Testosterone In Women : Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
While testosterone is commonly connected to a male, it is an androgen hormone that is also produced by women. For a male, testosterone is produced in the testicles and is responsible for their overall physical development but also their sperm production and a healthy sex drive.
However, in women, the quantity of testosterone that is produced is much lesser and the dominant hormone is estrogen. That being said, the amount of testosterone being produced in a female’s body is crucial – as too much or too little can affect a woman’s health.
The levels of testosterone also depend on the age of the female. For instance, a middle-aged woman will release half the amount of testosterone than a young woman would.
Role of Testosterone in Females:
- Produces new blood cells
- Affects hormones that are crucial for reproduction
- Healthier libido
- Muscle and fat distribution in the body
The University of Rochester Medical Center has declared that a woman should be producing 50-70 nanograms per deciliter of testosterone and below that would be classified as low testosterone levels.
According to the Boston University School of Medicine in 2002, “if a woman’s plasma total testosterone level is less than 25 ng/dL in women under 50 years old, this is low.”
Identifying the symptoms of low testosterone levels in women might be challenging. Here is a list of the most common ones:
- Weakness in the muscles
- Inability to sleep
- Reduced sex drive as well as satisfaction
- Gain of body mass
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Problems with fertility
- Dryness of the vagina
- Loss of bone density
These symptoms are essential in understanding disorders that women might be facing too. Since hormones are so deeply connected with the sexual drive, it has been seen that about 8% to 19% of women face Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder or HSDD due to low testosterone levels.
The name itself implies that this disorder reduces the appeal of sex to women and it also makes them disinterested in any thoughts about sexual activities. Apart from this, it is also a cause of frustration, depression, low self-esteem, and personal distress.
Causes of Low Testosterone in Women:
- Oral birth control pills used over a long period of time
- Ovarian failure, which in turn is caused by radiation, chemotherapy, eating disorders, and menopause
- Certain medications may have this as a side effect
- Tumors on certain glands
- Aging, which again would also result in menopause
- Faulty working of the adrenal glands
- Surgical removal of the ovaries
- Taking oral estrogen medicine
A major problem with the diagnosis of low testosterone levels in women is that doctors have not researched enough. The more general problem is that of high testosterone levels in women. Nonetheless, low testosterone levels are also found in several women.
One of the medicines that might be able to combat low testosterone levels and is prescribed by doctors is Estratest. This medicine is generally given to women who have crossed their menopause and it essentially provides the woman with both estrogen and a more synthetic form of testosterone.
Another way to increase the testosterone level in the body is to inject it medically. While patches and gel-based formulas are also available, they are not as successful as injections are.
Some doctors also recommend DHEA which is also a hormone and once inside your body it triggers the glands which then produce more testosterone than before. It is essential to remember that the number of injections, medicines, and hormones being administered is directed by a trained medical physician as high levels of testosterone can also cause harm to a woman.
What Do High Levels of Testosterone Do:
- Deeper voice
- Retention of fluids in the body
- Facial hair
It is also necessary to keep in mind that pregnant women or breastfeeding women should not be taking any sort of androgen hormones.
Earlier, low testosterone in women was neither considered to be a health issue nor did the medication community have any conclusive reports and results. However, recent researchers have found more about the real changes that take place in a woman overall after she intakes testosterone through one of the above-mentioned methods.
The obvious change is witnessed in the libido and, indeed, women seem more sexually motivated. Apart from that, doctors recommend exercising for pleasing results as intake of testosterone comes with retention of body muscle and a slight decrease in fat. Changes are also seen in a woman’s mood and she seems to be more enthusiastic and energized.
Where to Get Help?
- General physician
- A local hospital or medical health centre
- Specialized centres focused on women’s health issues
- Fertility clinics
What to Expect From Your Doctor?
In case a woman experiences the symptoms that have been listed, the doctor will start her physical exam by questioning her further about the symptoms. The doctor might also order a blood test to get more concrete conclusions.
The levels of testosterone fluctuate while a woman is still menstruating and therefore the doctor will advise women who are in the pre-menopause stage accordingly.
There are still many who argue the reality of such issues and many who are unable to comprehend its symptoms and causes. This is a very real problem in both pre-menopausal and post-menopausal women. It can be overcome by the methods mentioned above and along with that, it is necessary to monitor the levels of testosterone while administering the medicines or hormones.
The following are the world’s leading women health centres:
- Brigham and Women’s Hospital, USA
- Mayo Clinic, USA
- Cleveland Clinic, USA
- Liverpool Women’s Hospital, UK
- Magee-Women’s Hospital of UPMC, USA
Often the symptoms of low testosterone in women are misdiagnosed or not recognized at all and therefore spreading awareness and talking about these issues is also crucial. The centres and doctors are present to facilitate women’s lives who are facing these problems because low testosterone levels affect women majorly.
What one need not worry about is the solution and answers to this issue as the hormonal balance can be achieved through various ways and a woman can feel like her confident self once again with ease and grace!
March 30, 2021 Sam Bell