The primary sex hormone of men is called testosterone. It plays various roles in the development of male reproductive tissues. It also promotes sexual characteristics, such as increased bone and muscle mass. Testosterone is not only produced by men but also by women. But the testosterone level of men is typically higher than of women.
Moreover, women also produce a hormone called androgen in their ovaries and adrenal glands. Women produce small amounts of testosterone because it mixes with androgen to maintain energy levels, sex drive, mood, and bodily functions.
What is the Role of Testosterone in Women?
Your entire well-being is affected if you have normal levels of testosterone. Here are the roles of testosterone:
It helps in keeping your bones healthy
Normal testosterone levels can support strength and bone growth, while excess or lack of it can harm them. Studies explain that normal levels of testosterone and estrogen are crucial for bone formation.
Testosterone is responsible for increasing your bone density. It allows your bone marrow to produce more red blood cells. If you have low testosterone levels, you will most likely suffer from bone breaks and fractures.
It helps in promoting cognitive health
As you age, your cognitive health may weaken. The good news is that testosterone helps in improving your brain health as well as its overall function. Cognitive health affects explicitly how your brain works, including judgment, memory, intuition, language, and learning ability.
A study has shown that testosterone has a neuroprotective function. It was found out that women who have Alzheimer’s have low levels of testosterone and estrogen. On the other hand, women with higher levels of testosterone are most likely to perform in spatial-relations and mathematical tasks.
Furthermore, testosterone plays a vital role in various behaviors, such as dominance and aggression. It also helps improve self-esteem and competitiveness. If you have low levels of testosterone, you will most likely experience a lack of motivation and loss of self-confidence. It can even affect your concentration as well as your feelings.
It helps in maintaining sex drive
Indeed, testosterone is considered as a male sex hormone. But then, women have also testosterone in their bodies. Unlike men, the testosterone levels of women are normally low compared to men, just as men have low estrogen levels in theirs.
The hormone is responsible for driving your fantasy, thoughts, and desire about sex. Testosterone is capable of increasing your sexual desire. On the other hand, sexual activity and sexual stimulation can help in increasing your testosterone level. Aside from that, it helps in increasing your energy level. If you are physically energized, then you are most likely to engage in sexual activities.
What Happens When You Have Low Levels of Testosterone?
As women reach the age of 20 and 40 years old, testosterone level normally decreases. That situation is also similar to men. Levels of testosterone normally decrease as they age. But the reduction of testosterone levels is not that profound and abrupt compared to estrogen during the menopausal stage of a woman.
Studies show that some postmenopausal women have lower levels of testosterone, which affects their sex drive. Women tend to use testosterone patches in order to improve libido. Moreover, low testosterone levels in women also cause various health problems such as increased bone fractures, bone loss, and osteoporosis.
What Happens When You Have High Levels of Testosterone?
High levels of testosterone in women are not recommended. Do you know that it can cause polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)? This is a type of health condition which affects your monthly periods as well as your capability of ovulating. And almost 10 percent of women who are already in their childbearing age are affected with PCOS.
If you have PCOS, you will most likely experience the following symptoms:
- Irregular or missed periods
High levels of androgen can make your periods irregular, infrequent, or nonexistent.
If you have PCOS, you are not capable of ovulating, that is why it is hard for you to get pregnant.
- Excess hair growth
PCOS may result in hormonal imbalances leading to hair growth on the face, chest, stomach, thumbs, back, and toes.
- Ovarian cysts
If you have PCOS, the eggs from the ovarian follicles will become less likely to be released. If that happens, then these follicles bind together to form ovarian cysts.
- Skin problem
You will experience dark patches, acne, dandruff, and oily skin if you have PCOS.
Even if you have PCOS, there is a possibility that you will get pregnant, but the risk of miscarriage is high.
Women with high levels of testosterone may be due to either PCOS or other health conditions. This situation may lead to serious health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, insulin resistance, and heart disease.
Is Testosterone Therapy Recommended in Women?
Testosterone therapy may be helpful for women to promote cognitive function, cardiovascular health, and bone health as well as to improve sexual dysfunction, infertility, and metabolic syndromes. The main reason for considering testosterone therapy is for your general well-being.
Studies show the safety and effectiveness of testosterone therapy for women with sexual dysfunction. It is suggested to try non-oral doses of testosterone such as gels, creams, or patches for 3 to 6 months.
If ongoing testosterone therapy is suggested by your doctor, it is best for you to monitor your testosterone levels every six months to determine whether or not your androgen levels are in excess. If there is no response to the treatment after the same period, it should be stopped.
It is also worth noting that the FDA approval for testosterone products is specifically for men. But this restriction can be sidestepped provided that there is a doctor’s specification for testosterone therapy. That is the reason why before opting for testosterone therapy, you should seek help from your doctor first.