Does Alcohol Affect Your Testosterone Levels?

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Excessive alcohol intake can exercise an adverse influence over almost every facet of your health. That became a big problem during the pandemic when alcohol consumption has increased by more than 8%. Hormonal imbalances are no exception. One key systemic chemical impacted by significant alcohol usage is testosterone.

This substance is the male sexual and reproductive hormone. The chemical is necessary to foster the development of important male characteristics like genitalia, sex drive, muscle tone, and bone formation.

When testosterone levels decline, you might experience a host of untoward physical and emotional problems. Such as irritability, mood swings, anxiety, depression, bone weakness, weight gain, loss of muscle mass, and infertility. If you have a medical condition caused by declined testosterone, you should see your doctor and get a prescription. Here is how you can get prescribed testosterone, and in some states, you can also do it online.

Women are not exempt from such issues either. Though testosterone is primarily a male hormone, a female’s ovaries secrete small quantities of the chemical, and depleted internal levels could result in symptoms like diminished libido and bone weakness.

Testosterone Production Process

Three glands produce testosterone in men, the testicles, hypothalamus, and pituitary. The hormone is produced through a significant and multi-step bodily process.

During the initial stage, the hypothalamus produces and secretes a chemical called gonadotropin-releasing hormone, sometimes abbreviated as GnRH.

This stimulates the pituitary to produce sufficient quantities of two other key substances, luteinizing hormone, often abbreviated as LH, and follicle-stimulating hormone, which is scientifically abbreviated as FSH.

Once LH and FSH are released, the testicles are now capable of commencing the testosterone production process.

Effect of Alcohol on Testosterone Levels

Continual or heavy alcohol intake can interrupt any of the proceeding efforts.

Long-Term Effects

Over the long haul, researchers maintain that excessive alcohol consumption often contributes to decreased testicular function. In men, the medical community classifies heavy drinking as the consumption of 15 or more alcoholic beverages per week.

Consistent ingestion is said to damage to key testosterone-producing structures in the testicles known as Leydig cells. Scientists also maintain that overindulgence in alcohol might also inhibit proper LH, FSH, and GnRH production.

These same individuals also concluded that moderate alcohol intake does not seem to precipitate similar potentially detrimental outcomes. Men are labeled moderate consumers provided their intake is limited to two or fewer drinks each day.

Short-Term Effects

Medical professionals also opine that excessive short-term alcohol usage can adversely influence hypothalamus and pituitary gland performance. Studies have shown that systemic testosterone levels can drop as soon as 30 minutes following appreciable alcohol consumption.

One specific examination looked into the impact ingestion of a pint of whiskey had on the testosterone concentrations of male subjects. Such findings were conducted over a period of 30 days.

Men considered having held healthy hormonal levels experienced a noticeable decline in testosterone concentrations as early as three days into the effort. Ultimately, systemic hormonal quantities dropped to levels typically seen in alcoholics.

Alcohol Effects On Sperm Production

Alcoholic beverages are believed to adversely impact Sertoli cells. Produced in the testicles, these organisms play a pertinent role in helping sperm mature. In scientific terms, this process is called spermatogenesis. Testosterone and FSH are crucial to its success.

Eventually, a lack of such substances leads to what is known as spermatogenic arrest, which is the interrupted production of sperm.

Studies have found that more than 50 percent of heavy drinkers have low sperm counts. In comparison, only 20 percent of non-alcoholics afflicted with such a problem. 

Another study performed has also found that excessive alcohol intake could result in diminished semen volume and, in some cases, a reduction in testicular size.

Additionally, certain scientific endeavors have found that increased alcohol intake could result in decreased fertility levels.

If You Stop Drinking, When Will You Recover?

Stop drinking might bring about favorable results. However, ultimately, this will depend on the quantity and duration of one’s intake. Those who have consumed prodigious amounts over extended periods could take far longer to recover.

Initial tests addressing the aforementioned concerns have occurred in laboratory mice. Such studies have affirmed that significant improvement to a male subject’s reproductive tract could be seen following 10 weeks of sobriety.

While promising, executing researchers caution that these findings might not necessarily translate to humans and more studies must be done before any loose much less firm conclusions could be drawn.

Medical community members do believe that those who cease drinking could improve their health and expedite said recovery by engaging in supportive actions, such as eating a balanced diet, routinely exercising, reducing stress, and getting adequate rest.

Alcohol’s Impact On Hormone Replacement Therapy

Persons with discernibly diminished testosterone concentrations might benefit from a treatment protocol known as testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).

That said, studies have shown that alcohol intake could limit the effectiveness of this therapy. Ergo, many healthcare providers urge those undergoing TRT to limit or cease alcohol consumption.

Final Thoughts

Those considered heavy drinkers experiencing the symptoms of diminished testosterone are urged to consult with their healthcare provider. Said medical professional can offer a firm diagnosis and recommend the most appropriate course of treatment.