Chronic fatigue and low testosterone levels

  • By Dr. T Deepa Porkodi

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome affects almost all parts of the body. The person suffering from it is incapacitated with fatigue and debility. Muscles weaken and cannot take any form of stress. Even though in terrible pain, sufferers are often left to suffer alone. Doctors are mostly not able to find any abnormality in their blood reports and the complaints are pushed away to the sidelines, often termed as ‘psychological’.

Lately, however, with advances in medical science, chronic fatigue syndrome is being acknowledged as a disorder and is being given its due importance.

The diagnosis of the disease however, is very complex and difficult. Diseases of the endocrine system are found to be the most common cause. Thyroid disorders, adrenal gland diseases, oestrogen deficiency, growth hormone deficiency- all produce symptoms that resemble chronic fatigue syndrome.

The role of testosterone in the development of chronic fatigue syndrome, among men, is being explored. Testosterone is what makes the man alive, alert, and focused. It is responsible for a variety of functions in the human body like:

  1. Muscle tone and mass
  2. Insulin and sugar metabolism
  3. Mental alertness
  4. Positive mood
  5. Sex drive
  6. Bone strength
  7. Overall immunity

If a doctor has a patient who complains of symptoms similar to the ones like CFS, it would do well to have the patient investigated for his testosterone levels. The same muscle weakness, tiredness, lethargy and easily falling sick instances, can happen due to a low level of testosterone too.
It is true that the testosterone levels start falling after a certain age in men and severe decrease in the levels are responsible for producing testosterone deficiency symptoms.

CFS still remains a mystery. The role of the endocrine system in the development of the disease, is a new area that is being explored. When one sees low levels of testosterone, it is advised to also check the levels of the pituitary hormones, LH, and FSH, to find the source of the problem.

With the involvement of the endocrine system in the development of CFS being considered a major possibility, treatment options are also being opened up. Testosterone replacement in men, is proving quite effective in combating the symptoms of CFS. In women, DHEA is beneficial, as it gets converted to testosterone.