Women, by nature, have much lower levels of testosterone in their bodies than men. Although it is viewed as the male “sex hormone,” it has just as great an influence over a woman’s sexual desires and health. Maintaining a normal level of testosterone throughout one’s life is just as difficult a process at times as it also is for men. Perhaps it is even more important for a woman due to natural predispositions towards certain medical conditions later in life.
When testosterone levels fall in the normal range during blood analysis, it means that a female’s body is producing an ample supply of this vital hormone. Testosterone plays a pivotal role in maintaining strong bones. Testosterone deficiency in women often increases the risk of developing osteoporosis, a potentially dangerous condition that can lead to serious bone fractures and loss of independence. For two out of every five older adults that experience a hip fracture, it can also result in loss of life within the twelve months following the injury.
Improving bone density and sexual desire are only two of the many vital functions testosterone has in the body. It helps promote lean muscle mass and strength, crucial for helping protect the skeletal system from distress. Testosterone also improves sleep, supports acute mental functions, impacts metabolism for proper weight maintenance, and promotes positive mood and emotional feelings.
A woman dealing with Low T will most likely exhibit some of the following symptoms:
Lack of energy
Loss of lean muscle
Impaired cognitive functions
Hair loss or thinning
Hair growth on face or body
Decreased sexual desire
Trouble reaching arousal
Reduced pleasure and increased pain with intercourse
Lack of drive
High cholesterol and triglyceride levels
Increased risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, obesity, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure
The list above is long, but not every person with low testosterone levels will have all of these symptoms. The more a woman has, the greater her testosterone decline may be at this time. Only a blood test can determine the degree of testosterone loss.
What Is an Acceptable Level of Testosterone in Women?
Determining the acceptable level of testosterone in a woman’s body is not a simple process. The range of what is “normal” is varied, and also changes from one blood lab to another. The doctor, preferably a hormone replacement specialist, reviews more than just blood work to determine testosterone deficiency. A physical examination is useful for ruling out any other health issues that could be contributing to the symptoms at hand. The doctor will also review a completed medical history questionnaire to search for past health issues that could have sent this spiraling effect into motion. This comprehensive review ensures that each woman receives the proper diagnosis and treatment plan for her needs.
HRT specialists of Nexel Medical check both free and total testosterone. Much of the testosterone in the body is bound up to either sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) or albumin. Until the testosterone breaks free from these binds, it is not available for the body to use. The measurement of free testosterone is for that which is no longer bound. Total testosterone takes both bound and free testosterone into consideration. The doctor checks both levels before determining diagnosis and treatment.
The National Institutes of Health list normal total testosterone levels in women as being between 30 and 95 ng/dL, although one lab puts the number between 8 and 60 ng/dL and another from 15 to 70 ng/dL. Free testosterone is best between 0.3 and 1.9 ng/dL.
Some other differences have to do with age, oral estrogen use, and menopausal state. This is why speaking with a hormone replacement specialist is always the best option for women how might have low testosterone.
Symptoms and Effect of High Testosterone Level in Women
Even though most of the focus tends to be on Low T, some women suffer from a condition called high testosterone. This can lead to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Having an “apple-shaped” body or being obese are potential warning signs of high testosterone. Ovarian tumors can increase testosterone secretion, as well.
Symptoms of high testosterone include:
Excess growth of facial hair
Male pattern frontal balding
Cessation of menstrual cycle
Deepened vocal patterns
Excessive increased lean muscle mass
High blood pressure
Increased risk of heart disease
Checking testosterone and other hormone levels are crucial in later years, especially when the symptoms of menopause start to interfere with daily life. Contact a hormone replacement therapy specialist to learn more about hormone testing and treatment.