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High Testosterone In Women: Causes, Symptoms, And More

High Testosterone In Women

High Testosterone In Women - (Image Credit: Shutterstock)

30-Second-Summary
  • Testosterone is largely known as a male sex hormone, but it is produced in the female body as well.
  • A healthy level of testosterone in women improves their bone health, stamina, sex drive, and skin health, among other benefits.
  • However, due to conditions like PCOS and hirsutism, the body may overproduce testosterone.
  • High testosterone levels in females can lead to complications like abnormal hair growth, mood swings, acne, and decreased libido.
  • Hence, you must get yourself tested for high testosterone with the help of visual exams and blood tests.
  • If diagnosed with high testosterone, your doctor may prescribe treatments like oral contraceptives, anti-androgen substances, and hair inhibitors.
  • Additionally, an active lifestyle and a healthy diet can improve your hormonal health.

Introduction – What Is Testosterone?

Testosterone is a hormone produced by all human bodies. It is classified as androgen and is often considered a male sex hormone. It is because it is found in larger quantities in men and plays a role in male sex drive and sperm production. However, it is also produced in small quantities in the female body by the ovaries and adrenal glands.

Small quantities of testosterone are essential for optimal health in women, along with female sex hormones. However, high testosterone in women can lead to health complications.

The benefits of testosterone for women span bone, skin, mental, and sexual health. On the other hand, excess testosterone can harm all these health aspects.

Hence, women must focus on maintaining healthy testosterone levels. Natural tips on how to lower testosterone in women can improve your hormonal health, but medications may be needed in the case of abnormally high testosterone levels.

Do Women Have Testosterone?

Hormonal imbalance
Testosterone is produced by the female body in small amounts. Along with the female hormone estrogen, testosterone plays a crucial role in maintaining good bone and tissue health in women. The benefits of testosterone for women also include better mental health.

A majority of the testosterone in women is produced by the ovaries and the adrenal glands. However, due to certain high testosterone causes, the hormonal balance in the female body can be disturbed.

When women face symptoms of a hormonal imbalance, they may need high testosterone treatment. Therefore, being aware of the symptoms and treatment of high testosterone is essential for all women.

If you are diagnosed with high testosterone, then prescription medication or natural tips on how to lower testosterone in women can reduce or reverse your symptoms.

What Are The Normal Testosterone Levels In Women?

As expected, the normal testosterone levels in men are much higher than those in women. While the normal levels in men range between 280 and 1100 ng/dL, the normal range for women is between 8 and 60 ng/dL. A value higher than this range may indicate high testosterone in women. However, your testosterone levels may also fluctuate throughout the day and according to your age.

Furthermore, testosterone levels in the body can vary every day and are also highest in the morning. Hence, small fluctuations in testosterone levels are usually not a matter of concern. However, if your testosterone levels are consistently high and you are facing high testosterone effects and symptoms, then you may need treatment.

To avail the benefits of testosterone for women without any health complications, you must try to maintain your testosterone levels within the normal range. Here are the testosterone levels that are considered normal for women of different ages.

Age (years) Testosterone range (nanograms/deciliter)
10 – 11 < 7– 44
12 – 16 < 7– 75
17 – 18 20 – 75
19 and above 8 – 60

If a hormonal test shows higher values than the above as per your age, you should consult a doctor. They can help you identify the root cause of the hormonal imbalance. Further, your doctor can give the best advice on how to lower testosterone in women.

Why Do Women Need Testosterone?

Women Need Testosterone
Women need normal levels of testosterone for a healthy sex drive, optimal muscle mass and bone density, fertility, and better mental health. Along with healthy levels of other hormones, testosterone levels play a crucial role in all these health aspects. However, high testosterone in women can have an adverse impact on health.

Why Do Some Women Have High Testosterone?

There are various high testosterone causes for women. These include conditions like Congenital adrenal hyperplasia, Polycystic ovary syndrome, Hirsutism, and Cushing Syndrome. Once you get diagnosed with high testosterone, your doctor will run the appropriate tests to identify any underlying conditions or causes. You will be prescribed a suitable treatment accordingly.

What Are The Signs Of High Testosterone In Women?

1. Excess Body Hair

One of the common high testosterone effects is excess body hair. You may notice thicker and denser hair on your arms, legs, and breasts. An increase in facial hair is also quite common. The safest way to remove excess hair is to shave them. However, if they are caused by high testosterone, you should get yourself checked for any underlying conditions.

2. Balding

Testosterone naturally converts to DHT in the body. DHT is an androgen that can trigger hair loss in both men and women. However, the levels of DHT in women are usually low because of a lower normal testosterone range. With abnormally high testosterone, balding may happen in women too. High testosterone treatment can reduce this symptom.

3. Enlarged Clitoris

High testosterone in women might also lead to an enlarged clitoris, a condition called clitoromegaly. Since the clitoris is made from erectile tissue, high levels of testosterone may lead to its enlargement. While the effect may not be bothersome or prominent for some women, it can be uncomfortable for others.

4. Acne

One of the most bothersome high testosterone effects for women is acne. High testosterone can lead to overproduction of sebum, which in turn can cause frequent acne breakouts. As a result, you may develop acne on your face and body. Retinoids and salicylic acid are a few skincare ingredients that might reduce hormonal acne.

Acne Skin

5. Deep Voice

Some women have a naturally deep voice, but if your voice deepens suddenly, it could be a sign of high testosterone. All the hormones in the female body determine a woman’s voice throughout her life. Hence, high testosterone causes deepening of the voice by affecting the harmonics. Hormone replacement therapy may reverse this symptom.

6. Increase In Muscle Mass

High testosterone may increase muscle mass and physical stamina in women. It may be considered one of the benefits of testosterone for women. However, since high testosterone may be caused by underlying conditions, it still needs to be treated. If you notice other symptoms of high testosterone, you should consult a doctor.

7. Mood Swings

High testosterone in women may cause depression, aggressive behavior, and mood swings. Both high and low testosterone or estrogen levels can lead to mood changes. Hence, you can consider taking a hormone test if you are dealing with these symptoms.

Consult a doctor on how to lower testosterone in women to improve your mood swings.

8. Low Sex Drive

As high testosterone causes mood swings and clitoral changes and may also impact your libido and cause low sex drive. You need healthy levels of testosterone and estrogen in your body for an optimal sex drive. A sudden shift in your libido can be indicative of a hormonal imbalance. Consult a doctor and therapist if needed, and discuss these changes with your partner for a healthy relationship.

9. Irregular Menstrual Cycles

One of the common high testosterone effects in women is irregular periods. In some cases, you may also miss a few cycles. Any irregularities in your menstrual cycle can be a cause of concern. Hence, understanding the root cause here is crucial. So, visit a gynecologist to maintain optimal menstrual health and fertility.

10. Decreased Breast Size

Androgens tend to have a physiological impact on the breast tissue. Hence, high testosterone levels can cause a reduction in your breast size. It may affect your body confidence and sex drive. A sudden change in your breast size usually indicates hormonal imbalances. Therefore, seeking high testosterone treatment may help you out.

What Are The Common Causes Of High Testosterone In Women?

1. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS is a hormonal disorder marked by high testosterone levels. In this condition, the ovaries may develop multiple follicles and may not be able to produce an egg. It is marked by irregular periods, body hair, and acne. A doctor’s advice on how to lower testosterone in women can help with the symptoms.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

2. Hirsutism

Hirsutism is a condition in which women experience abnormal hair growth on their bodies due to androgen imbalance. If the only symptom is hair growth, this condition may not require treatment. However, it is accompanied by endocrine disorders that need medical attention. High testosterone treatment methods like oral contraceptives and anti-androgens may be used for treatment.

3. Congenital adrenal hyperplasia

Congenital adrenal hyperplasia is a disorder that affects the adrenal glands. In this disorder, the adrenal glands overproduce androgens, leading to high testosterone effects like acne, infertility, and masculine characteristics. It is a congenital disorder, which exists from birth, but it can be managed with medication and supplementation.

4. Cushing Syndrome

Among the various high testosterone causes, Cushing Syndrome is another likely candidate. It is a disorder that affects the adrenal glands, resulting in the overproduction of cortisol and androgens. The symptoms include weight gain around the face, purple stretch marks on the abdomen, and skin that bruises easily. Multiple treatment options exist to manage these symptoms.

5. Excess Body Weight

According to studies[1], lifestyle factors like excess body weight and smoking might also be possible causes of high testosterone in females. Furthermore, weight management is a recommended strategy to help reduce testosterone levels caused by other conditions. Therefore, you may want to adopt weight loss strategies if you are overweight and struggling with high testosterone levels.

How Is High Testosterone In Women Diagnosed?

High Testosterone Causes
If you feel that you are dealing with any or all of the high testosterone effects, you must visit a doctor for medical advice. Diagnosis of high testosterone will involve a physical examination and some blood tests.

During a physical examination, the doctor will look for signs of physiological changes that high testosterone causes. These include abnormal facial or body hair and acne. Besides these signs, the doctor will also consider your symptoms like menstrual irregularities and weight gain to determine whether you may have high testosterone.

After the visual examination, the doctor will draw your blood if they feel that you may have hormonal imbalances. The blood sample will be sent for hormonal testing to check for any hormonal abnormalities. Your blood will be drawn in the morning when the testosterone levels are at their highest. Furthermore, if you are on any medication, the doctor may ask you to stop the medication for a while before the blood test. Based on your blood test results, the presence of high testosterone will be determined. If your testosterone levels are high, the doctor can consult you on how to lower testosterone in women.

An ultrasound test may be conducted to check for PCOS. If any underlying condition is responsible for the hormonal imbalance, you may be given the appropriate high testosterone treatment.

Ways To Reduce Testosterone In Women

1. Oral Contraceptives

Oral contraceptives are often used to inhibit excess androgen production and restore healthy hormonal balance in women. Hence, you may be prescribed progestin by your doctor to control your testosterone levels. According to studies[2], combined oral contraceptives can also be an effective treatment for high testosterone in females.

2. Anti-Androgen Medications

Anti-androgen medications like Spironolactone inhibit the production of testosterone. Hence, they are an effective high testosterone treatment for most women. They may be prescribed in combination with oral contraceptives for better results.

3. Glucocorticoids

Glucocorticoids are substances that reduce testosterone levels in the body. Hence, they may be prescribed to reverse high testosterone effects in women. They are often used in the treatment of Hirsutism.

4. Hair Inhibitors

Hair growth inhibitors can be used to prevent the excessive body and facial hair growth that high testosterone causes. Eflornithine is a cream that retards facial hair growth, while Spironolactone is a diuretic that inhibits hair growth. Your doctor may recommend these based on your symptoms.

FAQs About Testosterone In Women

Any prescribed high testosterone treatment will take time to show results. Along with the treatment, you can lower your sugar and fat intake, exercise daily, reduce stress, and consume more protein. Together, these practices may help you improve your hormonal health in a week, but you must follow them for a longer duration for sustained benefits.

Natural tips on how to lower testosterone in women include consuming a healthy diet and daily exercise. Consuming less inflammatory food rich in fat and sugars and increasing your protein intake will help. Resistance training and cardio exercises are also recommended. Also, try to reduce your stress levels, get enough sleep, and consume vitamins and minerals for better hormonal health.

Androgens are naturally present in the female body because of the various health benefits of testosterone for women. However, due to conditions like PCOS, Cushing Syndrome, Congenital adrenal hyperplasia, and hirsutism, excess testosterone may be produced by the ovaries or adrenal glands. It leads to an excess of testosterone in women.

Conclusion

High testosterone in women is a common health concern for many females. It comes with its fair share of health complications like irregular menstrual cycles, acne, abnormal hair growth, and mood swings.

The top high testosterone causes include PCOS, hirsutism, and Congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Some of these may not require treatment as they only impact physical appearance. However, in some cases, high testosterone impacts endocrine health and fertility and requires treatment.

To determine the correct high testosterone treatment, your doctor will need to conduct a physical examination and some blood tests. Hence, you must visit a doctor if you experience any symptoms of high testosterone.

Apart from medication, natural tips on how to lower testosterone in women may also be helpful. These include daily exercise, a protein-rich diet, stress management, and getting enough sleep.

With prompt treatment and a healthy lifestyle, you can enjoy the benefits of testosterone for women without facing the issues caused by high testosterone. So, keep track of your hormonal health and adopt a healthy lifestyle to keep your testosterone levels in check!

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