When it comes to a man’s health, testosterone is an essential hormone that plays an important role in weight management, cognitive function, and mindset, to name a few things.
If you’ve been paying attention to the news during the last several years, you may have seen a disturbing trend: record-low testosterone levels around the world. As dangerous as low testosterone levels can be, no one seems to be giving a thought to the opposite condition: high testosterone in men or levels that are well above what is deemed normal.
There’s no denying the benefits of testosterone, but too much testosterone can cause equally troublesome side effects as low testosterone levels. Let’s take a look at the signs of high testosterone in a man, the benefits of high testosterone, and the negative impact it might have on your health.
- Testosterone Effects on The Male Body
- Signs of High Testosterone in Men
- Causes of High Testosterone
- Risks of High Testosterone in Men
- Impact of High Testosterone on Men’s Behavior
Testosterone is what makes a man… literally. It is responsible for kickstarting male development from adolescence to adulthood. Testosterone is well-documented in studies as being both anabolic and androgenic.
Anabolic features include bigger muscle tissue. This is why testosterone injections are so popular with bodybuilders. The anabolic benefits of testosterone help them get bigger without gaining fat.
Androgenic refers to the organ and overall development of men. The androgenic effects of testosterone include a deeper voice, facial hair, and sexual organ development. Here’s a comprehensive list of all the developmental changes that are sparked by testosterone production:
- Changes your voice from high pitched to deeper
- Promotes body hair and facial hair growth
- Causes common skin issues such as acne
- Triggers sexual organ development (testicles descend)
- Kickstarts sperm production
- Increases libido (sex drive)
- Influences behavior, especially aggression and urges to be competitive
- Increases bone density
- Promote muscle mass
- Spikes fat metabolism
- Helps with overall heart health
Testosterone production will rev up into high gear during adolescence and peak between the ages of 30 and 35 where it will slowly descend each year. On average, most men can expect a decline of one percent each year.
Think you might have too much testosterone? Here are the most common high testosterone symptoms to watch out for:
Skin Issues: The tell-tale sign of high testosterone starts with your skin. A man with high testosterone tends to have a lot of acne all over his body. This is common with men and women who are using steroids, especially when it comes to “backne” (back acne).
Unpredictable Behavior: Although it can be blown out of proportion in the media, there is truth to the idea that too much testosterone can influence your behavior and not for the better. Aggressive and irritable behavior are common in guys with too much testosterone. This also applies to decision making. As we’ll discuss below, having more testosterone can make you terrible at making logical and healthy decisions.
Poor Sleep: Studies show that elevated levels of testosterone can interrupt sleep, restricting you from entering a deep sleep state. It can also worsen sleep apnea if you already have the condition. If you find yourself waking up throughout the night, we highly recommend getting a sleep study and blood test.
Sexual Dysfunction: Ironically, too much testosterone can work against your sexual health. High levels of testosterone are associated with shrunken testicles and low levels of sperm production. Both are stereotypical side effects of steroid users. And despite unfounded rumors, having more testosterone does not make your penis bigger when you’re an adult.
Blood Test Confirmation: What exactly is defined as “too much” testosterone? Studies suggest that a man has high testosterone when his total testosterone level is higher than 950 ng / dl and his free testosterone level is higher than 30 ng / dl. Best way to confirm if you have high testosterone? Get a blood test from your doctor.
Is high testosterone triggered from hitting the gym too much? Is it something in your diet that sends those t-levels through the roof? Here are the most common causes of high testosterone.
Tumors: Studies show that people who have androgen-secreting tumors typically have abnormally high levels of testosterone. As we discussed above, an androgen is a type of hormone that promotes physical development. One of these androgen-focused hormones is testosterone.
The interesting thing is that the tumor isn’t necessarily malignant (cancerous), but it will have to be observed by your doctor if the elevated testosterone levels are causing more harm than good.
Steroid Use: People who use or abuse anabolic steroids will have high levels of testosterone because they are injecting a synthetic testosterone into their bodies. Unlike testosterone boosting supplements that work with your body to increase t-levels, steroids ARE testosterone. This causes an immediate spike in your testosterone levels, but it’s not sustainable without continuous injections.
Once someone finishes a cycle of steroids, it’s expected that testosterone levels will plummet and estrogen levels will rise resulting in side effects associated with low testosterone such as weight gain, muscle loss, and depression.
Given how important it is for a man’s health, you’d think that high levels of testosterone would be a good thing. While there may be some short-term benefit to high testosterone levels, it’s not something that’s good for you long term.
Heart Health: There is some research to suggest that testosterone supports heart health, but too much testosterone over the long-term can do just the opposite. Chronic high testosterone can increase your LDL or bad cholesterol levels. If this happens with no intervention, it can increase your risk for a heart attack or stroke.
Low Sperm Count: While testosterone injections have been shown to be a way to improve sperm count and fertility for guys with low levels of testosterone, it seems to do the opposite for guys with high testosterone. Studies show that high levels of testosterone can decrease your sperm count. If left untreated, there is a chance that it can make you infertile.
Prostate Health: Excess levels of testosterone are often converted into a more androgenic compound called dihydrotestosterone. More commonly known as DHT, this compound can cause inflammation in your prostate, causing trouble with urination and increasing your risk for prostate-related issues.
Male Pattern Baldness: Continuing with the point above, DHT has been shown to be connected with premature balding and male pattern baldness. Elevated levels of DHT from excessive testosterone can trigger a receding hairline or fuel baldness that is already occurring.
Now that you know what to look for as well as the causes and risks of this condition, let’s address the question, “What does high testosterone do to a man and his behavior?”
Men and women with too much testosterone are most likely to exhibit narcissistic behaviors including self-centeredness and entitlement. One study found that those men and women with the highest levels of testosterone abused their positions of power. Those with lower or normal levels of testosterone were found not to abuse their power or did so in fewer occasions
Guys with too much testosterone will have characteristic mood swings. One moment they may feel on top of the world, wanting to go and do everything they can. At other times, they may be lashing out in aggression. Road rage is a common result. If you find that you’re on a rollercoaster of emotion, this is a good sign that you might have an issue with your testosterone levels.
Impulsivity and bad decision making are more signs of high levels of testosterone. Studies show that elevated levels of testosterone are connected with taking risks and poor choices.
One study found that the biggest risk-takers among hedge fund managers also had the highest levels of testosterone. Perhaps not as surprising, these high testosterone managers also performed worse than others because of bad choices.
If you’ve been experiencing mood swings and taking a lot more risks than usual, all with a bad outcome, then you should get your testosterone levels checked.
Watch Out for High Testosterone in Men
Although testosterone has been made out to be something of a cure-all for depression, weight gain, and cognitive health, it is potentially harmful when increased to excess and maintained at that level.
Supporting the natural production of your testosterone levels with exercise, a healthy diet, and supplements is great. But if you are abusing steroids or if you have abnormally high testosterone levels from a medical condition, you are risking a number of side effects.
If you think that you have high testosterone, schedule an appointment to chat with your doctor to see what the best course of action is.