January 31st, 2017
There are various definitions of “stress”. Healthcare providers define stress as body’s response to an opposition, challenge or provocation.” Stress can be divided into two groups:
This type of stress is a result of sudden challenge or stimulation, such as fight or mean argument. When a person is exposed to this type of stress, it stimulates the release of stress hormones such as glucocorticoids a.k.a. stress hormones and provokes person to grapple or challenge back to that annoyance. Such kind of stress does not do any harm to the health and subsides easily. In fact, many healthcare providers believe these harmless small challenges are good for health.
Long term stress has potential for destroying the health because it keeps stress hormones elevated for longer period. Example of long term stress includes, a heavy debt to be payed, constant pressure at work place or issues in relationships. A long-term stress has detrimental effects on the endocrine system.
Constant stress can lower down testosterone levels due to several reasons. Among glucocorticoids, cortisol is the main stress hormone which is released from adrenal cortex when a person is in stressful condition. This hormone suppresses testosterone formation in the hypothalamus and leydig cells found in the testicles. Thus, testosterone levels drop down.
Besides this, cholesterol is a building block for both cortisol and testosterone. During stress, cortisol is at its peak and all the cholesterol units gets engaged in building cortisol.
These were physiological mechanisms that alters testosterone secretion. However, there are other factors as well that contributes in lowering T levels. For instance, a man who is in stress for extended time will indulge into smoking, alcohol and will have poor eating habits and lack of physical activities. All these factors will add up to the stress related decline in the testosterone levels.
There are numerous research studies that supports this relationship. In various animal studies, it is found that any kind of long term stress (including, confinement, noise, surgery, chronic stress, oxidative stress) can greatly reduce testosterone level in different species. Nearly all studies indicate that decreasing testosterone and increasing cortisol were observed conjointly and the reduction in T levels were only due to suppressed production.
Research studies conducted on military men indicates that the long-term stress due to fear of death or combat markedly reduces production of testosterone. Similar, psychological exertion on refugees lead to low levels of testosterone and luteinizing hormones along with increased levels of cortisol.
Other than military, men facing chronic stress or depression due to extended stressful conditions also face suppressed T levels. Stress of undergoing any surgical procedure can greatly exert stress. The degree of stress depends upon the severity of surgery.
One can lower down cortisol and increase T levels by:
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