Why firefighting and other shift work wreck havoc on your testosterone

Why firefighting and other shift work wreck havoc on your testosterone

Aug 8, 2016

Picture this-


You have to wake up early to head in. You already feel tired when you hit the door. You work all day and feel yourself dragging along. You long just to close your eyes and drift away. When you finally get into bed and comfortable you start to fall asleep. Just at that moment all of the lights in your room turn on and a loud speakers starts blaring at you to respond somewhere for an emergency. Not only are you completely exhausted from the day but you will be lucky yo see your bed again for another hour or longer. After the tones go off you have to get dressed and start your response in a minute or less. After you leave the station you must know exactly where you are going and hope you have an idea of what is going on. When you arrive you will be required to complete and elevate any emergency placed in front of you.

If your luck this will be it for the night. If not good luck feeling the comfort of your bed during this duty shift. Because of this the next day you can’t drink enough coffee to keep you up; and if you have young kids forget about being able to recover.

These factors recreate a negative feedback loop for your testosterone.  But let’s look at testosterone just how important testosterone is to your daily function and not just for muscle growth.

Of course testosterone plays a huge role in muscle production and retention. It also plays a large role in libido and sexual function. What’s left helps with mood and well being.

Now let’s look back at our situation from above and the negative feedback loop that it has created. So you are exhausted and need caffeine to function. So much caffeine that it begins to affect your sleep quality. Then the sleep you get it either limited or not deep enough to build up your testosterone levels over night. On top of that cortisol; the stress hormone; is released multiple times during your shift. This decreased your testosterone, spikes your blood sugar and can lead to retention of abdominal fat. The negative loop continues during your off days because you are never able to fully recover.

This leads to decreased libido, inability to build muscle mass, and throws your mood out of control. You become angry and irritated with everything. You can not control your mood. You constantly feel tired and working out gets pushed to the side.

You do some research and believe you might be suffering from low T syndrome. But now what?

First I would recommend looking at your life and seeing what ways you can try to improve yourself. On your off days can you get to bed a few hours earlier then normal? Are you able to nap at all during the day? Can you improve your diet to help with how you feel? Are you able to fit in a workout to help boost your testosterone?

If you have tried these with still nothing helping it might be time to look into being tested to see if your testosterone in clinical low. It’s a simple blood screen and you will know all of your results in a few days. If your numbers are normal then you may need to look for other options. But if your numbers are low you will need to decide if you want to start testosterone replacement treatment; TRT. 

Making the decision to start treatment is something I would recommend you complete your own research on and speak honestly with yourself and your doctor. It’s something only you are able to answer but it is a life long decision you will have to make. Do the research, look for yourself, and decide if you think it would be beneficial to your overall well being.


Find the road you wish to travel.


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