Men's Health

Men with “Low T” Have Higher Rates of Depression

Researchers at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., led by Michael S. Irwig, M.D., found that men referred for specialized consultive care for borderline testosterone levels had much higher rates of depression and depressive symptoms than those of the general population.

A release from the university quotes Dr. Irwig, associate professor of medicine and director of the Center for Andrology at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences, as saying, "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. We felt it important to explore the mental health of this population."

The research, published online on July 1st 2015 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, involved 200 adult men aged 20-77, with a mean age of 48, who were referred for borderline total testosterone levels between 200 and 350 ng/dL. Information gathered included demographics, medical histories, medication use, signs and symptoms of hypogonadism, and assessments of depressive symptoms and/or a known diagnosis of depression or use of an antidepressant.

Depression and/or depressive symptoms were present in 56 percent of the subjects. Furthermore, one quarter of the men in the study were taking antidepressants and that the men had high rates of obesity and low rates of physical activity. The most common symptoms were erectile dysfunction, decreased libido, fewer morning erections, low energy, and sleep disturbances.

While more research is needed in this area of study, the researchers concluded that clinicians should consider screening for depression and depressive symptoms, overweight and unhealthy lifestyle factors in men who are referred for tertiary care for potential hypogonadism. 

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