Do opioids change my hormone levels? It has been described for quite sometime now how hormone levels are altered with chronic opioid use. Many times symptoms from this are subtle over time, and often dismissed as "aging". However, there is a significant amount of evidence in the medical literature describing how testosterone levels can be lowered with chronic opioids.
How is testosterone produced in the body? Testosterone is made primarily in the Testes but is also released from the adrenal glands. Hormones from the Hypothalamus (GnRH) are released which stimulate hormone release from the anterior pituitary gland (FSH, LH), which in turn act directly on the adrenal glands and the testes to augment testosterone production and release. It has been shown that chronic opioids will suppress production and also release of GnRH from the hypothalamus.
What are the signs and symptoms of testosterone deficiency? Signs include low libido, impotence or erectile dysfunction, depression, lack of energy, poor sleep, and even poor pain control. These symptoms are very common in patients that struggle with chronic pain and are often overlooked, attributed to the pain itself, or getting older.
At Cure Pain Management we often check hormone levels to make sure there is optimization of this. This can lead to improved mood, increased energy, increased libido, better sleep, and better pain control.
Testosterone can be replaced with pills, creams, injections, or even an implant which can last up to 6 months and can be placed by your physician in the office with a quick 5 minute procedure.
This is a perfect example of why chronic pain needs to be treated comprehensively. There are many facets to chronic pain and its treatments, and hormone optimization certainly cannot be overlooked.
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