Bipolar and Low T Symptoms
A change in hormonal balance can have an effect on your body composition. However, it can also make changes to your mood and mental health.
We look at the evidence to see whether there is a link between testosterone levels and bipolar.
Author: Nicola has contributed to this site on a number of occasions bringing her wealth of experience as an amateur athlete competing in bodybuilding, strength and endurance arenas.
LAST UPDATED: March 2019 by Ben.
Hormones and Mental Health
We all know the most obvious effects of low testosterone, from its impact on libido and energy to the links with fat gain.
But what about mental health?
Can low testosterone levels in men lead to, or even cause, bipolar disorder?
What Is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar Disorder is a mental health condition typically characterized by highs and lows, with periods of depression and periods of mania. 
The depressive and manic stages can last for as little as a few days, or as long as several months, and will repeat in cycles.
During the depressive stages, people suffering with bipolar will feel very low, losing interest in activities and finding it difficult to do anything.
They might also feel sad, worthless, or even suicidal.
During manic episodes, people are likely to feel energized (often uncontrollably) and have trouble sleeping.
They may be impulsive, feel irritable, impatient, and sometimes aggressive.
Testosterone Levels And Mental Health
We are all familiar with the links between low testosterone and physical problems.
However, further research also shows us that low natural test levels can contribute to mental illness too.
Testosterone is known to influenced mood, well-being, and cognition. Further studies have examined whether it plays a role in the pathophysiology of bipolar disorder.
Low test may cause clinical depression, and this is particularly marked in older men (who are already more likely to suffer from low testosterone levels).
But are the mental health issues arising from low testosterone cause, or are they effect?
Low levels of test can lead to sexual problems, lack of energy, weight gain, and changes in personality (including anger and irritability).
It’s not difficult to see how this can lead to low mood, an increased breakdown of serotonin in the brain, and depression.
According to a 2015 study in The Journal Of Sexual Medicine, men with low test levels frequently also have depressive episodes. The same men also use antidepressants, or have clinical depression. 
The study showed that 56% of the subjects had depression, and 25% used antidepressants (compared to 6%-23% of the general population).
This study advised that;
“clinicians should consider screening for depression or depressive symptoms… in men referred for tertiary care for potential hypogonadism.”
Low Testosterone And Bipolar
Testosterone levels have close links to low and high mood. Therefore it’s reasonable to think that fluctuating levels of natural testosterone could be a cause of bipolar disorder.
But, there is no solid research or scientific evidence to suggest that low test levels are a cause of clinically diagnosed bipolar disorder.
But, low test – or fluctuating hormone levels – can have a bearing on mental health.
This 2015 study looked at test levels in patients with clinically diagnosed bipolar disorder.
By examining baseline total testosterone levels and depression scores in patients with bipolar disorder. 
It turns out that testosterone levels were significantly lower for the male patients with bipolar disorder.
This study concluded that low testosterone levels may be indicative of an important neurobiological abnormality in bipolar disorder.
While it is considered that testosterone is reliably linked to sexual function and aggressive behavior it seems there could be more.
Studies suggest that there is reason to believe that there is a link to suicidal behavior, too.
This is because from a study of men aged between 16 to 51 who suffer from bipolar saw at least one suicide attempt.
It was discovered that there is a positive correlation between manic episodes, testosterone and suicide attempts. 
Furthermore, there was a study conducted that included women.
This study demonstrated that those women who suffered from bipolar is at higher risk of major episodes of depression and suicide.
So much so, that their levels of testosterone could be a predictor for suicide attempts. 
There is evidence that does suggest a strong link between hormone levels and mood disorders. 
This is a link that spans both genders and can effect major depressive orders that can lead to suicide.
While there is no direct link to testosterone causing bipolar, it is clear that hormonal changes do have an affect on mood and feeling.
This has prompted some clinicians to offer medical advice to professionals.
They suggest that before prescribing hormonal therapy the patient should be screened for any preexisting depressive disorders.
Nicola Joyce (aka “the fit writer”) is a fitness industry copywriter who has been writing for and about sport and fitness since 2004. Nicola is a competitive drug-free bodybuilder (with two World titles at amateur level) and has also competed in powerlifting and a couple of strongman comps. Prior to her strength training days, Nicola was an endurance athlete and has even swum the English Channel twice. She can be found on all social media at: thefitwriter.