The Gut-Testosterone Connection: Part 2

The Gut-Testosterone Connection: Part 2

Published on Thursday, April 25, 2024 by Alexander Koch

Understanding the Impact of Testosterone on Digestive Health

As discussed in Part 1, testosterone plays an important role in supporting gut health. What does this mean for digestive health outcomes between men and women?

Sex Differences in Gut-Related Disorders

Testosterone appears to protect men against autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, which are more prevalent in women. However, men are twice as likely as women to develop stomach cancer, so the relationship between testosterone and gut health is not as simple as more is better.

Navigating the Link Between Testosterone and IBS

Testosterone may reduce one’s odds of having IBS, as men are less likely to have IBS than women. Women are 2-2.5 times more likely to seek treatment for IBS than men. In addition, there are sex differences in IBS subtypes, with women more likely to report having IBS-C, while men are more likely to have IBS-D. Further, women are more likely to report GI discomfort with IBS and interruptions in quality of life than are men

The Connection Between Testosterone and GERD 

Low testosterone has been linked to a higher incidence of reflux symptoms. The relationship between low testosterone and reflux has been found to be stronger than several more frequently recognized indicators of low testosterone, including depression ratings and an aging-male symptoms score. This correlation between GERD symptoms and low testosterone is strong enough to prompt researchers to suggest using GERD symptoms as a clue for the detection of late-onset hypogonadism.

Striking a Balance: Understanding the Complexities

As alluded to above, the testosterone-gut health relationship is not simply a matter of more testosterone is better. As MC Quakes said, it is all about the balance. Women who suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome produce high levels of testosterone and are more likely to suffer from IBS. Further, in comparing young men with IBS to healthy male controls, higher testosterone levels were found in the men who had IBS, which again indicates a complicated relationship between testosterone levels and IBS.

Testosterone Replacement Therapy: Considerations and Recommendations

Testosterone replacement therapy is only recommended for men who express symptoms consistent with hypogonadism and consistently display low testosterone concentrations in repeated blood tests. This process involves multiple visits with your medical provider. As mentioned above, GERD symptoms are an indicator of low testosterone, so if you are experiencing GERD, it might be worthwhile to start getting your levels checked.

Lifestyle Strategies for Supporting Testosterone Levels

Lifestyle factors, such as getting adequate sleep and regular exercise, may play a minor role in elevating testosterone levels. However, clinically meaningful improvements in testosterone are best achieved through supervised medical therapy from a licensed provider.    

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