How much do you know about testosterone? You probably associate it with masculine qualities like facial hair, toned muscles, and virility. If testosterone is low, it can interfere with libido and even fertility. So, should you take testosterone to boost your fertility? Fertility doctors say no.
Why can taking a testosterone supplement be a problem? These supplements can sometimes impede the body’s natural ability to produce testosterone, actually undermining a man’s fertility. Worse, many men take it when their testosterone isn’t actually low, thinking this will make it easier for them to conceive a child. Unfortunately, it can have the opposite effect.
It is true that low testosterone can lead to problems with sex drive and fertility. However, it is also true that testosterone levels fluctuate over the course of a day. What’s more, testosterone is not the only hormone involved in fertility. Two important hormones, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), are produced by the pituitary gland. That gland is stimulated by gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which is produced by the hypothalamus, located in the brain. When the hypothalamus produces GnRH, it triggers the pituitary gland, prompting it to release LH and FSH. FSH activates the production of sperm cells, and LH stimulates testosterone production.
Taking testosterone can disrupt that chain reaction. Because your brain detects testosterone in your body, it slows down the production of GnRH. Your pituitary gland doesn’t produce the correct levels of your other hormones and decreasing sperm production. The resultant lower sperm count impedes conception.
So, what can you do to boost your fertility? First, understand that there are some lifestyle factors that can lower a man’s testosterone. These include too much exercise, a deficient diet, a sedentary lifestyle, a serious illness, alcoholism, and stress. Improving these areas of your life may be better for your testosterone level than just taking a supplement. All the lifestyle habits that you already know are good for your body are good for testosterone production, too.
When you get enough exercise, eat a nutrient dense diet, avoid cigarettes and illegal drugs, limit alcohol consumption, and manage your stress, you’ll be improving your health and your fertility. There are also studies linking low levels of vitamin D to low testosterone, so focus on making sure you get enough by getting some sun and eating foods like fatty fish and fortified cereal. It’s also helpful to keep your testes from getting too hot, because that can lower your sperm count.
If you’re having trouble conceiving, it’s important to consult an expert who can recommend the right course of action. At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we pride ourselves on providing state-of-the-art treatment for men with fertility concerns, including those who need a reversal of their vasectomy. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides optimal surgical results and uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. To learn more, call 941-894-6428 or contact us through our website.
Is your libido lacking? Ebb and flow in sexual appetite is normal, but if you notice that your libido remains low for an extended time, it may indicate an underlying health issue. Let’s look at some causes of a low sex drive as well as possible treatments.
- Low testosterone is a common cause of a low sex drive. This makes sense because testosterone is an important male hormone. It’s responsible for building muscles and bone mass, stimulating sperm production, and boosting your libido. Normal testosterone levels vary, but a man is considered to have low testosterone when his level falls below 300 nanograms per deciliter. Talk to your doctor if you think this may be the case, because testosterone replacement therapy can help.
- Certain medications can knock you out of the mood. Blood pressure medications, chemotherapy or radiation, hormones used to treat prostate cancer, antidepressants, opioid pain relievers, corticosteroids, and even some heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) medications can lower libido. If you think something you’re taking may be causing this issue, talk to your doctor about switching medications.
- Sleep problems can lead to libido problems. Restricted sleep, obstructive sleep apnea, and restless legs syndrome (RLS) can all play a part in lowering testosterone and, by extension, the sex drive. Research indicates that restricted sleep reduces the testosterone levels the next night. As to RLS, it can lead to erectile dysfunction and even impotency.
- Your mind has an impact on your sex drive. Depression can reduce your interest in sex, and this is further complicated by the fact that certain anti-depressants can also lower libido. Low self-esteem can also lead to anxiety about sexual performance, resulting in issues with ED or reduced sex drive.
- Chronic illnesses can make sex low on your list of priorities. Chronic pain, for instance, can drastically lower your libido. Illnesses like cancer can reduce your sperm production, and other conditions, like diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and chronic heart, kidney, or liver failure can all take a toll. If you’re experiencing intimacy issues because of chronic illness, marriage counseling may help.
- Aging decreases testosterone. Testosterone levels are at their peak when men are in their late teens. The levels decrease as men age, but medication may help.
- Lifestyle habits may impact your libido. Heavy drinking can reduce the sex drive, as can illegal drugs. Even exercise can have a negative effect on your sex drive: too little or too much exercise can reduce libido. Stress, too, can decrease your sexual desire. Healthier lifestyle habits and stress management can help.
At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we pride ourselves on providing optimal surgical results and uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428 for a free consultation.
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