Testosterone is generally considered to be a male sex hormone. Men have more testosterone than women, though female adrenal glands and ovaries also produce small amounts of the hormone. While low-testosterone in men is a serious issue, many may not be aware that women with low-testosterone also suffer health consequences. From having a low sex drive to the production of blood cells, we’ll discuss what low testosterone means for women, and what treatment options are available today.
Testosterone belongs to a group of hormones known as androgens. These hormones help to regulate things like your sex drive, fertility, and your red blood cell production. Though there are no conclusive guidelines as to what is considered “low” testosterone, women should have around 15-70 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dl) in her blood.
Some women find they have low testosterone due to issues with their ovaries, or the pituitary or adrenal glands. But, most women are diagnosed with low testosterone around the time menopause begins. As women age, their ovaries begin to produce lower levels of hormones allowing hormones like testosterone and estrogen to decrease naturally.
If you’re feeling constant sluggishness, fatigue, or muscle weakness, there’s a chance your testosterone levels may be the cause. Other symptoms may include:
Research into testosterone and women is still limited and can vary from medical practice. Because the symptoms of low testosterone can be so common, many times a doctor may check for issues such as depression, anxiety, thyroid disease, or menopausal transition before coming to a diagnosis of low testosterone.
While the effects of too much testosterone in women are widely known, the long-term effects of too little testosterone have not been largely studied. This could lead to various treatments that are related to having low testosterone levels.
Many chose to first begin treatment with a DHEA supplement. Dehydroepiandrosterone is a hormone produced by your body’s adrenal glands that is a precursor to testosterone as well as other androgens. The theory being that if you have more DHEA, your body will begin to produce more testosterone. After that you may be prescribed testosterone in its synthetic form, which some say is not as effective in treating low testosterone as natural forms of testosterone.
Doctors and medical researchers are also studying the effects of patches, implants, and pills as it relates to the treatment of low testosterone. In extreme cases, some women are prescribed testosterone in gel formulations. These are generally prescribed to men and have a much higher testosterone levels than other testosterone formulations.
Even after a diagnosis of low testosterone, many women are rightfully nervous about starting what comes down to hormone therapy. But there are some amazing benefits to regulating your testosterone levels.
It’s imperative you speak with a doctor before starting any testosterone medications or supplements. Women who are pregnant should not take androgens, and those that are breastfeeding are strongly recommended against androgen therapy until no longer breastfeeding.
Do you think your testosterone levels may be low? Contact the medical professionals at Miami Center of Excellence. With testing and treatment options, we will have you feeling better than ever in no time.
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