Women have long been wondering why there is not that much medical research made on women’s sexual health issues compared to the massive reports and studies conducted on men’s sexual concerns. It was not too long ago when very few men would admit to suffering from depression. Traditionally, men were viewed to be tough and self-reliant. Thus, men would not own up to feeling sad and broken. They talk less of their feelings with others thinking that doing so would make them “less of a man.” But times have changed and men are now more vocal about their depression and openly seek treatment.
Medical researches have established that there is a direct relationship between the level of testosterone and depression. Testosterone is the principal male sex hormone. The controversy on testosterone and depression lies on which causes what. Specifically, it is a question of whether depression causes the low secretion of testosterone or if the low levels of testosterone give rise to male depression. Nonetheless, depressed men would not want to bother with the resolution of the issue regarding the level of testosterone and depression. What they want is immediate relief from the symptoms and effective treatment of their depression.
Men suffering from depression report having a marked decrease in their sexual urges. As a result, they lose interest in sex and experience erectile dysfunction. Compounding their problem are the antidepressant medications they are taking as these drugs can cause erectile dysfunction. When depression strikes, a man’s production of testosterone is greatly reduced, both as an effect of depression and as caused by antidepressants. This testosterone and depression issue now creates a dilemma for men, because if they want to have their depression fully treated, then they should stay on antidepressants or about a year. But then, they are not sure if they would want their life characterized by low libido.
Common indicators of low testosterone levels in cases of men suffering from depression include gradual enlargement of the breast or gynecomastia, a raise in voice pitch, testicles shrinking, loss of pubic hair, subnormal bone density, low energy, and loss of muscle mass. To counter these diminutions, some depressed men turn to testosterone-based anabolic steroids. However, the practice can be dangerous and put the person at risk. Besides, it is illegal to use steroids without a prescription. As this proves to be a major concern as regards treatment, the patient needs to confer thoroughly with the about his apprehensions on depression and testosterone. All that may be required is a change in prescription as there are some antidepressant drugs that produce less sexual side effects.
Other than antidepressant medication, depressed men may also benefit from therapy. They need coaching and guidance in developing better coping strategies for their condition. Further, therapy can be an instrument for suffering men to regain self-esteem. Therapists can also help these men to widen their understanding of how to please women the way women really like it. Therapy sessions can enlighten men on the fact that genuine affection and other demonstrations of intimacy may be more appreciated by their partners than the actual sexual performance.
There are many medical publications that provide evidence on the relationship between testosterone and depression. The use of testosterone patch for testosterone replacement therapy is now being seriously considered by a number of physicians as a more acceptable form of treatment for male depression.
- Harvard Gazette: Testosterone drives away the blues
- Testosterone therapy: Key to male vitality? – MayoClinic.com
- Testosterone May Help Depressed Men