Can saunas lower your testosterone?

Dear Dr. Milrod:

I am 30 years old and know I can’t do certain things like I used to. Meanwhile, I belong to a health club right across the street from where I live.  I go there all the time, sometimes to workout, but mostly to shower, shave and hit my favorite 2 rooms, the hot room (close to a sauna) and the steam room. I have a serious high tolerence for heat.  I can stay in the hot room for 30 minutes, read the paper, dripping sweat, jump in/out of the pool then sit/lie down in the steam room for another 20-30 minutes. My brother can barely handle it for 10 minutes combined.  I’m a little concerned because I have heard that this can lower your testosterone. Is this true?

Joe Traina

Dear Joe Traina:

A researcher in Poland actually subjected males to sauna exposure and measured their levels of cortisol (stress hormone) and testosterone during exposure. He actually got a concentration of plasma testosterone increase during a 1-hour exposure; however, magnitudes depended on fluid ingestion. Conversely if you are trying to get your sperm count up, don’t sit around in hot rooms or wear sweaty, tight pants. Keep your family jewels in boxers and keep them cool!

Christine Milrod, Ph.D.

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