Can Masturbation and Fatigue Be Related?

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH; Dorine Lam, RDN, MS, MPH


Read Part 1 Now!

Common Causes of AFS in Adolescence and Young Adults

Masturbation and fatigue in young adults Is there such thing as masturbation and fatigue? Could your masturbation and fatigue be related? Could masturbation and fatigue be what is distracting your teen? Hereditary low constitutions, delayed brain maturation, and imbalanced hormonal output may play significant roles in triggering AFS when it is combined with high stress over time. The body, already low in energy reserve, is drained each time it is stressed. Even seemingly harmless aspects of their lifestyle such as masturbation and fatigue may be huge factors. If the reserve is not fully replenished in a timely manner, the accumulated net energy drain over time eventually causes the body to run out of steam. Without timely rebuilding of nutritional reserves to support the ongoing energy demand required in high performance physical or mental activity when needed, the body’s NeuroEndoMetabolic Stress ResponseSM becomes activated as it embarks on a down-regulation strategy to conserve energy for survival. Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome is the end result of such a response.  keep reading to learn about the unique relationship between masturbation and fatigue, and how masturbation and fatigue are affecting the wellbeing of your teen.

Other major triggers of AFS for the teenager can include excessive extreme exercise, perfectionist characteristics, uncontrolled obsessive-compulsive personality traits, severe accident, loss or death of a loved one, chronic pain, family disharmony, chronic or acute infection, excessive use of antibiotics, chronic sex, and chronic insomnia. Poor diet can also be a contributing and precipitating factor but seldom the main root cause. Childhood trauma such as incest, sexual assault, frequent relocation, emotional instability, and being bullied at school can all add to the insult and contribute to Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome. But, what about masturbation and fatigue?  Could something this simple be impacting your child in a major way?

One seldom-researched trigger of AFS is insomnia or chronic insufficient sleep. The teenage brain needs more sleep relative to the adult brain during the maturing phase. This sleep cycle is also different. Many teenagers feel their best late at night. They tend to sleep in late, often well into the morning, before awakening. Many have difficulty falling asleep. Lack of proper sleep has been shown to retard brain maturation and increase brain neuronal cell death in advanced cases. A brain deprived of healing sleep will not be able to carry out activities that require focus and concentration at peak performance, such as studying for a test. Academic performance is invariably affected. Many are addicted to energy drinks as a way to boost mental function. These more often than not contain caffeine-like compounds, that though natural, are stimulatory in nature. Relying on such boosters can have a devastating effect on the body over time. As the body develops a tolerance for such compounds, more is required to achieve the same level of energy. Eventually, the body becomes wired. Energy crashes inevitably occur if not addressed. With each crash, the adrenal hormonal pathways are stressed further. AFS can be the end result.

Masturbation and Fatigue

So, masturbation and fatigue are related. Excessive chronic masturbation is a common cause of AFS in males and young adults. This is seldom discussed. Masturbation and fatigue are often activities/feelings teens don’t feel comfortable discussing with adults. The pervasiveness of sex in the modern world is frightening and unavoidable. There is no easy escape. We live in a world where songs with sexual orientation are available 24/7. Pornographic materials and video games with sexual orientation are easily available and free over the web. The maturing brain that is focused on emotion rather than logic is easily distracted from logical constructs necessary for successful and balanced living. It is easily distracted by sex where instant gratification can be addictive, thus making masturbation and fatigue a more common issue than one might assume.

Masturbation is a socially acceptable release of impending sexual desire looking for physical release. It is a complex psycho-neuroendocrine process that starts in the brain and involves many neurotransmitters and hormones such as epinephrine, norepinephrine, prolactin, acetylcholine, dopamine, and serotonin working in unison. An orgasm is a very intense, physiological process.

Achieving an orgasm is one of the most pleasurable of feelings. For this reason, men especially may frequently either pursue sexual encounters or masturbate in lieu of sexual activity. Excessive ejaculation over time can deplete the body of essential nutrients and vital body fluids while increasing metabolite byproducts. Sexual exhaustion can result as precious energy is diverted to replenish body fluids. Those who masturbate frequently are at higher risk.

Hormone imbalance associated with chronic masturbation includes depletion of acetylcholine, dopamine, and cortisol. Thyroid hormones can become imbalanced, and liver function burdened from the excessive metabolic workload. The result is an immune system that is compromised. Frequent orgasms can lead to sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous function imbalance, stressing the adrenals as they try to stabilize this imbalance by putting out more cortisol, the anti-stress hormone. Excessive cortisol output over time can lead to low cortisol levels and adrenal exhaustion.

The hormonal homeostatic feedback loop becomes deregulated over time, leading to the fight-or-flight alarm response activation. Epinephrine is a neurotransmitter required as part of the sympathetic nervous system stimulation during alarm response. Constant excessive epinephrine release flooding the body due to masturbation can lead to a state of sympathetic overtone, which is not healthy. The body in its best compensatory effort will try to downregulate all organ systems to conserve energy, resulting in loss of vitality, energy, and lethargy. In advanced cases, the body is physically forced into incapacitation, and energy output is minimized. Sexual desire will diminish, leading to reduced libido in both male and female. Menses may become irregular and absent for prolonged periods of time. This is the body’s way of saying enough is enough it’s time to rest. The body’s reproductive system is clearly important for the survival of the human species, but our bodies were not designed to be simply reproductive machines!

Recovery Approach

Recovery for the teenager and young adult Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome sufferer requires special consideration. AFS is not a recognized medical condition. Having a primary care physician conduct a complete workup from a conventional medicine perspective is absolutely necessary to make sure there are no underlying medical issues, including infection, anemia, or even cancer. AFS should only be considered when all conventional workup is negative. Do not jump to conclusions that AFS is the cause just because symptoms match as many conditions can have symptoms that mimic AFS.

Recovery Alerts

The approach of a teenager and young adult with AFS must be very different from an adult. While chronic emotional stress is the main trigger for AFS in mature adults, slow brain maturation along with raging hormones are more contributing forces for AFS in young adults and the adolescent. A different approach is therefore needed, one that focuses on long-term recovery using gentle nutritional rebuilding and management of mental expectations to allow the brain time to mature.

The following alerts need to be kept clearly in focus by the physician:

A. Avoid an Overly Fast Recovery

By the time the physician gets clinically involved, most Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome sufferers are well in advanced stages. The tendency is to start medication quickly to enhance energy flow if the workup is normal. Hormone replacement and medications prescribed commonly for the mature adult tend to be too much for the less mature body even though it is weight adjusted. The reason is because a young body has strong rebound capabilities and therefore less intense therapeutic maneuvers are necessary, generally speaking. Any attempt to increase energy flow for the young adult is often successful at first and rather quick. The initial success may give rise to a false sense of complacency. More medication is then prescribed, and with each step up in dosage, the response is usually positive at first.

A common recovery mistake is to continue such increases indiscriminately. The body can only tolerate so much stimulation, and over time, can reach its maximum stimulatory level. This is not an overnight process and usually, happens over a period of months or years. The problem is that this is seldom noticed. Over time, the body becomes wired with medication, but cannot do without it. A state of wired and tired ensues and is very uncomfortable. Typically, anxiety sets in during the day but insomnia is severe at night.

Some will discontinue medication immediately upon feeling better. As fatigue returns, they are quick to restart again, using medication as a clutch repeatedly while they hang on to lifestyles that are non-conducive to the healing process.

Always be on alert for this common recovery pitfall. The smartest approach is to titrate the recovery into tiny baby steps and avoid the start and stop approach. We prefer to use nutrition rather than medication to affect this because it is far gentler and can get the job done just as fast, and often faster. The benefit is less significant unintended consequences when done properly.

The single focus on speed of recovery as the ultimate measure of successful healing is therefore often misleading. Remember that the body has been injured for years usually by the time a clinician’s advice is sought. It cannot be expected to heal quickly over a short period of time without symptoms relapse if fatigue is chronic and unrelenting. The body is not a light switch that can be switched on and off repeatedly at will without significant collateral damage over time. The faster the healing process, the higher the risk of crashes further down the road because the strong foundation of healing that takes place over time has not yet been built.

B. Avoid Addiction

Watch out for addiction, masturbation and fatigueWhile medications can be useful in the short-term to help manage acute medical instability, this is seldom the long-term solution to the root cause. Unless underlying stressors are identified and removed, short-term symptom suppression can lead to a long time deterioration of the body’s adrenal and other endocrine systems functions. The body of an adolescent or young adult is already overflowing in a sea of hormones. Conventional medicine doctors commonly use anti-depressants and sleeping pills to help with the emotional state. Frequently prescriptions are given for hormones like DHEA, pregnenolone, and testosterone, and thyroid medications to boost energy. Such external hormones may lead the body’s internal endocrine system to down-regulate or compromise its negative feedback system, creating life long dependency issues as the body’s endocrine system becomes lazy since it is constantly supplied with external hormones. Chronic medication dependency is highly undesirable.

A clear exit strategy should be in place prior to starting any medication, especially hormones.

C. Avoid Masking the Underlying Problem

The teenage and young adult body is undergoing rapid hormonal changes that are part of the normal growth process. Any attempt to bypass or suppress such normal hormonal maturing pathways, feedback systems and axis self-regulation may cause unintended side effects in addition to addiction mentioned earlier. For example, birth control pills could temporarily reset and regularize the menstrual cycle. However, it may cloud the underlying picture of hormonal imbalance, leading to infertility issues later in adulthood. Sleep medication may provide temporary relief but can mask the underlying metabolic dysregulation. Those with sleep maintenance insomnia (waking up in the middle of the night) are particularly vulnerable. Blood sugar imbalances are frequently an important contributor. Such metabolic imbalance during sleep often triggers an adrenaline response, leading to awakening.

When the underlying cause is masked, the ability to gauge the true state of recovery is compromised. Always focus on the root cause. Failure to address this underlying cause could lead to a continued worsening condition, with blood sugar instability and ultimately diabetes.

D. Avoid Energy Swings

As mentioned earlier, the rebound capacity of a teenager is far superior to that of a mature adult in their forties or fifties. Such resilience is only good for recovery if properly managed. When dealing with excess masturbation and fatigue increase, glandular and herbal formulas for teenagers can seem quite useful as they often produce a short-term increase in energy that can be rather exaggerated. This positive burst of energy can be misunderstood. Due to the incomplete understanding of the entire root cause, the common perception is that recovery is complete. This is usually followed by the desire to catch up on lost time by increasingly utilizing the new vitality for physical and social activities, by participating in parties and extreme sports, as well as a return to poor dietary habits. Over time, this can deplete the energy reserve. Adrenal crashes are triggered, worsening the condition.

For survival, the body then activates the autonomic nervous system (ANS) as the body enters a fight or flight mode mediated by norepinephrine and epinephrine. Frequent activation and deactivation of the ANS can lead to a body that becomes highly sensitive to the stress of all kinds. Over time, in extreme cases, noise, temperature, food, and vibration intolerance are common. Car rides become uncomfortable with frequent yawning. Feeling drained when exposed to direct sunlight or hot water baths are just some of the many examples encountered in day-to-day living that become problematic.

The body enters a roller coaster state energy-wise, swinging from overly tired after a crash to a state of high energy triggered by the increasing use of medication. A sense of anxiety or being wired is experienced at the height of emotions, while the lows are accompanied by feelings of lethargy, disappointment, frustration, and depression. With each crash, the body gets weaker. Like a rubber band that is repeatedly overstretched, the rebound capability is ultimately reduced gradually and slowly. A fragile state ultimately ensues with frequent crashes, which may land the sufferer repeatedly in an emergency room for heart palpitations, anxiety attacks and a sense of impending doom. Because this happens slowly over a few years, the person is unaware of the consequences until the final major crash occurs, resulting in incapacitation.

E. Avoid liver congestion

Those who are looking for quick fixes will find that over time their use of compounds, including glandular, herbal nutrients such as rhodiola, ginseng, licorice, ashwagandha, and maca can do more harm than good. Aside from tolerance, withdraw, and addiction issues, one must remember that all such compounds must be cleared by the liver. Excessive burden placed on the liver to process and detoxify these compounds, though natural, may lead to liver sub-clinical congestion. Liver function tests remain normal while detoxification capacity is reduced. The body’s toxic load is increased. Toxins in the body can trigger brain fog, joint pain, anxiety and a host of other undesirable symptoms. Conventional doctors at a loss of what to do are tempted to prescribe anti-depressants, analgesics, and sleeping medications as a solution. Such medications, in turn, pose even more burden on the liver, as they too, have to be cleared there. If the liver overburden issues are not resolved promptly once they are congested, this may lead to a lifelong challenge of retarded or lagged recovery and increased food and chemical sensitivities as well. This additional burden further retards the recovery process and can worsen the overall condition.

F. Managing Expectation

Managing recovery expectations is important. This is very difficult for most teenagers because of peer pressures. The high achiever will find this particularly challenging and can be emotionally devastating.

Parental education and understanding of this condition is a key factor as well. Parents need to understand that long-term unresolved AFS in a teenager can evolve into a chronic debilitating condition well into adulthood. If left to the teenager to navigate alone, chances of recovery failure are very high. The more involved the parents are, the better the chance of success.

On the parental side, the tendency is towards finding a quick fix as well. Parents need to have the patience and consistency during the entire process while the teenager is on a recovery program. Ups and downs with setbacks are part and partial of the overall recovery process.

Recovery time is hard to predict. A one to two year time frame is not unusual. The key is to not force the body. Both the teenager and the parents must embrace this notion and put it in proper perspective. The body will dictate the recovery timetable. Pushing the body faster than it is capable of going is a common mistake and a recipe for recovery failure.

No matter how long it takes for recovery, it is still a small price to pay for a lifelong solution to this complicated condition. The alternative is to jump from doctor to doctor, engaging in medications and supplements that are symptom driven. This can ultimately worsen the condition over time and as a result subject the teenager to a lifelong struggle of incapacitated living.

Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome and Children

Talk to your kids about masturbation and fatigueThere is little doubt clinically that AFS exists in children. Hard scientific evidence is perhaps decades away due to the lack of laboratory testing and measurement data in the pediatric population.

The common signs and symptoms are not the same as those in adults. In particular, physical lethargy and fatigue may not be present as a predominant symptom. Children are full of resilience and energy reserves. AFS is often passed over just because fatigue is not the predominant symptom or perhaps not present. This is very different from mature adults. The absence of fatigue therefore in children does not mean that some form of AFS is present.

Common symptoms are:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Easily irritable
  • Craving carbohydrates or sugar
  • Poor immune function and frequent infection
  • Skin rash of unknown origin
  • Food sensitivity and intolerance
  • Unable to concentrate, and frequently diagnosed as having Attention Deficit Disorder

These symptoms, collectively viewed from afar, are consistent with a weak internal adrenal system. The absence of fatigue points to a body with sufficient nutritional and energy reserves and abundant resilience typical of children. A detailed history with an expert is critical to make the proper assessment.

The use of nutritional supplementation needs to proceed very carefully and only after ruling out possible organic causes. Blind supplementation can worsen the condition because the body is constantly changing and growing. Over-supplementation is common and can cause serious side effects. Commonly used herbs, glandulars, and vitamins suitable for adults are often not necessary for children and can, in fact, lead to dependency, resistance, and withdrawal issues.

Conclusion

In conclusion concerning the relationship between masturbation and fatigue, helping a teenager and young adult recover from Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome is very different from that of a mature adult. Without factoring in the needs of a maturing brain or a body that is already flooded with hormones, it is rather easy to use medications or natural compounds to increase energy for the sake of energy, forgetting the underlying root problem.

The teenager’s body is generally more receptive to recovery as compared to that of a matured adult at first. So, if masturbation and fatigue have been a concerning, healing is possible. They are also more impatient. A faster response can be dangerous. Without a systematic approach that is well thought out ahead of time, short-term success can bring long-term troubles. Until the root problem is sorted out and addressed, symptoms patching can often worsen the underlying state over time. For a teenager just starting out in life, this can be devastating.

Because the conventional or functional testing is usually normal or marginally abnormal, it is important to rely more on clinical findings and not simply treat for laboratory numbers.

A comprehensive plan for the overall recovery with realistic timing is key. While nutritional supplements can be helpful, if used, they must be monitored very carefully and titrated in order to avoid a false sense of recovery. Refraining from excessive physical activities and conservation of energy is mandatory during the recovery period, while maintaining strong muscle tone is important. A good balance between aerobic and strength capacity is critical as adolescent growth spurts should be maintained uninterrupted. Reducing masturbation and fatigue reduction couldchange your childs future.

Recovery will take time, and there is no short cut. If self-navigation fails to bring stabilization or long-term results for those with mild AFS, it is best to consult an experienced health care professional so as to avoid the many recovery mistakes most people make. If the AFS is in advanced stages, seeking professional help is critical to avoid plunging the young body into a lifelong debilitating mode of living. Don’t let masturbation and fatigue be the downfall of your youths bright future.

Read Part 1 Now!

© Copyright 2015 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.


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12 Comments

  • Tired says:

    I’m a male, 30 years old. I’ve masturbated since about the age of 14. For the last 10 or so years, I’ve not really been feeling well and have always thought that potentially excessive ejaculation may be the cause. It’s hard to wrap my head around this idea because the mainstream sick-care system would totally dismiss my speculation here as nonsense. Anyway, a couple years ago I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (high TPO antibodies) and several food sensitivities. Because of my paranoia, I have not eaten any of those foods in the last couple years and continue to be on a VERY restrictive diet. Could this all have been brought on by masturbation? Please respond, Dr. Lam – I would very much be in debt to you.

    • Dr.Lam says:

      Excessive masturabation can drain the body over time. The older you are , the most significant it can be. When the body is weak, as in AFS, the auto-immune function can be disrupted. there is no direct hard evidence to link AFS ( which itself is not recgonized by conventional medicine) to Hashmitos at this time in the science world.

      Dr Lam

  • Stephen Efesan says:

    Having a daughter (aged 14) showing symptoms of both subclinincal hypothyroidism and AFS (probably stage 3B), I wonder:
    1) how to distinguish between AFS and strong, but still normal, puberty swings in mood or saliva lab test results, and,
    2) where and how to find a recovery plan tailored for such young patients.
    Having read your fantastic book about AFS and these two articles about teens and AFS, I became very unsure on how to proceed.
    Kind regards

    • Dr.Lam says:

      A detailed history by an AFS literate professional can often be the most helpful in differentiating between thyroid and AFS issues. A recovery plan for teenagers is very different from adults and has to be personalized for long term. We have a telephone coaching program for that if you qualify.

      Dr.Lam

  • Felix says:

    Thank you for the great articles you put on this website!

    I have a question though: I can understand that you didn’t include numbers when talking about excessive ejaculation. Nontheless I would be very happy to know what you would actually define as excessive, since this is a topic I haven’t discussed with the doctor that helps me treat my AFS.

    • Dr.Lam says:

      Its excessive when you feel drained and experienced long recovery time. Everyone is different because there is already some underlying adrenal weakness and individual variation is wide. If you pay attention to your body, you will be in tuned.

      Dr Lam

  • Desperate man says:

    I am pretty sure I have AFS since the age of 14 with excessive maturation and chronic stress. I have had several blood tests, scanner, heart tests. Doctors Don t seem to find where is comes from. 25 years after it started I am in a state where I really have hard I’ve to concentrate I become a bit like a zombie, reaction times are slow, recovery after sport slow, eyes always feel to go inside since I always feel tired. Was wondering at this late phase what can be reasonably done to improve? I really need to get some energy back. Thanks for any advice

    • Dr.Lam says:

      There are many things one can do to improve even at late stages. the problem is that the body becomes so fragile that small wrong moves can have serious damaging effects, including crashes. Most self-navigation fails and condition worsen as a result. Finding the right practitioner is the key to your recovery if you are not experienced. Our approach is unique and comes after decades of dealing with this. Click Total Body Approach for more information.

      Dr Lam

  • Francis says:

    I was wondering, Dr. Lam, how fast is too fast for a recovery program?

    • Dr.Lam says:

      Most teenagers have wonderful capability to rebound, and we are talking 6 months to 12 months in best case senerio under the right hands. People that try to stimulate the body and want to get better in a matter of weeks usually cause more long term damage and actually get weaker over time though short term they may be successful in increasing energy.

      Dr Lam

  • Tracy says:

    Maybe this is obvious and I’m missing something, but if everyone going through puberty has hormone fluctuations, what makes one teenager more susceptible than another to AFS? Thanks Dr. Lam!

    • Dr.Lam says:

      Yes in theory , but they are stronger and much more resilience as their nutritional reserves are high, so they can sustain more imbalances. Teenagers afflicted with AFS usually have a hereditary component. They needs special care .

      Dr Lam