Although most people believe that testosterone levels are the hormone found exclusively in men and estrogen is the parallel hormone found in women, the truth is that both men and women produce both testosterone and estrogen, albeit in different quantities.
Both of these hormones play extremely important roles in our bodies, and for women, either too much testosterone or not enough testosterone can have negative health effects. When a women’s testosterone levels are balanced, it helps to:
•Maintain bone health and bone density
•Increase muscle mass
•Maintain a healthy libido and sex drive
•Reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
•Reduce the risk of developing insulin resistance
•Regulate mood and help to prevent depression
•Regulate a person’s overall sense of wellbeing
While total testosterone levels plays a crucial role in women’s health in many different ways, when levels of this hormone are unbalanced, it can have far reaching effects on their health and body.
This is why it is extremely important that women know their testosterone levels, which can be easily done through an at-home blood test, especially if they are experiencing some of the symptoms which we will explore below.
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Low levels of testosterone in women can lead to Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD)
HSDD is the most common sexual disorder affecting women, with as many as 10% of women experiencing this disorder at least once in their lifetime. It is characterized by a severe decrease in sex drive along with additional negative emotional and psychological states including depression. And although low testosterone levels are not the only cause for HSDD, it is common enough that medical practitioners will normally consider testosterone therapy for women experiencing HSDD, especially those who have gone through menopause although it can be appropriate for premenopausal women too.
HSDD can have a large effect on someone’s life and sexual relationships, since a lack of sex drive may end with them simply avoiding situations that could lead to sex, not being able to respond to erotic cues, and not being able to maintain desire long enough for sex. All of this may put strain on a relationship and lead to feelings such as frustration, guilt, sadness, and more. It may also get in the way of couples who are trying for a baby, since a disinterest in sexual activity can make it difficult to create the appropriate level of intimacy between a couple.
In these cases, it is important that testosterone levels are monitored both before and after treatment to ensure that a women’s testosterone levels have increased to a normal level without exceeding the level where it may create additional issues elsewhere.
Testosterone imbalances can lead to balding or excessive amounts of body hair
Testosterone, along with other androgens (male sex hormones) have been shown to improve scalp hair growth when maintained at the correct level in the body. When these levels fall below a certain level and there is not enough to support healthy bodily functions, it is common to experience a thinning of the hair on the scalp as the hair follicles begin to close over.
At the opposite end of the scale, an excess of testosterone may lead to an increase in the amount and thickness of body hair. This is called hirsutism, and it often leads to unwanted hair growth on the face, chest, back, and other parts of the body that could cause distress for women who are mindful of this. Excess testosterone can also lead to male pattern baldness as well.
Low levels of testosterone may reduce chances of pregnancy
A number of recent studies have also revealed that testosterone plays an important part in maintaining a woman’s reproductive health and therefore increases the chance of conception and pregnancy. For many people, this goes against the idea that testosterone is solely a male sex hormone, but its effects on female reproductive health cannot be understated.
Testosterone and other androgens are critical for forming follicle structures, which are the structures that contain and release eggs for fertilization. When a woman doesn’t have many follicles left, she is said to have a diminished ovarian reserve which can be the result of birth control medications, age, genetics, and some medical procedures. And even though age is a factor, it is also not uncommon for diminished ovarian reserve to occur in younger women as well.
Testosterone may improve the development of these follicle structures and therefore increase fertility and chances of conception, especially in cases where IVF is being used.
Low levels of testosterone may reduce chances of pregnancy.
Understanding what symptoms to look out for is the first step in catching any hormone irregularities that may be affecting your life and health. Low testosterone levels in men and women may lead to different symptoms, but for women it is a good idea to watch out for:
• Low sex drive
• Irregular menstrual periods
• Thinning hair
• Noticeably dry skin
• Loss of muscle mass
In women, the normal range for testosterone sits between 0.29-1.67 nmol/L, and anything above this range may indicate abnormal imbalances in testosterone that may interfere with the body’s functions.
Signs to look out for that indicate high testosterone include:
• Excess amounts of acne
• Abnormal hair growth, including thicker and darker hairs
• Male pattern baldness
• Weight gain
• Menstrual irregularities
• Deepening of the voice
You can have access to effective at-home blood tests that can provide you with all of the right information regarding your testosterone levels and more with our Advanced Testosterone Test.
This way you can take the test from the comfort of your own home and see our lab results online in just a few days.
Testosterone plays an important role in how our bodies function with lasting effects on our mood, sexual libido, fertility, and much more.
Monitoring our testosterone levels means that we can be aware of any irregularities, which can in turn be instantly addressed with a doctor so we can return to our prime state of health.