Stress increases the level of cortisol in the bloodstream. Abundant cortisol is beneficial in a fight or flight situation – but not desirable for testosterone levels. By understanding how stress impacts testosterone levels, you can take steps to reduce cortisol and increase testosterone levels.
Ongoing or chronic stress is bad for the body. People who are stressed all the time have higher risks of developing the following health concerns:
- Low testosterone
- Growth hormone deficiency
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Weakened immunity
When we examine increased stress and testosterone levels in females, we find issues such as missed periods, low sex drive, and fertility problems. A woman may think she is dealing with early menopause if testosterone levels drop exceedingly low.
Many studies show how chronic stress decreases testosterone. In one report out of the University of Texas at Austin, researchers found that chronically elevated levels of cortisol can inhibit testosterone production. 
18 young men in Officer Candidate School underwent plasma testosterone level testing in 1972 to determine if stress causes low testosterone levels. The findings showed that during the early, more stressful stages of training, their testosterone levels were significantly lower than later in their senior phase. 
Damage Caused by Chronic Stress to Testosterone Levels
Stress can come in the form of work-related issues, health, family, death, injury, or other outside factors. As soon as the body senses stress, it triggers the release of cortisol into the bloodstream. A person who is always in a state of stress has chronically raised blood cortisol levels. Cortisol inhibits the release of testosterone into the bloodstream. In essence; stress kills testosterone.
With chronic stress, testosterone levels plummet. Cortisol in the bloodstream makes it challenging to relax later in the day when the body should be winding down. Since growth hormone levels are also decreased by cortisol, sleep becomes elusive. People who are highly stressed also tend to get the least amount of sleep each night. Growth hormone is crucial to enabling sleep. As the sleep cycle becomes disrupted, testosterone levels further decline since some of the daily production of testosterone occurs during sleep.
Reduced sleep also increases the level of stress on the body. This vicious cycle replays itself day after day. By understanding how stress impacts testosterone levels, you can take the steps necessary to reduce stress. As you do, you also improve your health.
What Can You Do to Increase Testosterone and Lower Stress?
Two entirely different factors come into play when dealing with how stress reduces testosterone:
- Increasing testosterone
- Reducing stress
It would seem logical that reducing stress in one’s life would immediately increase testosterone levels. That is the ultimate goal. To reduce stress, a person could take any of the following steps:
- Deal with the cause of the stress and eliminate it from the situation
- Find coping mechanisms if eliminating the stress is not possible such as:
- Figuring out how to improve a stressful work environment
- Learning how to deal with a chronic health issue
- Seeking counseling to deal with stress
- Learn yoga or meditation to help you relax at the end of the day
- Practice deep breathing exercises
- Check your diet – good nutrition can help reduce stress in the body
Can stress increase testosterone in any way?
While it is most common to see testosterone levels decline when cortisol increases, there are times when both hormone levels may be high. In the University of Texas research, subjects who had elevated levels of cortisol and testosterone were less likely to demand a rematch after losing a competition. Their testosterone levels dropped significantly after deciding not to compete again. Testosterone tends to increase drive, but cortisol diminishes it. The hormones are antagonistic to one another, with cortisol’s impact often edging out testosterone.
Can increasing testosterone levels reduce stress?
Testosterone itself may not have a direct impact on reducing cortisol levels, but it can help alleviate some stress. People with Low T are often depressed over the changes taking place in their bodies. By increasing testosterone levels, you effectively reverse the symptoms of Low T. As you start to function and feel better, stress levels naturally subside.
You can receive further information about how stress impacts testosterone levels by contacting Hormone Replacement Clinic for a free consultation.