What Does it Mean to Have High Testosterone for Women?
Testosterone is a hormone typically associated with men, but women have and need a small amount of testosterone. Let’s learn why women need testosterone and how it functions in the body. Check out a previous blog here as well on what testosterone does for women and the symptoms of low levels.
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a sex hormone that is primarily responsible for the development of male sexual characteristics. It is produced by the testes in males but also the female ovaries and the adrenal cortex. The body increases the production of testosterone during puberty, and then it gradually declines after age thirty.
Sex drive or libido is strongly tied to testosterone production, but it also affects bone and muscle mass, body fat storage, mood and concentration, and red blood cell production.
We typically hear a lot about low testosterone or low T and the problems it causes, but can you have too much testosterone? The short answer is yes.
High Testosterone in Women
Unfortunately, you can have too much of a good thing. While some testosterone is needed in the female body, excessive amounts can cause some problems. High T in women may cause:
- Low libido
- Brain fog
- Decreased Energy
- Decrease in muscle mass
- Body aches and/or pain
- Less vaginal lubrication
- Higher risk of cardiovascular disease
These are just some of the symptoms of high testosterone for women and not everyone experiences the same ones. Every individual’s body is different.
What Causes High Testosterone for Women?
There are several reasons why testosterone may become elevated in a woman.
One of the primary causes of high T in women is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is a hormonal disorder that often causes an overproduction of testosterone. PCOS is also associated with:
- Irregular or absent periods
- Increased body hair in some areas, or loss of hair (balding) in others
- Enlargement of the clitoris
- Increased muscle mass
- Deeper voice
- Steroid Use
Steroid use or abuse can increase levels of testosterone. Anabolic steroids are used to increase muscle mass and strength, but they also increase testosterone levels.
Medical problems that affect the adrenal glands can elevate testosterone levels. For example, a condition called congenital adrenal hyperplasia causes the adrenal glands to put out too much testosterone. Disorders like this are genetic and usually found a birth or during puberty.
Are There Benefits to High Testosterone in Women?
While overly high testosterone levels in women can cause unwanted side effects, balancing testosterone to an optimal level has some benefits. The goal is to restore testosterone to around the level a woman had during her youth. These levels tend to give women an increased sense of well-being. In particular, women with optimal testosterone levels will notice increased energy levels, maintenance of muscle mass, improved sexual function, and improved skin tone.
How Do I Know What My Testosterone Level Is?
It all starts with a simple blood test. Our healthcare providers will discuss your symptoms and treatment goals during a consultation. We’ll recommend a comprehensive panel of blood work that evaluates your testosterone and all your hormone levels that might not be in balance. Once we review your results, we can recommend a treatment plan to make you feel your best.
Periodically we may re-evaluate your levels to see how you respond to treatment and if any adjustments are needed. Learn more about our hormone therapy program for women by clicking here.
How Can You Lower Testosterone Levels?
If your testosterone levels are elevated, treatment will focus on balancing your testosterone with other hormones. Specific treatment will depend on the cause. For example, conditions like PCOS may require medications and attention to diet and nutritional supplements.
How Do I Learn More?
If you believe you might have high or low testosterone symptoms or other hormonal imbalances, the best way to find out is by completing our initial consultation form. Our providers will review your symptoms and health history before contacting you to schedule a consult.
We look forward to helping you improve your health and feel your best!