Sexual Health and Wellness Center

Women, Men and Couples experiencing sexual issues both health related and or psychological


A boost in Testosterone may be better than Anti-Depressants for treating mild depression

Posted on May 4, 2015 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (1)

One of the major factors contributing to men with erectile dysfunction is stress. Extreme stress for long periods of time due to many factors in a man’s life can lead to problems with sexual function. When this happens it can also cause symptom of slight depression and higher cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands as a biological response to stress, which is why many refer to it as the "stress hormone."

Although cortisol has been linked to a number of medical conditions, the most common is a condition known as adrenal fatigue . Adrenal fatigue is a medical condition where the adrenal glands become overworked and don't produce enough cortisol to keep up with the body's demand.

Symptoms of cortisol imbalance in men are similar to those typified by other hormonal imbalances such as andropause (the male menopause) and often include the following:

• Fatigue

• Depression

• Weight gain

• Bone and muscle loss

• Foggy thinking

• Anxiety

• Irritability

• Erectile Dysfunction

In some men they may go to the psychiatrist and get a prescription for an anti-depressant which in most cases will cause more problems with erectile dysfunction. Another option for many men would be to slightly increase their testosterone. A test to show testosterone levels is recommended but it may not show an accurate reading according to what a man’s levels were before the stressor began. A healthy approach to treating erectile dysfunction linked to stressors is to seek counseling with a clinical sexologist and help with increasing testosterone levels for mild depression.


A new study suggests that men with borderline testosterone levels have higher rates of depression and depressive symptoms than the general population. According to Irwig and his colleagues who studied 200 men between 20 and 77 years of age whose testosterone levels were borderline (between 200 and 350 nanograms per deciliter). The researchers collected the men’s demographic information, medical histories, medication use, and signs and symptoms of hypogonadism. They then remeasured the men’s total testosterone and assessed depression from their medical history and with the validated Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9).

Using a score of 10 or higher on the PHQ-9, 56 percent of the men in the study had significant depressive symptoms, known diagnosis of depression and/or were using an antidepressant, according to the study’s findings.

Their rates of depressive symptoms were markedly higher than the 15 percent to 22 percent in an ethnically diverse sample of primary care patients and the 5.6 percent among overweight and obese U.S. adults, the researchers noted.

The most common symptoms reported were erectile dysfunction (78 percent), low libido (69 percent), and low energy (52 percent).

The men in the study also had a high prevalence of overweight (39 percent), obesity (40 percent) and physical inactivity, according the researchers. They found that, other than walking, 51 percent of the men did not engage in regular exercise.

The studies resulted in men with borderline testosterone levels have a higher rate of depression and depressive symptoms than the general population, according to the research.