Muscular woman showing back muscles

What Are The Symptoms of High and Low Testosterone In Women



Most people think about men when they think about testosterone. This isn’t unjustified – men definitely have more testosterone than women. However, both genders produce the hormone, and there are still many cases of high or low testosterone in women that can be a cause for concern.

You see, testosterone isn’t exclusively a male hormone. It’s important for both men and women to produce muscle tissue, have a healthy libido, and to grow strong bones. Ideally, a perfect balance will be maintained – however, it’s just as easy to find naturally high testosterone in women than it is in men.

This article is going to discuss the issues associated with low or high testosterone levels in women. We’ll also touch on how to lower testosterone in women for those who have determined their levels to be too high.

Table of Contents

 

What are the functions of testosterone in women?

Testosterone is more closely associated with men than it is with women, however, the hormone is very important for both genders. It exerts a number of different biological functions. These are some of the things that testosterone is useful for in the female body:

  • Maintaining the health of our bones. Testosterone is highly involved in the growth and maintenance of healthy bones; without it, bones can grow weak and brittle. Conversely, having too much testosterone can also be detrimental to the bones. A healthy balance of both testosterone and estrogen, in the proper levels, is ideal for proper bone growth.
  • It helps maintain cognition. Testosterone is an important hormone for maintaining our mental health, and it has been shown to play a particularly important role in protecting the cognitive abilities of women. In fact, women with deficiencies of testosterone may be more likely to experience cognitive difficulties like Alzheimer’s later in life.
  • It regulates sex drive. Testosterone is just about as important for the ladies as it is for men in this regard. While women don’t need as much testosterone as men to maintain their sex drive, it still plays an important role.
  • It encourages muscle growth. This is tremendously important, especially during the formative years of a person’s life when they are growing bigger. Testosterone is very closely associated with muscle growth, and this is the main reason that it’s so often used as a steroid for bodybuilders.

 

Normal testosterone levels in women

Levels of testosterone in humans are measured in ng/dL, or nanograms per deciliter. A nanogram is a billionth of a gram, and a deciliter is a tenth of a liter. This means measures are taken in how many billionths of a gram of testosterone are present in 1/10th of a liter of blood.

Women secrete fairly small amounts of testosterone – between 15-75 ng/dL of the stuff during adult age.

To give some perspective, the average testosterone levels for grown men are between 280-1100 ng/dL.

The reason that these numbers fluctuate is because people can produce a different amount of hormones during different times of the day or during different periods of life. This means that one morning you might be producing 25 ng/dL and next week be producing 50 ng/dL.

Diet, exercise, and stress can all influence the amount of testosterone that you produce, but as long as the total levels fall within a healthy range then you have no reason to worry.

Symptoms of high testosterone in women

Close up of girl with problematic skin

While lots of men are often eager to pump up their testosterone levels, women may be less inclined to do so. There are a number of symptoms that women may experience if they have high testosterone levels. These can include:

  • Acne
  • A deep voice
  • Thick or coarse body or facial hair
  • Higher-than-average muscle mass
  • Irregular or missed periods
  • Extended or very large clitoris
  • Decrease in libido
  • Mood instability
  • Smaller breasts
  • Thinning hair
  • Obesity and infertility (though these are generally only seen in extreme cases).

It’s important to note that there are natural and unnatural causes for high testosterone levels. If you think that you are struggling with high testosterone levels based on the previous symptoms, you should talk to your doctor.

What causes high testosterone in women?

There are a number of things that can contribute to high testosterone levels in women. The majority of causes have something to do with a medical condition. Some of these conditions may be hereditary and picked up from your parents.

    • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia. This is a name that’s used to describe a variety of conditions that can influence the adrenal glands. In addition to producing adrenaline, these glands are involved in the production of cortisol and aldosterone – as well as testosterone.If you struggle with this condition, then your body won’t have the enzyme that you need to ensure a normal production of testosterone. Simultaneously, your body will produce a lot less cortisol. This can lead to the standard symptoms of high testosterone in women.
    • Hirsutism. This condition is most often observed when women have hair growing in places that they don’t want it to – places like the back, chest, or face. This is another genetic condition that is believed to lead to excessive production of testosterone.
    • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common causes of high testosterone levels in women. This condition occurs when the ovaries produce more testosterone than natural, and it affects a fairly large amount of women across the globe.

In addition to causing many of the standard symptoms associated with high testosterone levels, PCOS can cause a number of other dangerous or unpleasant issues such as:

      • Depression
      • Heart problems
      • Difficulty having a baby
      • Obesity
      • Enlarged ovaries
      • Sleep apnea
      • Increased risk of developing diabetes

There is currently not enough evidence to explain what causes the condition, however, medical science currently suspects that it has something to do with genetics and blood sugar levels.

High testosterone levels can also, of course, be caused by the consumption of androgenic drugs, like steroids or prohormones. These drugs can either cause the body to produce more testosterone, fill it with molecules nearly identical to testosterone, or change the way that your body responds to testosterone.

How to treat high testosterone levels in women

If you’re wondering how to lower testosterone in women, don’t worry – there are lots of options.

Many of the treatments that are currently available for helping women manage high testosterone levels are pharmaceutical. These drugs aim to reduce the total amount of testosterone in the woman’s body. Some of the most common methods include:

  • Eflornithine, a drug that can prevent the body from producing more hair
  • Glucocorticosteroids, which can help to fight inflammation in the body
  • Metformin, a drug that’s most commonly used to help fight diabetes
  • Progestin, a hormone that can help to stabilize the menstrual period and boost fertility

There are also some natural ways to help reduce the amount of testosterone in the body. Here are some of the best:

  • Eat a testosterone-reducing diet. There are a number of foods that have been shown to help lower the amount of testosterone in the blood and body.

Soy, for example, has been shown to reduce testosterone levels. Soybeans also contain phytoestrogens, which mimic the activity of estrogen once they’re in the body. This alone can help the body produce less testosterone.

There are lots of soy products available – they can be found in most grocery stores. There is tofu, tempeh, soy milk, and many fake meat substitutes that are all made with soy.

Foods like flaxseed are rich in lignans, which can also help to reduce the amount of testosterone in the body.

Reduce the amount of fat and cholesterol that you consume. The body needs cholesterol and fats to produce testosterone; without it, you will have difficulty making the hormone.

  • Take herbal supplements. There are a number of herbal supplements and natural remedies that are believed to reduce testosterone levels by exerting anti-androgenic effects on the body. Things like black cohosh, saw palmetto, chaste berries, and even licorice have been associated with anti-androgenic activity.

Low testosterone symptoms in women

Young woman fixing hair

While women certainly don’t need as much testosterone as men, they do need a bit. If women don’t get the necessary amount of testosterone, they may experience a number of issues. Some of these issues may include:

  • Thinning hair
  • Dry skin
  • Decrease in libido
  • Loss in muscle mass or tone
  • A decrease in the health and strength of bones
  • Increases in body fat
  • Mood instability, depression, anxiety
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • A decrease in strength and motivation

If you’re experiencing a number of these symptoms, it may be worth checking with your doctor to see if you have low T levels.

What causes low female testosterone levels?

There are a few things that could cause low testosterone levels in ladies.

The first thing to take note is that testosterone levels do begin to decline a bit somewhere between the ages of 20 and 40. However, this decrease is gradual – similar to the reduction of estrogen that begins after menopause.

Aside from that, some of these things could contribute to low T levels:

  • Long-term use of contraceptive pills, patches, or other forms of birth control
  • Failure of the ovaries, which could be caused by a number of things including chemotherapy, eating disorders, or menopause
  • Pharmaceutical medications, such as opioids or anti-hypertensives
  • Thyroid conditions
  • Tumors, especially any that may arise on the pituitary gland

If you have experienced any of the above issues, there may be reason to suspect that you have a testosterone deficiency. Speak to your doctor about this.

How to raise testosterone in women

If you have concluded that you’re not producing enough testosterone, then you’re probably curious as to how you can get your body to start producing more. There are lots of options for this.

  • Testosterone replacement therapy. This is a form of therapy that’s most often prescribed for men who are not producing enough testosterone, however, it could be beneficial for women who are deficient. Regardless, the Endocrine Society generally suggests that you avoid testosterone therapy if you’re trying to treat a specific health issue, such as:
  • Infertility
  • Sexual dysfunction (aside from hypoactive sexual desire disorder, which can be effectively managed with testosterone replacement)
  • Mental and cognitive health
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Bone health
  • Overall well-being
  • Exercise. Exercise has consistently been shown to be one of the best natural ways to increase testosterone levels, and is probably safer in the long-run than testosterone replacement therapy.
    • Certain types of exercise are more effective – namely strength training or high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Both of these forms of training encourage the quick growth of muscle and stimulate the production of testosterone in the body.<//li>
  • Diet. Just like you can eat a testosterone-reducing diet, you can also eat a diet that can improve T levels. Many nutrients are important for the production of testosterone – primarily vitamin D and zinc, as well as cholesterol. Ensuring that you get enough of these nutrients will help optimize your T levels.
  • Supplements. There are lots of supplements that have been designed to help increase the amount of testosterone available to the body. TestoGen, for example, contains vital nutrients like zinc and vitamin B6, as well as natural herbal supplements like Red ginseng and fenugreek that can work together to increase testosterone production.
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    Conclusion

    High and low testosterone levels can both be problematic for men or women. If you think that your testosterone levels are out of balance, then surely one of the tricks that we’ve provided for you will help you return them to an optimal level.

    Recommended reading: What are average testosterone levels by race? >>

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