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Hello Idaho: How low testosterone can affect men's mental health

Testosterone is a naturally occurring hormone that occurs in both men and women. Without it, it can be difficult to regulate a variety of different systems.

BOISE, Idaho — Nearly 39% of men age 45 years and older have low testosterone, something that can negatively impact a man's mental health.

Testosterone is a naturally occurring hormone that occurs in both men and women. Without it, it can be difficult to regulate a variety of different systems of development and emotion, according to Dr. Dennis Woody from Optum Idaho.

"When it's not in balance for your age, then there can be some complications associated with low testosterone or in some cases high testosterone, and those can translate to emotions," Woody said.

If testosterone levels are low in males, they can experience low sexual drive, a decrease in bone density and energy, and difficulty with motivation.

"People tend to gain weight and they have increased levels of moodiness, and sometimes depression. In that low-T category, you probably recognized a lot of those symptoms sound an awful lot like a mood disorder or perhaps someone who has an anxiety problem," Woody said. "Without exception, it is always good to talk to your doctor and take a blood test that can determine what is the testosterone level and then match that against your age."

Low testosterone is a fairly common problem in men, according to Woody. Men reach the peak of testosterone at 18 to 20 years of age. After the age of 30, men lose about 1% of their total testosterone per year.

By the time a man reaches the age of 50, testosterone levels should be slightly lower than when peak levels were reached.

Along with medical issues, low testosterone can affect a man's self-esteem, according to Woody.

"If you were a young man and had a problem with your testosterone generation, you might find you're smaller, and you're not as fast as we expect people to be," he said. "That certainly can cause secondary effects in terms of confidence and self-esteem. That's a very good reason to clarify it."

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