A Lady stretching and destressing trying to keep her cortisol levels in check

How Cortisol can affect your Testosterone levels

We all know that stress isn’t good for our health. The impact that stress can have on our body is far reaching, impacting both long and short-term health.

One of the lesser-known effects that stress can have relates to the production of testosterone, blocking the hormone and producing cortisol which can further lower your testosterone levels. When testosterone levels are impaired, this can lead to other unwanted conditions.

If you’re curious about your testosterone levels, it’s a good idea to get clued up on cortisol too, and how this stress hormone can affect you.

Cortisol  and Testosterone Blood Tests
Image from istockphoto​​

Stress and testosterone

Stress can be caused by a wide range of factors. Emotional triggers, work pressures, relationship problems, money worries and general anxiety can all put both the mind and body under stress, triggering a fight or flight response that releases the stress hormone cortisol.

While some stress is short, temporary, and situational, other stress can be long term and debilitating. Stress that lasts over a long period of time can lead to problems such as lowered immunity.

When your stress levels get too high, your body releases the hormone cortisol. Too much of this can impact testosterone levels reducing the body’s ability to manage emotion, maintain body weight and build muscle.

Can stress cause low testosterone? That’s where your cortisol levels kick in, becoming dangerously elevated as your body undergoes more stress.

Why are high levels of cortisol bad for your health?

Scientists have found that when cortisol levels spike, your body is triggered into flight mode.

When this happens, the body’s response to testosterone is blocked. This is because testosterone-related actions like aggression, competition, and mating aren’t essential.

Cortisol encourages the body to go into survival mode, which in a life-threatening situation, can be helpful. Unfortunately, the body can’t tell the difference between serious stress and non-serious stress. Too much cortisol can result in problems like:

  • Bruising easily
  • Extreme exhaustion
  • Hormonal acne
  • Muscle weakness
  • Permanently flushed face
  • Thinning skin more prone to wrinkling
  • Weight gain, particularly around your upper back, midsection, and face

If high cortisol levels persist, you can go on to develop more severe issues, including:

  • Diabetes and insulin resistance
  • Heart disease
  • Mental health disorders

Is it possible to prevent high cortisol?

With the pressures of our busy lives and the unrelenting negativity of the news, it can feel like it’s impossible to avoid stress.

While it is hard to keep stress at bay completely, there are plenty of things you can do to reduce stress in your life, or better manage stressful periods.

Eat a balanced diet

Get out in nature

Journal your thoughts


Regulate your sleep habits

Take supplements such as vitamin D, magnesium, and zinc, which can reduce inflammation and encourage muscle growth and repair

Getting your testosterone levels tested 

If you’re concerned about your testosterone levels, and how cortisol might be impacting them, you may want to consider getting tested for confirmation. Armed with this information, you can make more informed decisions in order to optimise your health and wellbeing.

Private testosterone testing in the comfort of your own home

If you’re interested in finding out about your testosterone levels, our home testing kits give you everything you need to take a sample in the comfort of your own home and send back to our laboratory for analysis.

Our testosterone tests also provide cortisol analysis to help give a clearer picture of your health, testosterone, and stress levels, helping you understand potential deficiencies.

Quick and convenient home tests

This test is available as a finger prick or vacutainer sample collection option. You can also choose to visit a BMI Hospital or have a nurse home visit.

If you choose to collect the sample yourself, your home-to-laboratory kit contains everything you need to take a blood sample in the comfort of your own home, at a time to suit you, and sent it back to us for testing.

Clear, accurate results

The time it takes to receive your results will depend on the type of test you have chosen. When they are ready, your results will be sent directly to you, via email, within the time specified. If you would prefer to receive a paper copy of your results through the post, that can be arranged for you.

You can also choose the option of reported or unreported results. Reported results include information and comment from our GP which you may find helpful to discuss with your own consultant, or for your records.

Find out more about home testosterone testing 

Quick and Reliable

There's a reason that over 30% of Blue Horizon Kit requests are from patients that have used us before.