Although testosterone is usually associated with men, women need it too. That’s mainly because testosterone is necessary for red blood cell production, fertility, sex drive, as well as muscle mass growth.
However, just like when men with high estrogen levels face negative health consequences, women with high testosterone levels may also develop various health issues. Take a look at the possible consequences that may occur when women take too much testosterone.
Effects on Women’s Reproductive Health
Just like in men, testosterone is also essential for maintaining fertility and a healthy sex drive in women. This is why women also require testosterone, albeit in much lower concentrations as compared to men, and why their ovaries produce testosterone in small concentrations.
However, when women produce too much testosterone, or if they take testosterone boosters in large amounts, their reproductive health may suffer. High testosterone levels in women usually cause irregular menstrual periods. In many cases wherein their testosterone levels are extremely high, some women stop having menstrual periods altogether, even though they’re not yet of menopausal age.
What’s really problematic about women having high testosterone levels is that they can become infertile, especially if they also have PCOS or polycystic ovary syndrome.
PCOS is actually considered a hormonal disorder, and some women with PCOS may produce too much androgens because of the disorder.
There are several physical symptoms associated with high testosterone levels in women. For one, their body hair may be more than what’s considered normal. Some women may develop hirsutism, a condition wherein women exhibit male-pattern hair growth.
Hirsutism can cause women to have chest hair or back hair, and they may also have excess unwanted facial hair. There are also instances when high testosterone levels cause women to develop frontal balding.
Other physical symptoms of high testosterone levels in women include increased muscle mass and voice deepening. Acne breakouts are also common symptoms of increased androgen production in women. High levels of testosterone in women are also associated with a reduction in breast size, as well as an abnormally enlarged clitoris.
Because testosterone is associated with muscle mass and distribution, women who have high levels of testosterone may develop an apple-shaped body, or they may become obese. These symptoms are also usually associated with PCOS.
When is it Advisable for Women to Take Testosterone?
Although high testosterone levels usually cause health problems for women, there are actually times when doctors would prescribe testosterone replacement therapy. However, the doses are usually smaller compared to what’s administered to men.
Just like in men, women who are at menopause also experience a reduction in their testosterone levels. Such drops in testosterone levels can also affect their libido. In such cases, they may benefit from testosterone boosters or testosterone replacement therapy.
However, if the woman has breast or uterine cancer, she should not be taking any testosterone booster and she shouldn’t be undergoing testosterone replacement therapy. If she does, it may cause cancer to worsen. In addition, testosterone replacement therapy may increase a woman’s chances of developing liver diseases or cardiovascular diseases.
Several treatment options are available for women so that they can lower their testosterone levels. Depending on what’s causing her increased androgen production, a woman may take certain medications to help restore her hormonal balance.
Glucocorticosteroids and metformin are typically prescribed to women with high androgen levels. Certain oral contraceptives may also help block testosterone. However, this treatment option may not be advisable for women who are planning to get pregnant in the near future.
Spironolactone may also be prescribed to help lessen excessive hair growth. To help regulate their menstrual period, as well as restore their fertility, doctors may prescribe progestin hormone to women with high levels of testosterone.
Lifestyle changes such as losing weight are also recommended for women with high testosterone levels. Weight loss may also help when the woman has PCOS as this can lower androgen levels and help restore menstrual periods.
Herbal Remedies for Lowering Testosterone Levels in Women
There are also many herbal remedies that can help women lower their testosterone levels naturally. Spearmint tea, for instance, has been shown to significantly lower androgen levels.
Flaxseeds are also known to have estrogen-like properties due to their lignan content, so they may also help restore hormonal balance in women with high testosterone levels. Because flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, they may also help women with PCOS.
Licorice is another natural option to lower testosterone levels in women. Licorice contains glycyrrhizic acid which is believed to be the reason why licorice is quite effective in lowering testosterone levels.
Men with low testosterone levels are often advised not to eat a lot of soybeans and soy products. In contrast, women whose levels of testosterone are high may benefit from these foods.
Soy contains phytoestrogens, which are compounds that mimic the activities of estrogen. Hence, consuming soybeans and soy products may help women lower their testosterone levels and restore hormonal balance.