High Testosterone In Women: Causes, Symptoms, And Normal Levels

Juhi Dutta  - Content Editor At The Island Now
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Testosterone is mainly considered a male sex hormone. But females also produce little testosterone in their ovaries and adrenal glands. But, high testosterone in women can cause some serious problems.

 

Women with high testosterone levels usually suffer from acne, irregular periods, mood changes, and changes in appearance. 

 

Hormonal imbalances as such can be indications of some deep-rooted issues as well. Hence, taking care of your health should be a top priority for women experiencing such symptoms.

 

Keep reading this article to learn more about high testosterone in women, the causes, symptoms, and possible treatments.

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Normal Testosterone Levels

Women have testosterone, contrary to the misconception that it is exclusively a male hormone. Testosterone plays a crucial role in women’s health and overall well-being. 

 

Women typically have higher testosterone levels than estradiol levels, which is the primary form of estrogen in the body. It is important to recognize the significance of testosterone in women and its impact on their physiological processes.

 

The American Urology Association states that males’ average blood testosterone levels are at least 300 ng/dL. In contrast, females secrete significantly lower amounts, with average levels ranging between 15 and 70 ng/dL. 

 

Hormone production in the body fluctuates daily and throughout the day, but testosterone levels tend to be highest in the morning.

What Does Testosterone Do For Women?

Testosterone plays an essential role in both men’s and women’s health. Although androgens are primarily male hormones, women produce them in small amounts in the adrenal glands and ovaries.

 

Androgens like testosterone support many body functions as long as levels are within a normal range. Before we go in-depth on the effects of high testosterone levels, let’s look at how this hormone benefits women’s health.

One of the most important roles this hormone plays is that it helps maintain sex drive. Additionally, experts believe this hormone provides women with the energy they need for sex.

Testosterone is essential in the development and maintenance of bone mass. Too little or too much testosterone can affect bone growth. Furthermore, both estrogen and testosterone are necessary for bone formation.

One of the most typical symptoms of people suffering from low testosterone levels is mood swings. People with low testosterone levels usually suffer from fatigue, depression, and irritability.

 

Testosterone helps to regulate mood and promote healthy energy levels. In contrast to those with normal hormone levels, women with abnormal testosterone levels will suffer from irregular or poor moods and have inconsistent energy levels.

Testosterone boosts the production of healthy and new blood cells, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. On a different note, normal testosterone levels also help reduce inflammation.

 

Some benefits of these anti-inflammatory properties include joint and back pain relief and a lower risk of certain types of cancer. Additionally, testosterone products have been successfully used to treat breast cancer and hypogonadism.

 

As you can see, testosterone production can benefit the female body in many ways. These are just a few key roles testosterone plays in women’s health. Other benefits of normal testosterone production include the following:

 

  • Supports the health of female reproductive tissue
  • Decreases vaginal atrophy in postmenopausal women
  • Helps maintain female reproductive tissue
  • Produces a neuroprotective effect in women
  • Decreases body fat

Symptoms Of High Testosterone In Women

Low testosterone production can cause complications such as weight gain, cardiovascular disease, etc. On the other hand, high testosterone levels can also cause various changes or health complications. You may begin to notice specific symptoms when your body begins to produce excess testosterone.

 

If you suspect your friend or family member suffers from high testosterone levels, here’s how to check.

Causes Of High Testosterone Levels In Women

Various conditions or diseases can elevate women’s testosterone levels. For example, women produce estrogen hormones in high amounts during a healthy pregnancy. Plus, women going through puberty experience an initial estrogen and testosterone production surge.

 

Besides pregnancy and puberty, several other conditions can cause a hormone imbalance in women. Let’s have a look at these conditions:

Most women experiencing abnormal testosterone production suffer from hirsutism. Hirsutism is a hormonal disorder that causes women to experience unwanted hair growth on the face, chest, back, and other regions. The main cause of this disorder is an imbalance of androgen hormones.

 

These unwanted hairs are usually thicker and more visible than normal ones. Androgen plays an important role in the development of male sexual characteristics. Women also produce this hormone, albeit in lower amounts.

 

A higher-than-normal production of androgens causes an overstimulation of the hair follicles, leading to hirsutism. However, note that your genetics significantly affect how much hair growth you experience.

 

Furthermore, note that even the mildest form of hirsutism can cause a significant growth of unwanted hair on the lower abdomen, chin, upper lip, and around the nipples. However, note that these unwanted hairs are usually the same color as your scalp hair.

 

Hirsutism can progress to the point that mature hair grows on the shoulders, chest, upper back, and upper abdomen.

4-20% of women of childbearing age worldwide suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome. PCOS is a hormonal disorder that affects many women in their reproductive years. Furthermore, this condition has been directly linked to an imbalance in female reproductive hormones.

 

Although women can develop this condition young, it usually goes undiagnosed until they are over 20. An imbalance in female reproductive hormones can cause an abnormal increase in testosterone production.

 

Women suffering from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome usually experience prolonged periods, infertility, miscarriages, unwanted hair growth, endometrial cancer, etc. Although the exact cause of this condition is still unknown, experts believe that genetic factors play a significant role. Therefore, if you have a sister or mother with this condition, you have a high chance of developing it.

 

Additionally, experts strongly believe that excess insulin production increases a woman’s risk of developing Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. The body uses insulin, a hormone generated by the pancreas, to convert sugar in food into energy. Insulin resistance is common in women with PCOS and inhibits the body’s ability to reduce blood sugar levels properly.

 

Note that the body will produce more insulin when the blood sugar level becomes too high. Excessive insulin production causes a significant rise in testosterone levels, resulting in some PCOS symptoms.

Diabetes is another cause of abnormal testosterone levels in women. This condition affects the body’s ability to convert food into energy properly. Diabetic patients experience difficulties producing the right amount of insulin.

 

Studies show that an inactive lifestyle and obesity are the two leading causes of type-2 diabetes in the United States. Note that diabetes causes a surge in testosterone production. However, controlling this condition is a positive step toward a lower testosterone level.

 

As a tip, regular exercise and weight management can help you regulate insulin levels. On the other hand, lack of exercise can cause testosterone levels and weight gain fluctuations.

CAH is the umbrella term for a group of inherited adrenal gland disorders. The adrenal glands produce most of our aldosterone and cortisol hormones. These hormones are essential in managing blood pressure and metabolism. Furthermore, the adrenal glands trigger the production of the male sex hormones DHEA and testosterone.

 

People with CAH lack one of the necessary enzymes to regulate these hormones. This results in the release of excessive testosterone and too little cortisol. A mild CAH is known as non-classic CAH, and a severe CAH is known as classic CAH.

 

Although there is no known cure for CAH, several medical treatments can help lessen symptoms and improve quality of life. Symptoms of congenital adrenal hyperplasia in women include deep voice, severe acne, excess body hair, irregular menstrual cycle, etc.

Diagnosis Of High Testosterone Levels In Women

If you suspect symptoms similar to the ones in this article, head to your doctor for a testosterone test. 

 

Some men take testosterone boosters to prevent erectile dysfunction and similar conditions without getting diagnosed, which can also contribute to high testosterone levels. 

 

Your doctor will perform a physical examination, blood test, or ultrasound to determine your condition. Let’s have a look at how each method works:

Treatment Options For Too Much Testosterone In Women

There are different ways to treat high testosterone. However, the proper treatment option depends on the cause of the condition. Treatment for high testosterone usually involves medication and lifestyle changes. Let’s take a closer look at how doctors address issues with testosterone imbalance.

Several medications can help treat issues related to high testosterone levels in women. Unlike men, women cannot just take testosterone boosters for gaining muscle. Your symptoms or the condition’s cause will determine the drugs your doctor will prescribe for you. For example, your doctor may prescribe progestin to improve fertility and regulate periods.

 

Furthermore, you may be given eflornithine or spironolactone to slow down excessive hair growth. Doctors also use glucocorticosteroids to reduce inflammation and oral contraceptives to block excess testosterone production. Oral contraceptives are a great option for people suffering from hirsutism and high testosterone.

 

However, ensure that the contraceptives contain low doses of desogestrel, gestodene, and norgestimate. To be safe, ask your doctor to prescribe this drug, as some contraceptives may trigger side effects.

 

If you aren’t trying to conceive, oral contraceptives are one of the most effective treatments for blocking excessive testosterone production.

Since females don’t normally produce facial hairs, a condition like hirsutism can cause embarrassment or distress. Hair removal treatments may help restore confidence if you suffer from excessive hair growth. Additionally, you can go for medical or cosmetic treatments that may help reduce or prevent the development of unwanted hair follicles.

 

Hair removal treatments like shaving, plucking, waxing, and depilatory creams can help you handle mild hirsutism hair problems. However, the downside of these treatments is that they may cause skin irritation and require multiple treatment sessions. You may need to wax every four to six weeks to keep new hairs from growing.

 

Furthermore, you can deal with hairs from severe hirsutism using advanced treatments like electrolysis and laser therapy. However, while these treatments can help you control unwanted hair, they won’t fix an underlying hormonal condition.

 

Electrolysis involves using electricity to generate heat to prevent the growth of hair follicles. This method involves carefully inserting a needle into each hair follicle. Next, a pulse of electric current is transferred from the needle to your skin, damaging the follicles and preventing new hair growth.

 

However, the downside of using this technique is that it requires multiple treatments to achieve desired results. Plus, you may have minor scarring on your skin after treatment. On the other hand, laser therapy is more popular than electrolysis and requires light to generate heat.

 

This technique involves using laser light to destroy hair follicles. Laser light therapy suits people with sensitive skin and produces longer-lasting results than shaving or waxing.

 

However, the downside of this technique is that it is time-consuming, expensive, and requires multiple treatments. Plus, only qualified professionals can perform such procedures.

Another effective way to lower testosterone levels in women is by making lifestyle changes. Changing your eating habits, staying active, and joining a fitness or weight loss program can help improve PCOS symptoms. Studies show that losing 5-10% of body weight may help reduce testosterone levels in women and prevent other complications.

 

Medication, hair removal treatment, and lifestyle changes are common ways to manage high cholesterol levels. However, some treatments or medications may trigger an adverse reaction and other risks.

 

If you or anyone suffers from hormonal imbalance, consult a professional physician before trying any medical treatment.

CAH is the umbrella term for a group of inherited adrenal gland disorders. The adrenal glands produce most of our aldosterone and cortisol hormones. These hormones are essential in managing blood pressure and metabolism. Furthermore, the adrenal glands trigger the production of the male sex hormones DHEA and testosterone.

 

People with CAH lack one of the necessary enzymes to regulate these hormones. This results in the release of excessive testosterone and too little cortisol. A mild CAH is known as non-classic CAH, and a severe CAH is known as classic CAH.

 

Although there is no known cure for CAH, several medical treatments can help lessen symptoms and improve quality of life. Symptoms of congenital adrenal hyperplasia in women include deep voice, severe acne, excess body hair, irregular menstrual cycle, etc.

Natural Ways to Lower Testosterone Levels in Women

Besides medication and hair removal treatment, several natural ways to manage excessive testosterone production exist. Here are some steps you can take to lower your testosterone levels naturally:

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Conclusion: What Happens If Testosterone Is High In Females?

Testosterone levels can fall outside the normal range, and this can cause several health complications. Testosterone is essential to women’s health. This hormone helps develop female sexual characteristics, reproductive tissues, and muscle mass. 

 

However, conditions like congenital adrenal hyperplasia and PCOS can cause a surge in testosterone production. Avoiding any kind of supplements like testosterone boosters for men over 50 is crucial before a diagnosis of any sort. You can experience side effects.

 

We recommend visiting a doctor for a test if you have any high testosterone-related symptoms.

Lastly, note that there are several medications and treatment options to help you manage testosterone levels. To be safe, get sound medical advice before accepting any treatment option.

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Juhi Dutta

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