5 Things You Need to Know About the Male Hormonal Cycle
November 8, 2022
This article is a repost which originally appeared on AskMen.
Edited for content. The opinions expressed in this article may not reflect the opinions of this site’s editors, staff or members.
Early testing can help identify low testosterone.
‧ Unknown to many, men also have hormonal cycles.
‧ There is a correlation with optimal health and well being and optimal hormone levels.
‧ Testosterone is a stress resistance hormone.
When you hear the words “hormonal cycle,” the menstrual cycle might come to mind. You may be aware that women ovulate or have periods, for example. But men have cycles too — and it’s important to understand yours.
“Many men have little understanding of their hormonal cycle and are often dismissive of the impact it can have on both body and mind. Although most men know that hormones play a massive role in regulating sex drive and libido, the effects of the male hormonal cycles are often overlooked,” according to Dr Chia Tan, founder of Harley St M.D., a clinic that provides testosterone replacement therapy and a range of men’s health tests and treatments.
“Optimal testosterone and hormone levels help create the best version of ourselves. We feel youthful, energic, vibrant, and capable of making quick cognitive decisions. We recover quickly after exercising, keep belly fat at bay, and have a passionate libido as well as the ability to gain and maintain a strong erection,” says Ross Tomkins, co-founder of a men’s hormonal health clinic called Alphagenix.
From the impact of your lifestyle on your hormones to the effects of low testosterone, here are five things you need to know about the male hormonal cycle.
How Often Does the Male Hormone Cycle Reset?
While the average menstrual cycle lasts 28 days, the male hormonal cycle is actually built around the typical workday and resets within a 24-hour time span.
“Testosterone levels are elevated in the morning, reduce slightly in the afternoon, and are lowest late at night,” says Tan. “This basically means men tend to have more energy in the morning and afternoon, the natural time of the day when they would have been out hunting, which is when motivation, assertiveness and strength are needed the most.”
Can You Use Your Hormonal Cycle to Your Advantage?
You can therefore use that knowledge to your advantage. For example, Tomkins suggests working out or doing your most important work tasks first thing in the day to benefit from the surge of testosterone you experience in the morning. Your testosterone levels will start to decrease around lunchtime, so the period of time before that is prime time for being productive.
How Important is Testosterone?
You’ve gathered that testosterone plays a crucial role in your hormonal cycle. Its impact cannot be understated. Common signs of low testosterone levels include reduced sex drive and difficulty getting erections, fatigue, increased body fat, and mood swings, according to Tan.
Testosterone is not only responsible for your sex drive. It plays a big role in how you deal with stress and how efficient your metabolism is. “Testosterone is a stress hormone, it helps us resist stress. Low testosterone therefore often is linked with low mood, low motivation, and low vigor in life. Body fat distribution may change and one may find it harder to maintain lean muscle mass and easier to gain body fat due to a reduction in metabolism,” adds Tan.
Can Men Go Through Early Andropause?
You should also be aware of the fact that men experience the equivalent of menopause — andropause. And it can happen earlier than normal. For instance, Tomkins was diagnosed with low levels of testosterone in his early thirties, which led him to embark on a wellness journey.
Although men will always produce testosterone, they reach peak levels of the hormone in early adulthood. As they age, their testosterone levels decrease. “In some cases, these symptoms can be reported as early as in their late 30s or early 40s, but the majority of men may only start to notice it in their 50s or 60s,” says Tan.
How Does Lifestyle Affect Your Hormones?
Keep in mind that it’s not all luck and genetics. Your habits can have a huge impact on your hormonal cycle. “It’s really important to realize that this cycle is easily disrupted by poor lifestyle choices including poor diet, alcohol, smoking, no exercise and lack of quality sleep,” says Tomkins.
“If you recognize any symptoms I would start by looking at your diet, lifestyle and sleep. If these are all good, consider speaking to a specialist or at least taking a blood test to check biomarkers,” he recommends.
That being said, a blood test might not tell the full story, so trusting yourself and your awareness of your body is key. “Being within the normal range may not be sufficient for optimal well-being. The normal range determined by a laboratory takes no account of symptoms and is derived purely based on a statistical calculation of standard deviation and normal distribution curve,” says Tan.
What Can You Do to Address Low Testosterone?
If you do get diagnosed with low testosterone or embark on a journey to optimize your hormones, there are things you can do in conjunction with lifestyle changes.
Tomkins says that he now feels stronger and fitter than in his twenties after changing his diet and starting Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). TRT is designed to bring back hormone levels to a healthy range by giving the body testosterone until symptoms start to reverse. “Restoring testosterone levels to an optimal level will significantly improve a man’s quality of life,” says Tan.
However, you’ll want to find experienced and knowledgeable doctors who will be able to diagnose you and create a personalized treatment plan. “Good TRT requires regular monitoring and tweaking, as all men are different,” adds Tan. “Everyone has a different height, body mass, and physical activity level, therefore treatment needs to be bespoke and individualized to make sure you get the best out of it.”