subclinical hypothyroidism and male sexuality

Background: last thyroid results just over a month ago were: TSH: 3.21 (range: 0.35-3.5); my serumfree T4: 10 (8-21) & my T3, which I know is the most important of all being the bioavailable hormone was 3.4 (3.8-6), so just 'below range'. About six weeks ago the TSH had been similarly high, the T4 slightly lower. A fortnight ago I got results for thyroid peroxidase antibodies which were ok: 8.6 ku/L (0.0-34.0). There was also a B12 deficiency. My main GP wasn't obviously loathe to help, but said that 'from where [she] was coming from' (in rather American parlance) I'd had stable tho' similar TSH results for years and that as there wasn't a deterioration, she was more inclined to be in 'monitor' mode rather than prescribe. My question is a little embarrassing, and I know a lot of the posters on here are women tho' very knowledgeable and non-judgemental ones, so I'll just spit it out. I've been having issues with ED and libido over the last few years for which I purchase and selfprescribe moderate amounts of the blue pill. This is rather an emotionally debilitating state of affairs, especially when I'm not entirely sure why it's happening, and I do wonder if my low T4 and T3 might be contributing to this. Would anyone please give me their educated opinions on this? If hyperthyroidism was responsible, what's the basic endocrinal process at play here? Would an underactive thyroid deplete testosterone production or would it be more generalised fatigue? I have read a medical study online that concluded that treatment for hypothyroidism did in some cases resolve libido and ed issues. I also have much longer refractory periods between being able to 'raise more than a smile' - a week, maybe longer - than I used to, and as I've said I come to rely on chemical assistance. As regards other symptoms, I do feel totally zonked come early evening and sleep like the dead most nights. A bad night's sleep and I'm wasted all day. But on other hand, I'm not fatigued all day. I also experience minor muscular ache when I wake up tho' I do shake this off. I'm 38, am fairly active tho' maybe very slightly overweight, but honestly only by a stone at most. I used to smoke and drink quite heavily, but have been abstinent for some years now. I expect some decline in the bedroom due to age, but it seems too much of a coincidence that I'm subclinical hypothyroidic and having these probs, but maybe I'm putting 2+2 together and getting 5, I don't know. Only the last few years , my libido has been on and off tho on a downward trajectory, but I've often felt like something inside was on the fritz, working sometimes and not others, non-linear . Many thanks for any answers to this sensitive post.

10 Replies

  • This link, I would regard as the 'proper' way to diagnose patients. None of this 'nearly hypo' etc.

    If she's reluctant (and I'll also give you a list of clinical symptoms) and they know zilch and with a T3 of 3.4 (3.8-6) whereas you should be towards the top rather than below the bottom. T3 is the only active hormone in our body and drives our metabolism from top to toe. Brain contains the most receptor cells and we have billions which need T3.

    If your whole body lacks the energy given hormone, the result is it cannot function, heart struggles, low pulse, low temp and we could go on with the 300+ clinical symptoms.

  • Do you take statins or eat a diet intended to reduce cholesterol levels? Cholesterol is one of the essential precursors of testosterone production, and is vital for the production of all sorts of substances that are vital for life.

    I think that having high cortisol will, as a side effect, reduce testosterone production. But I must admit, when it comes to sex hormones, my knowledge would fit on the back of a postage stamp with room to spare.

    There are various suggestions on this link

    that suggest things that could reduce or increase testosterone production.

  • These are the two I tried to change instead of the one that is on the original. I had to refresh computer etc. so here I go again. Maybe this will make sense:-

    First link: it would be good if GPs used this:

  • thunderthyroid,

    Low thyroid hormone is commonly associated with low levels of testosterone in men.

    Testosterone is an androgenic hormone present in men (and in smaller amounts in women) together with androstenedione, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and DHEA sulphate (DHEA-S). An imbalance in one hormone will lead to an imbalance in other sex hormones.

    Androgens are converted in pathways that begin with cholesterol and are believed to be involved in the function of many organs, including reproductive function, bone, kidneys, liver, muscle and are involved in sexual desire.

    As with other sex hormones, androgens convert from one to another and sometimes even in the reverse, and an adequate level of testosterone helps T3 work better (active thyroid hormone).

    Most circulating testosterone is bound to sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG or testosterone-binding globulin in men) and a lesser fraction is bound to albumin and a small amount still is unbound (free for use). Your albumin level (in a previous post) was good, indicating hormones are good although clearly you have a problem somewhere.

    In men, diabetes and insulin resistance can suppress testosterone levels as can low thyroid hormone as all hormones work together and both diabetes and insulin resistance can be encouraged by low thyroid hormone.

    I know in woman, it can be hard to raise testosterone until oestrogen's are at good levels, as in the normal hormone pathways testosterone converts to oestrogen's. I do not know how to raise mens testosterone levels apart from supplementing it and ensuring cortisol levels are adequate.

    Low thyroid hormone will compromise the adrenal glands which secrete cortisol (stress hormone) and can mess up good cholesterol levels. Also a Vit B12 deficiency will impair good thyroid hormone synthesis.

    Your T3 levels are below range and depression is a common symptom of low thyroid hormone. Doctors are not used to looking at T3 levels and most wouldn't look for anything more than a TSH within range.

    Using the blue pill will further disrupt hormone imbalances. If I were you, I would look to supporting the adrenal glands with sups, ( adaptogens or//and glandulars and good diet & life style) and trying to raise thyroid hormone T3, which in time should help all other hormones to rebalance. Supplementing 100-200mcg selenium helps to convert T4 to T3.

    You could also ask your GP to test all sex hormones and any deficiencies may sway his thinking into prescribing you a trial of Levothyroxine or referring you to an endo but I don't know if you actually need thyroid hormone replacement as you may find T3 levels raise naturally when everything else rectifies itself.

    You are negative for TPOAb but I would also ask for TgAB to be tested and supplement iron as your ferritin ( at 46 ug/L) is too low. Iron is paramount for good thyroid hormone synthesis as is key for conversion of T4-T3 and low levels may decrease deiodinase activity resulting in conversion to reverse T3 ( rather than the active hormone T3). Members find supplementing Ferrous Fumarate taken with 500mg-1,000mg vitamin C aids absorption and minimises constipation. High doses of Vit C will also help adrenal health. I supplement 3-4 mg Mixed Ascorbate daily.

    I hope you feel better soon.


    Selenium Aids T4 - T3 conversion.

  • Heartfelt thanks to all of you for your insightful and genuine replies, but an extra gush of gratitude for 'radd' for such a comprehensive and compassionate endocrinal opus. I have ordered some high-quality mixed ascorbate as well as the iron supps radd suggested. I already supp with selenium but only for past 3 weeks. I've also ordered a 'Blue Horizon' thyroid plus test to gauge state of my TgAB as I can just about afford it at moment and want a 2nd opinion on my bloods to counter my GP if need be. I am prepared to pursue this line of inquiry as I'm curious as to how much better I would actually feel if my T3 wasn't bumping along the bottom of the range, given its pivotal and ubiquitous role in body.

  • TT,

    You are welcome. If you click the green reply button, the member you are replying to will be notified. Otherwise, your reply will only show in "newsfeed" and can be easily missed.

    I forgot to say if you choose to go down the adrenal support route, it is better to test cortisol levels, enabling use of correcting supplements as some are very powerful.

    A doctor's blood cortisol test will only measure the "total" amount at one given snap shot moment, so members use four saliva tests that measure the available "active" (free) cortisol (& DHEA) secreted at set times over a 24 hours period.

    Post any further results you get, complete with ranges (numbers in brackets) for members to comment.


    Saliva Stress Test (test ref END01)

    The cost is £77.00 which is a discounted price for THyroidUK when code A42AQ is used.



  • I had a dekko at your profile and you seem to be an autodidact in the best sense of the word, Radd. You mentioned glandulars and adaptogens: would you recommend ashwaghanda for adrenal support or raw thyroid glandular concentrate ( I know it's not the same as DTH)?

  • Autodidacticism can be applied to most on the forum TT.

    We help each other with our learned knowledge and experiences.

    Both ashwaghanda, and either thyroid or adrenal glandulars will address differing adrenal gland issues. I wouldn't supplement any serious adrenals supports without knowing my cortisol levels by saliva testing.

  • TT,

    Selenium (selene-proteins) are chief components of the molecules which are necessary for your body to be able to create and use thyroid hormones. However, they need to balanced with iodine which it helps recycle.

    People medicating thyroid hormone replacement have the necessary iodine in their meds and deficiencies are unusual in this part of the world, but it would be unwise to supplement high amounts of selenium as an imbalance could aggravate any thyroid problems further. Particularly as you haven't eliminated Hashimotos yet.

    STTM advocates between 200-400 mcg selenium daily but I only take 100 mcg selenium daily.


  • Only just read this and also the linked article. Muchas gracias for that. Do you think I should reduce my 200mcg daily selenium tabs to one every other day then for time being? Or just switch to brazil nuts completely? I've purchased a blur horizon thyroid plus 11 test to test TgAB but am waiting for a dose of the manflu to subside before I extract the bloods and send them, so it's as representatively average a reading as poss. As an aside, I am very susceptible to colds and bugs, suffering with some lurgee or other at least a quarter of the winter overall if not more, so deffo suffer from a compromised immune system. It's even worse when I let my vit C supplementation slide.

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