lower levels of testosterone. Although antidepressants that fall into the drug class of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors may negatively affect a man’s sex drive and performance, Lentz says there are other types of antidepressants that shouldn’t interfere.
Follow your low testosterone treatment plan. After treating other testosterone-lowering conditions, such as diabetes, depression, or obesity, your doctor may suggest a testosterone therapy. Some men feel better and more energized once their testosterone levels have gotten back to a normal range, Lentz says. However, some men don’t feel better after starting treatment. In that case, a different type of treatment may help. There’s a caveat to supplementing testosterone: These supplemental forms of testosterone inhibit the normal ability of the testicles to produce the hormone, and Lentz says that means your testicles may never produce testosterone again once you start therapy. Once you start, you may need to continue the therapy for life. And testosterone therapy also isn’t recommended for men who want children in the future because it can impair fertility.
The overall result? Lentz has seen many of his men improve their energy levels and start feeling better. If testosterone therapy is right for you, it could potentially help you kick the fatigue. But that doesn’t mean it’s magic — a healthy diet, regular exercise, not smoking, and taking good care of yourself in general are still a must and can help you regain your energy.
Fatigue in men is a very real issue and because of the prevalence of advertising about treatments for low testosterone, or “Low T,” I have men asking for testosterone replacement therapy by name multiple times a day in my office.
Testosterone is the hormone that makes a man a man. It controls his outlook, energy, competitiveness and it increases muscle mass and bone density. A lot of the energy return men get when they add testosterone is the return of that outlook and competitiveness and those positive feelings.
Men with low testosterone can get symptoms of depression, but often times you can reverse that. Many men in their 70s supplement their testosterone and it makes them feel better without seeming to cause any problems.
Although testosterone replacement therapy can be a very good option for men who need it, it may not always be the perfect solution to your particular problem. It’s not always the quick fix that advertisements tell you it is.
There are so many causes of fatigue and low energy levels, ranging from poor sleep, to medications a person might be taking, lack of exercise, poor diet, obesity and even certain diseases such as diabetes. Taking testosterone wouldn’t necessarily help if one of these issues is the root cause of your fatigue.
Too many men today that are dealing with fatigue are quick to assume low energy equals low testosterone, but it’s important to make sure there isn’t something else causing the problem. It’s becoming too easy for a man to go and get testosterone replacement and maybe overlook a more important medical problem.
For example, many men can have undiagnosed hypertension. Or undiagnosed cardiovascular disease. Maybe their exercise routine has lapsed. Or they are obese.
In men who have loss of libido, fatigue, low energy and have demonstrable low testosterone levels, then replacement therapy can be beneficial in some but not all of those men. It depends on the age of the man.
If you are younger and at an age where fertility is important, you have to be careful with testosterone therapy. In an older man, you have the possibility of associated prostate cancer. The therapy doesn’t increase the risk of prostate cancer, but you can have it and not know it and testosterone will advance the disease.
However, well-monitored testosterone therapy is safe. We check blood counts every four to six months, for example.
If you are interested to find out if this therapy is right for you, I always recommend you go see your internist. I prefer to manage testosterone supplementation in coordination with an internal medicine physician so we can work together to watch medications, weight and diet.
A drop in testosterone in men is natural. The testicles, over time, just stop producing it. It’s not unlike female menopause; only it tends to diminish over time and is a much slower progression in men. It’s hard to equate this with a certain age in men, because testosterone levels begin to drop in men at different ages and at different rates.
With the drop in testosterone, you begin to lose muscle mass and strength and endurance. If you are a biker that is used to riding 50 miles at a time and now that same 50 miles is killing you, it could be the testosterone level naturally dropping and you want it back. This is an example where replacement therapy could be a great solution.
I tell men, though, that they have to work at it. Whatever their age, they need to be exercising, which naturally boosts energy. They need to be eating right and we also need to rule out any other possible medical issues that could be contributing to their lack of energy.
Although in many cases supplementing your testosterone levels can help boost your energy, unfortunately it isn’t the magic bullet that will make a man in his 60s feel 30 again. But it can help make you the best at 60 that you can
Sleep and tiredness
Lifestyle causes of tiredness
In today’s 24/7 “always on” world, we often try to cram too much into our daily lives.
And to try to stay on top of things, we sometimes consume too much alcohol or caffeine, or eat sugary and high-fat snacks on the go rather than sitting down for a proper meal.
The main lifestyle causes of tiredness include:
Drinking too much interferes with the quality of your sleep. Stick to the guidelines of no more than 14 units a week for both men and women.
Read more about how to cut down on alcohol.
Too much or too little exercise can affect how tired you feel.
Read more about the benefits of exercise.
Too much of this stimulant, found in tea, coffee, colas and energy drinks, can upset sleep and make you feel wound-up as well as tired.
Try decaffeinated tea and coffee, or gradually cut out caffeine altogether.
Night workers often find they get tired more easily. This is more likely if the timing of the shifts keeps changing.
If you’re tired, you may nap during the day, which can make it more difficult to get a good night’s sleep.
Read more about how to change your lifestyle habits to boost your energy.
Robbie Williams … had the testosterone levels of an 80-year-old. Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters
“So we have got thousands of men walking round feeling rubbish who, even if they get their testosterone tested, are told they’re in the normal zone and can’t be treated,” he says. This matters because, if it is left untreated, low testosterone can result in osteoporosis, high cholesterol, raised blood pressure and mental health issues.
While age-related decline is the biggest cause of the condition, younger men can be affected, too: there is up to a 60% prevalence among obese men, a 47% prevalence among those with metabolic syndrome and a 45% prevalence among men with type 2 diabetes.
Men who are naturally at the upper range of normal testosterone production and who eat a healthy diet, exercise, limit their intake of alcohol, opiates and other prescribed medicines may never notice any symptoms of age-related testosterone decline. Those already at the lower end of normal, however, or who have other medical problems that reduce their testosterone production, will slowly begin to notice an onset of symptoms. Over months or years, these men have symptoms including decreased energy and strength, poorer concentration and memory, low mood, reduced sex drive and poorer erection quality. It can be harder to make gains in exercise, and they get fatter despite eating well. Many experience facial- or body-hair loss, and have night sweats or flushing.
The similarities with the symptoms of women’s menopause have triggered some discussion about whether men can have an equivalent “andropause”. This has been largely discredited because the female menopause happens when a woman’s body suddenly produces far less oestrogen; more like a cliff-edge. A man, on the other hand, gradually produces less testosterone.
Men with low testosterone can be misdiagnosed as having chronic fatigue, depression, chronic infections, low thyroid, anaemia, liver disease, heart failure, thyroid disease, diabetes, autoimmune disease, insomnia or stress. Those with night sweats are sometimes told they have lymphoma.
Foster adds that TRT is not a miracle drug that can solve all men’s physical ills. “While low testosterone is certainly undertested and underdiagnosed in the UK, that does not mean TRT is the answer to all our male health problems,” he says. And not everyone with low testosterone needs treatment. The cause of the imbalance may be something that, if stopped or reversed, would lead to the body producing its own testosterone again without medical help: stopping taking pain medication, for example, or losing weight. If, however, the low testosterone has a nonreversible cause, men can require lifelong replacement therapy.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning in 2014 about a possible increased risk of heart attacks and strokes with the use of testosterone replacement, although other studies have not come to the same conclusion, and further research has been requested by the FDA. In the meantime, it recommends that testosterone is prescribed for men who do not produce testosterone or who have low levels as a result of a medical condition that requires treatment, such as chemotherapy. In the UK, there are no official NHS guidelines. .
Foster’s patients tend to come to his clinic after months, if not years, of health problems. “It takes so long because it’s a slow-onset disease, and many people are told: ‘You’re just working too hard’, ‘It’s normal … you’re just getting older’ or ‘You shouldn’t have sex much now you’re in your 50s’,” he says. This means that many take action only when they have specific symptoms, such as night sweats or severe erectile dysfunction, or they break a bone from osteoporosis.
Foster warns against home testing kits. “There’s almost no way for a nonprofessional to use a home testing kit safely or effectively,” he says. He has devised an online questionnaire to help determine whether low testosterone could be affecting you. “It is not an exhaustive tool,” he says, “but it can be helpful in diagnosis. If you’re concerned, go to your GP.”
Vossen says all men who are concerned about their energy levels should get tested. “A drop in men’s vitality is brushed under the carpet in our society as an inevitable part of ageing,” he says. “But from my experience, men don’t have to accept the loss of their vitality. They can do something about it.”
• This article was amended on 11 September 2019 to remove an incorrect reference to the Society for Endocrinology’s recommendations. The Society’s position on the issue is set out here.