Some experts do see a link between low testosterone levels (or “low T”) and mood shifts with irritability in aging men.
There’s a lot of information going around that says that as men age, they get moodier, more irritable, and easily frustrated — kind of like a “male menopause.”
Some say this happens because their testosterone levels start to go down. But can a lack of one hormone really create a bunch of grumpy, older men? Some experts say that if older men are irritable — it’s almost never due to testosterone.
Science doesn’t point to a single right answer. But some experts do see a link between low testosterone levels (or “low T”) and mood shifts in aging men.
What Doctors Know for Sure
Generally, men make less testosterone as they get older. Forty percent over age 45 have levels that doctors consider below the norm (<300 ng/dL). Problems with the testicles or the pituitary gland can cause it. It can also be linked to a number of ailments, like high blood pressure and diabetes.
Some symptoms, like low sex drive, loss of bone density, and loss of muscle mass are linked to low testosterone. Men with low testosterone find that their emotional reserves are lower. They have a shorter fuse. In popular culture, people link male anger with high testosterone, but as a rule, doctors see it more in men with low testosterone — most commonly when levels are dropping. That’s when men get cranky.
There’s some research that shows that men with low T even have hot flashes just like women do during menopause.
Menopause vs. Andropause
But other studies show that what’s going on inside men’s bodies as they reach late-middle age is far different than what happens to a woman. During menopause, the production of estrogen drops sharply. Men tend to lose testosterone gradually, about half a percent per year.
For some doctors, a “male menopause” caused by slowly decreasing testosterone is too far of a leap. Sexual symptoms, like low libido, poor sexual performance, and erectile dysfunction have strong links to lower levels of the hormone. The studies show that other symptoms, like fatigue, depression, and mood issues, aren’t necessarily tied to low T.
A majority of aging men experience low T as a side effect of other chronic problems, like obesity and high cholesterol. If your beer gut is starting to make your back hurt and slowing you down, you’re more apt to be grumpy, right? And even if testosterone is an issue, causing problems in the bedroom, for example, maybe it’s that, not the hormone level, that’s got you in a sour mood.
If you’re androgen deficient and you’re experiencing a low sex drive, will you get a little irritable? Of course, you will.
Not-So-Grumpy Old Men
So what can you do if you’re getting older, your testosterone is in decline, and you feel unusually moody or irritable?
If your levels are consistently low and you show multiple symptoms, like fatigue or malaise, some doctors might recommend hormone therapy. Low testosterone affects our quality of life. Some people might say it’s a normal part of aging so is declining vision, but that doesn’t mean we don’t treat it.
People with low testosterone have been shown to have a decrease in mood, and there is some evidence that treatment will improve that.
Regardless of whether you believe there’s such a thing as an irritable male syndrome that’s caused by low T, the best way to feel better is to tackle your overall health.
To get consulted concerning your testosterone levels and possible hormone therapy, apply for a free consultation.