Low Testosterone May Contribute to Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Posted: December 8, 2023
When you have low testosterone levels, it can affect more than just your energy and libido. Recent studies suggest that men with lower-than-normal levels of the male hormone may contribute to an increased risk for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a chronic condition that affects the large intestine, causing symptoms such as cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea or constipation. It can significantly impact a person’s daily life, often leading to frequent discomfort and the need to plan activities around quick access to a restroom.
Treating low testosterone levels can have a profound domino effect on overall health. By normalizing your hormone levels, you can help alleviate symptoms of IBS. Additionally, balanced testosterone levels can help improve your sleep, enhance mental clarity, and contribute to healthier body composition.
Testosterone treatment can initiate a chain reaction of physical and mental health improvements. Get started by scheduling an appointment to get your testosterone levels checked.
Low Testosterone Linked to the Onset and Severity of IBS
Recent studies have linked lower levels of testosterone to an increased risk of developing Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Furthermore, these studies have found that men with lower testosterone levels may experience more severe symptoms of the condition. Recent research has revealed that men with IBS have decreased levels of free testosterone, which may be contributing to the severity of their symptoms.
Deficient amounts of this hormone may lead to an overactive immune response that triggers inflammation in the gut. Common symptoms of IBS include:
- Cramping and pain in the abdomen
- Persistent bloating
- Excessive gas production
- Changes in bowel movements, including diarrhea and constipation
- Urgency to use the restroom
- Sensation of incomplete bowel evacuation
- Presence of mucus in the stool
- Loss of appetite due to digestive discomfort
Testosterone is involved in regulating the immune system’s response to inflammation. It is an important androgen that works together with glucocorticoids, a steroid hormone with anti-inflammatory properties, to prevent intestinal inflammation.
Recent research has highlighted the vital role of glucocorticoids and androgens in regulating inflammation in the intestines. When testosterone levels are within the normal range, it stays in balance with glucocorticoids, helping to prevent persistent inflammation.
Chronic Inflammation Can Actively Damage Your Gut
The gut is an essential component of the body’s immune system with a role that extends beyond digestion. It plays a key role in the immune system by protecting against harmful pathogens, maintaining the integrity of the gut lining, and directing immune cells to recognize and respond to specific pathogens or foreign substances.
The gut microbiota aids in the digestion of food, synthesizes vitamins, and helps in the absorption of nutrients. It is home to trillions of bacteria, collectively known as the gut microbiota, which play a crucial role in maintaining health. Disturbances to the gut microbiota, such as those caused by low testosterone levels, can disrupt these functions and lead to chronic inflammation, leading to disorders like IBS.
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to protect against invaders, foreign objects, or injuries. It’s a coordinated process that removes harmful stimuli and repairs damaged tissues. The body acts as a command center, coordinating different mechanisms to keep us safe. This response involves the release of proteins, immune cells, and messengers that communicate with each other to carry out necessary steps. However, if the body doesn’t receive a signal to end the response, inflammation can become chronic. It transforms from protection to irritation, damaging the intestinal cells themselves.
IBS Can Reduce Your Testosterone Even More
Poor gut health caused by chronic inflammation can further aggravate the situation by impairing the body’s ability to produce testosterone. This creates a detrimental cycle of declining hormone levels and escalating gut inflammation.
Chronic inflammation in the gut or conditions like IBS can disrupt the equilibrium of your body’s hormonal balance. Many of the hormones in your body, including testosterone, are interconnected, and when one becomes too low or too high, it can set off a ripple effect amongst your other hormones. Affected hormones can include:
- Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone (GnRH): Produced in the hypothalamus, GnRH stimulates the release of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) from the pituitary gland. These hormones directly influence testosterone production in the testes. Gut health can indirectly influence GnRH production by affecting overall health and nutrient absorption.
- Luteinizing Hormone (LH): This hormone, produced in the pituitary gland, stimulates testosterone production in the testes. Any alteration or imbalance in the gut microbiota can impact the pituitary gland’s function, thus affecting LH levels.
- Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH): Just like LH, FSH is produced in the pituitary gland and plays a significant role in sperm production, which is closely linked to testosterone levels. Disruptions in gut health can impact FSH production negatively.
- Insulin: While not produced in the gut, insulin is heavily influenced by gut health. Insulin resistance, often exacerbated by poor gut health, can lead to decreased testosterone levels.
- Glucocorticoids: These steroid hormones have anti-inflammatory properties. When testosterone levels are within the normal range, it stays in balance with glucocorticoids, helping to prevent persistent inflammation that could negatively impact testosterone production.
- Leptin: This is a hormone produced by fat cells in the body, but it’s heavily influenced by gut health. Leptin resistance can negatively impact testosterone levels.
- Ghrelin: Known as the ‘hunger hormone,’ this gut hormone can influence testosterone levels. Research shows that ghrelin can inhibit the release of LH, impacting testosterone production.
- Estrogen: Although it’s primarily considered a female hormone, men also need estrogen in the right amounts. Certain gut bacteria can convert testosterone into estrogen, and an imbalance in gut flora can lead to excess estrogen and lowered testosterone levels.
- Cortisol: The body’s primary stress hormone can be influenced by gut health. High cortisol levels can inhibit the production of GnRH, thereby reducing testosterone levels.
Stress Can Make IBS Symptoms Even Worse
When we experience stress, our bodies release cortisol, which can have a profound impact on our physical well-being. Excessive cortisol in our body can lead to numerous health complications such as weight gain, mood swings, and insomnia, along with intensifying the symptoms of IBS due to its inflammation-inducing properties.
Maintaining a healthy testosterone level can help combat these higher levels of cortisol. Testosterone is known for its anabolic properties, promoting growth, repair, and anti-inflammatory responses, which can counterbalance the catabolic and inflammatory effects of cortisol. Sufficient testosterone levels can also help inhibit the secretion of cortisol from the adrenal glands, reducing its overall levels in the body. Thus, actively treating your testosterone can go a long way in counteracting the exacerbating effect of cortisol on IBS symptoms.
Help Reduce Gut Inflammation with Testosterone Treatment
A testosterone deficiency can lead to a host of unwanted symptoms, including fatigue, decreased concentration, and loss of muscle mass. For men with low T who also experience chronic inflammation in the gut, these symptoms can compound on top of the discomfort they are experiencing.
Fortunately, testosterone replacement therapy provides an effective way to boost your body’s natural testosterone levels and ease uncomfortable and frustrating symptoms. By restoring testosterone to optimal levels, you can reduce inflammation and experience noticeable improvements in your overall health and well-being.
Low T Center offers convenient and effective treatment for low testosterone. With a variety of treatment options, you can choose what works best for your individual needs. Contact us now to schedule an appointment and get on track to finding relief.
Disclaimer: This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of Low T Center. You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.