Does smoking cigarettes affect your testosterone levels? If yes, then how much does it reduce them?
If these are questions you want the answers to then you’ve come to the right place.
Smoking has been linked to several health problems, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. The negative impact of smoking on men’s health is well documented.
However, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests smoking can also have an adverse effect on male fertility. This article will discuss some of the research regarding this topic.
What Is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a hormone produced by the testes in males. It is responsible for many important functions in the human body such as muscle growth, sexual development, sperm production, bone density, and mood regulation.
Testosterone levels naturally decrease with age but they can be boosted through lifestyle changes or supplements.
Does Smoking Affect Men’s Health?
There is strong evidence linking smoking to cardiovascular diseases, lung cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), and other conditions. In addition, studies have shown that smokers tend to gain weight more easily than non-smokers.
In terms of male reproductive health, numerous studies have found links between cigarette smoking and low semen quality, reduced sperm count, increased risk of miscarriage, decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, and premature ejaculation.
The effects of smoking on testosterone levels are not fully understood. Some researchers believe that nicotine may directly damage the testicles, while others think it affects the pituitary gland which controls testosterone production.
What we do know about smoking and testosterone is that smoking lowers the levels of testosterone in both men and women.
How Does Having Low Testosterone Levels Impact You?
Low testosterone levels can cause various symptoms in men. These include:
- Reduced sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Loss of muscle mass
- Poor concentration and memory
Some other signs of low testosterone levels are:
- Hair loss
- Weight gain
- Weak bones (osteoporosis)
How Much Does Smoking Lower Your Testosterone Levels?
While the exact amount of testosterone reduction caused by smoking is unknown, most experts agree that it is significant. Research has shown that even light smokers had significantly lower testosterone levels compared to non-smokers.
More research has concluded that heavy smokers had even lower testosterone levels than light smokers.
According to one theory, smoking reduces testosterone because nicotine acts like estrogen in the brain. When nicotine binds to receptors in the brain, it causes the release of dopamine, which makes us feel good.
Dopamine also stimulates the hypothalamus gland, which regulates the level of testosterone in our bodies. Therefore, when nicotine binds to its receptor in the brain, it decreases testosterone levels.
Other theories suggest that the chemicals in tobacco smoke cause inflammation in the body, which leads to lowered testosterone levels. Inflammation can occur from inhaling toxic substances in cigarette smoke.
These toxins include carbon monoxide, tar, ammonia, acetone, formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide, nitrosamines, and arsenic.
Smoking cigarettes also increases stress hormones in the body. Stress hormones increase cortisol levels, which suppress testosterone production. Cortisol is a steroid hormone released by the adrenal glands.
Smoking also reduces blood flow to the testicles. Because of this, less oxygen reaches the testicles, which results in lower testosterone levels.
How Are Low Testosterone Levels Diagnosed?
If you suspect that your testosterone levels are too low, you should consult with your doctor. The first step will be to rule out any medical problems that could be causing your low testosterone levels rather than smoking.
A physical exam will help determine if there is anything physically wrong with you. If everything checks out fine, then your doctor will likely order some tests.
You will then have to have a blood test as the testosterone levels in the blood are how low testosterone is diagnosed. The test is usually done in the morning since that is when testosterone is highest.
You may find that you will have to take multiple blood tests in order to work out if your testosterone levels are low.
Can You Reverse Low Testosterone Levels Through Lifestyle Changes?
Yes! There are several things you can do to boost your testosterone levels naturally. Here are some tips:
- Drink plenty of water. Water helps flush out toxins from the body, including harmful chemicals from cigarettes. It also keeps your skin healthy and supple.
- Get regular exercise. Exercise boosts testosterone levels and improves overall physical fitness.
- Eat a balanced diet. A well-balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables will help keep your energy up.
- Avoid alcohol. Alcohol consumption can reduce testosterone levels. If you drink alcohol, limit yourself to no more than two drinks per day.
- Stay away from caffeine. Caffeine raises adrenaline levels in the body, which can decrease testosterone levels.
- Reduce stress. Chronic stress can be detrimental to your health. Learn how to relax and take time for yourself.
- Avoid drugs. Drugs such as cocaine, amphetamines, marijuana, and other stimulants can interfere with testosterone production.
- Don’t smoke. If you really want to increase your testosterone levels again, then you need to stop smoking.
If you have low testosterone levels due to lifestyle choices or medical conditions, talk to your doctor about what steps you can take to improve them.
The best thing you can do to increase your testosterone levels if you are someone who smokes regularly is to stop smoking.
How To Stop Smoking
Since quitting smoking will help to boost your testosterone levels, here are some ways you can quit.
- Use nicotine patches: Nicotine patches use an addictive drug called nicotine to make it easier to kick the habit. These patches are available over the counter at most pharmacies. They come in different strengths: Choose one that has the lowest strength so that you don’t get addicted to the patch.
- Find support groups: Quitting smoking is hard enough without having to go through it on your own. Join a support group where people share their experiences and offer advice.
- Talk to a doctor: Your doctor can recommend medications that can help you quit smoking. He or she can also prescribe medication to treat withdrawal symptoms.
- Quit cold turkey: This method involves stopping all forms of tobacco products immediately. Do not try this unless you are ready to give up completely.
- Quit gradually: Start by reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke each day. Reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke every week until you reach zero. Then start slowly increasing the number of days between each cigarette.
- Quit using e-cigarettes: E-cigarettes contain nicotine but they don’t produce tar like traditional cigarettes. Use these devices instead of traditional cigarettes.
So yes, smoking does lower your testosterone levels. The severity of the symptoms you experience from low testosterone levels depends on how much smoking lowers your levels. But there are things you can do to raise your testosterone levels back to normal.
The first thing you should consider is quitting smoking. Since that is the original cause, it is best to give it up. You also need to find out what else you can do to boost your levels. So talk to your doctor and see what he or she recommends.
Hopefully, this post helps you understand why smoking lowers your testosterone levels and what you can do to reduce the effects of those lowered levels. Good luck! If you think that this article would be helpful for someone else, please share it with them.