What Happens When There is Low Testosterone in Women
When you think of testosterone, what comes to mind first? Deep voices, body hair growth, and other bodily changes that are associated with men? While many people consider testosterone to be a hormone that is exclusive to men, this is wholly untrue. Women also produce this necessary hormone. In fact, testosterone production is so important that low testosterone in women can produce significant problems.
In this blog, we will discuss the role that testosterone plays in the female body. Thus, by the end of the article, you’ll know why low testosterone in women is so detrimental to a woman’s overall health. But first, it’s important to understand what testosterone is.
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is one of the body’s primary and most important hormones. It is responsible for a wide range of bodily functions, both in men and women. Testosterone is produced in the testes in men and the ovaries in women, with small amounts also being produced by the adrenal glands.
Testosterone is responsible for a man’s sex drive and reproductive functions, including sperm production. Even in women, testosterone is key to overall health and well-being. This is because it helps regulate moods, energy levels, and muscle mass. It also helps keep bones strong and prevents osteoporosis.
Low testosterone in women can have a significant impact on a woman’s quality of life. This hormone affects a woman’s overall health when it is imbalanced. In fact, too much or too little testosterone in a woman can cause a range of negative health effects. These can include effects on libido, blood cell growth, and follicle-stimulating hormones that impact reproduction abilities.
What Happens When There is Low Testosterone in Women?
Low testosterone in women can cause a number of signs and symptoms. If you are experiencing the signs and symptoms of low testosterone as a woman, it is important to know how it can negatively affect you and your health. Such negative effects of low testosterone in women can include, but are not limited to:
- low libido or low sexual satisfaction
- difficulty sleeping
- fatigue or sluggishness
- hot flashes
- vaginal dryness
- mood swings
- depression or depressed mood
- weight gain
- fertility issues
- loss of bone density
- muscle weakness
Low testosterone levels in women can have a significant impact on a woman’s overall health and well-being. It can cause a range of unpleasant signs and symptoms, as well as more serious health effects. Therefore, it’s important to talk to a medical professional if you are experiencing the aforementioned symptoms.
What Causes Low Testosterone in Women?
Low testosterone in women is caused by a variety of factors. Throughout a woman’s life, it is natural for her testosterone levels to change. For example, during a woman’s menstrual cycle, testosterone levels fluctuate. This also happens throughout the day, with different levels being present at different times of the day.
Other causes of low testosterone in women include the following factors:
- natural aging process
- certain medications
- endocrine disorders
- early menopause
- adrenal insufficiency
- oophorectomy (surgical removal of the ovaries)
- oral estrogen therapy (may result in lowered testosterone levels)
For the most part, low testosterone in women is due to two factors. Low levels of production by the ovaries or problems with the pituitary or adrenal glands can cause low testosterone in women. Low levels of testosterone production by the ovaries are often part of the normal diminishing of hormones as a woman ages.
As women get older, their testosterone levels decrease along with their estrogen levels. This is something that is directly linked with the effects of menopause.
Another cause of low testosterone in women is issues with a woman’s genetic makeup. Genetic makeup may affect a woman’s ability to produce two compounds, DHEA and DHEA-S. Both of these compounds are precursors to testosterone. Therefore, their absence is directly linked to low testosterone in women. Furthermore, a deficiency in enzymes that processes DHEA and DHEA-S can contribute to low testosterone in women.
How Is Low Testosterone in Women Diagnosed?
The diagnosis of low testosterone in women begins with a discussion of symptoms with your healthcare provider. He or she will likely order blood tests to measure hormone levels. If low testosterone is confirmed, additional tests may be ordered to determine the underlying cause.
Testing for low testosterone is important. This is because symptoms of low testosterone can mirror other conditions such as stress, depression, or menopause. When medical professionals tests for testosterone levels, they look to see how much testosterone is found in blood plasma.
For women under 50 years old, a testosterone level of 25 ng/dL is considered too low. For women over 50, a testosterone level of 20 ng/dL is too low.
However, it is important to remember that a woman’s hormone levels fluctuate for many natural reasons. Doctors, at times, have difficulty testing womens’ hormone levels due to daily fluctuation in levels. Due to how the menstrual cycle affects hormone levels, a woman should be tested around 8 to 20 days after her cycle starts.
Misdiagnosis in Women with Low Testosterone
As previously mentioned, symptoms of low testosterone in women can appear, to medical professionals, to be caused by depression or anxiety. Misdiagnosis is, unfortunately, very common. This is likely due in part to a lack of understanding about low testosterone in women.
Some medical professionals will take a woman’s lack of sexual desire, mood swings, and lack of sexual satisfaction to mean that the woman is depressed and not that low testosterone is the root of the problem. It is also common for women to be told that their low testosterone levels are simply a part of aging and there is nothing that can be done about it. This is not true. While low testosterone levels do occur more often as women age, it is not a given and may be caused by other factors.
Is High Testosterone in Women Also a Problem?
As we mentioned earlier, high testosterone in women can be just as big of an issue as low testosterone. High testosterone in women can lead to problems such as infertility, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), and even cancer. In women, the ovaries are the main source of testosterone production. However, if the woman’s body produces too much testosterone, it can adversely affect the ovaries and their abilities to produce eggs.
When it comes to treating low testosterone in women, there is some contention when it comes to opinions on treatment. This is because excess testosterone can cause side effects that women may find unwanted, such as:
- hair loss
- excess facial hair
- a deepening voice
- an enlarged clitoris
Much of the hesitancy, when it comes to treating women for low testosterone, also comes from a lack of research. Unfortunately, research into women and why their testosterone levels are what they are has not been prioritized by the medical community. It is only in recent years that more light is being shed on how to help women who suffer from the side effects of low testosterone.
How Is Low Testosterone in Women Treated?
How low testosterone in women is treated depends on many different factors. There is no one “right” way to treat low testosterone in women. That is because low testosterone has many different causes. Therefore, the cause of low testosterone in a woman will determine the course of treatment.
At times, a doctor will recommend holistic ways to increase testosterone. Many of these treatments are lifestyle changes that can naturally aid testosterone production. These alternative therapies promote lifestyle changes such as:
- sex therapy
- taking steps to manage stress
- getting enough sleep
- eating a healthful diet
- taking over-the-counter dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) supplements
Treatments for Low Testosterone in Women
Treatments for low testosterone in women can include the following:
- Over-the-counter DHEA supplements: To aid natural testosterone production, a DHEA supplement may be recommended by a medical professional. For women with a DHEA or DHEA-S deficiency, this form of treatment is highly useful.
- Prescription testosterone combined with estrogen: Testosterone combined with estrogen is available in pill form. While this treatment method is less popular due to the body’s limited ability to metabolize oral supplements, it is still utilized as a successful way to increase the production of testosterone in women.
- Testosterone creams: Topical creams or gels containing testosterone are another way for women to increase their body’s testosterone content. These creams are applied to the skin where they are absorbed into the body.
- Transdermal patch: Testosterone therapy can also be conducted through a transdermal patch. A transdermal patch is a skin patch worn on the arm or upper body and is applied once a day.
- Mouth patch: A mouth patch can be used to deliver testosterone directly to the lining of the mouth. This patch is applied twice a day, in the morning and evening, and releases testosterone directly into the bloodstream through oral tissues.
- Injections and implants: Injections and implants are two other methods of testosterone therapy that can be used to increase a woman’s testosterone levels. The hormone is injected directly into the muscles or an implanted pellet is placed into soft tissue. This allows the body to slowly absorb testosterone into the bloodstream.
Treating Low Testosterone with Androgenix
Here at Androgenix Advanced Health and Wellness Center, we offer testosterone therapy to our clients who are experiencing the negative consequences of low testosterone. Contact us today at our facility in North Palm Beach, Florida for a consultation about your hormone needs. Our professionals are ready to help you feel better and work with many people like you every day. Reach out to us today to get started!
*Unless otherwise stated, individual results may vary depending on many factors not all patients “feel” or achieve the same results.