We are all aware of testosterone as the hormone that makes a man a man. However, did you know that testosterone also exists in women? Testosterone is often thought of as a male-only hormone when in reality it is critical to the normal function of both men and women. In men, testosterone is responsible for numerous functions including:
- Regulate sex drive (libido),
- Control bone mass,
- Guide fat distribution,
- Promote muscle mass and strength
- Enhances production of red blood cells and sperm.
Men can have their hormones checked with a simple saliva test by taking the Testosterone test from Body Health IQ.
Testosterone is a steroid hormone, a member of the hormone group called androgens. It is derived like many hormones from its precursor cholesterol. While it is predominantly associated with males, it is also the primary sex hormone of women produced both by the ovaries and the adrenal glands.
What roles do normal testosterone levels play in female health?
In women, some of the functions of normal testosterone levels include:
- Importance in bone strength
- Maintenance of muscle mass and strength
- Contributes to well-being and energy in a female
- Crucial for a woman’s sex drive or libido
- Responsible for sensitivity of the nipples and clitoris for sexual pleasure
- Serves to heighten sexual response and orgasms
What low levels of testosterone can do to your body
While these are just some of the functions of testosterone in women, we can all agree that without testosterone or a deficiency in the hormone can significantly imbalance a female’s life. The level of testosterone in a female certainly does not need to be at the level of that of a male, but it does need a certain level to maintain normal function. There can be several causes of low testosterone in females. Some of these causes can include:
- Normal reduction in testosterone production due to aging
- Hormonal imbalance due to reduced function of the ovaries
- Abnormally functioning ovaries
- Loss of ovaries due to hysterectomy
- Perimenopause and menopause
- High stress
- Medications and thyroid disease
These can all cause a reduction in the amount of testosterone available to a female’s body. Symptoms can include sluggishness and general weakness and fatigue. Disruption of normal sleep patterns and sexual drive and satisfaction are also symptoms of low testosterone in females. Weight gain, irregular menstrual cycles, fertility issues and loss of bone density are all symptoms of low testosterone in women.
Conversely, testosterone levels in females can be too high
While low levels can have damaging effects, so can high levels. Testosterone must be balanced in the body and high levels of testosterone can result in the following female symptoms:
- Menstrual irregularity
- Excess body hair or hirsutism (hair on the chin or upper lip)
- Acne or oily skin
- Enlarged clitoris
- Decreased breast size
- Increased muscle mass
- Deepening of the voice
Some research has also found a possible correlation between uterine fibroids and high levels of testosterone. Fibroids are benign tumors of the uterus that if removed must be done surgically.
How to determine if your testosterone levels are too high
The first step to determining if you have high or low levels of testosterone as a female is to evaluate your symptoms and then have a test performed that can determine the actual levels of testosterone in your body. Body Health IQ has a female bundle hormone kit that can detect abnormal levels of not only testosterone in women but also many other hormonal imbalances.
Click here to get more information on the simple women’s hormone test .
What to do if you have abnormal levels of testosterone
Once you determine if hormone levels are abnormal, consult with your physician or choose to consult with one of our health care providers on Body Health IQ to determine what course of action to take. Based on the symptoms, your medical provider will either order additional tests if they suspect an issue or advise you on the best course of action. Medical consults can be added to many of the Body Health IQ tests including the Female IQ Bundle which tests testosterone and other hormones for women.
Testosterone is a normal hormone that is present in both males and females. Abnormal levels can cause significant problems in women if the hormone is too high or too low. Get tested today to ensure your body is performing at an optimal level. Consult with our medical providers if you need help interpreting the results.