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Can Alcohol Lower Testosterone?

Man relaxing outdoors while drinking a beer

If you play sports, work out regularly, or are trying to lose weight, you’ve probably been told to avoid alcohol. The reason? In addition to offering your body more calories and sugar—with little-to-no nutritional value—alcohol is a known diuretic. 

This is why when drinking alcohol, both men and women urinate more frequently. And if you’re not replenishing your body with water to stay hydrated, it makes your vital organs, including your heart, work harder to pump blood and oxygen to your muscles and the rest of your body. 

Alcohol also affects your kidneys by disrupting its natural ability to regulate fluids and electrolytes in the body.

These are only a few reasons why it’s recommended you avoid alcohol, even in moderation, when you’re trying to pursue an active lifestyle. However, another area of the body that may be impacted by the effects of alcohol is your hormones. 

Alcohol and Testosterone

For men, excessive, binge, or heavy drinking (i.e., 15 or more drinks a week) over a long period of time may impact your testosterone production.

There are a few ways that alcohol can contribute to a reduction in testosterone, but in this article, we are going to focus on two: sleep and stress. 

Alcohol and Sleep

Although alcohol can make you feel tired, when consumed in excess, over a long duration of time, it can disrupt your normal sleeping patterns and even exacerbate certain chronic sleeping conditions:

“Alcohol has sedative effects that can induce feelings of relaxation and sleepiness, but the consumption of alcohol – especially in excess – has been linked to poor sleep quality and duration. People with alcohol use disorders commonly experience insomnia symptoms. Studies have shown that alcohol use can exacerbate the symptoms of sleep apnea,” (Sleep Foundation).

In a previous article, we shared information on the relationship between sleep and low testosterone (low T). Sleep disorders, or sleep deprivation, may be early signs of Low T. Likewise, sleep deprivation can also cause you to experience Low T symptoms.

Alcohol and Stress

Alcohol also raises men’s cortisol levels, your stress hormone. Overtime, men will begin to store fat in their abdomen area, leading to other serious men’s health issues that include: 

  • High blood pressure

  • Cardiovascular disease

  • Diabetes

  • Sleep apnea 

Many of these conditions can also contribute to symptoms of Low T. 

According to American Psychological Association (APA), high levels of cortisol can affect the normal biochemical functioning of the male reproductive system, including:

  • Decreased libido or lack of interest in sex

  • Decrease sperm production and maturation

  • Possible male anatomy infection(s) to testes, prostate, and/or urethra, if stress affects immune system

In addition to producing higher amounts of cortisol, alcohol can increase estrogen production, as well. Just as men and women each produce the primary male sex hormone, testosterone, both sexes produce this primary female sex hormone, too. 

The result? Higher concentrations of estrogen and cortisol can reduce testosterone levels, leading to symptoms of low T.

So, to answer the question, “does alcohol lower testosterone?”, the answer is “yes, it can” but in many different ways. Alcohol affects your organs, hormones, immune system, blood pressure, mood, etc.—all of which you need in good standing for your body to function properly and help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Visit Minnesota’s Leading Men’s Health Clinic

At EveresT Men’s Health, our team of men’s health specialists are here to support you on your journey to better men’s health. 

Schedule a consultation at one of our three clinic locations in Plymouth, Woodbury, and Eagan to receive a consultation and personalized treatment program.