Can Women Have Low Testosterone?
Testosterone is often believed to be a “male hormone” and while men do dominate this androgen hormone, women also contain this hormone in their bodies. And, when a woman has too little testosterone in her body, it can affect her overall health.
In women, some functions the testosterone hormone serves in their bodies are:
- Enhances the libido.
- Produces new blood cells.
- Stimulates hormones that impact reproduction; influences follicle.
Throughout her life, a woman’s testosterone levels change naturally such as during her menstrual cycle and at various times of the day. When a woman has low testosterone, she doesn’t have enough to maintain sex drive, produce new blood cells or increase levels of other types of reproductive hormones.
Causes of Low Testosterone in Women
There are two primary causes of low testosterone in women which are:
- Problems with the adrenal or pituitary glands or ovaries.
- Decreasing testosterone levels due to aging and menopause.
As a woman ages, her testosterone levels decrease naturally. Other hormone levels like estrogen, also decrease over time, particularly when a woman begins menopause.
Some symptoms of low testosterone in women include:
- Weight gain
- Sleep disturbances
- Fertility issues
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of bone density
- Decreased sexual satisfaction
- Vaginal dryness
- Reduced sex drive
- Irregular menstrual cycles
There’s still limited research in this area. Since the symptoms associated with low testosterone levels are very common, a doctor will check for signs of another condition or issue before they make a diagnosis.
They may check for:
- Thyroid disease
- Chronic stress
- Transition to menopause
Treatment for Low Testosterone in Women
Women can talk to their doctors about various low testosterone therapies, including the below:
There are estrogen replacement medications containing testosterone.
But, the amount of testosterone in the medications might not be enough to increase the levels or your body might not be able to sufficiently absorb them.
Your doctor might provide you with testosterone pellets or injections, expecting these treatments to affect women the same as they do in men: decrease fatigue, raise energy levels and increase the sex drive.
However, there are few FDA-approved testosterone treatments for women due to potential side effects they can cause, including:
- Hair loss
- A deepening voice
- Excess facial hair
- An enlarged clitoris
Alternative Therapies and Lifestyle Changes
Instead, a doctor might recommend alternative therapies and lifestyle changes for treating the symptoms in women with low testosterone. These may include:
- Managing stress
- Sex therapy
- Eating a healthy diet
- Getting adequate sleep
- Taking OTC dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) supplements
DHEA supplements are a steroid hormone your adrenal glands also produce. You can also purchase them online. However, The Endocrine Society advises against regular DHEA supplementation since researchers haven’t proved its efficient and safe in long-term use.
DHEA supplementation side effects are similar to the side effects of excess testosterone.
Researchers and doctors still don’t completely understand the effect low testosterone has on women or the best way in which to treat it.
Get Your Testosterone Level Tested
If you believe you’re experiencing symptoms of low testosterone, Dr. Harry Collins of Savannah Age Management Medicine can perform a blood test to make a diagnosis. Based upon your levels, he can create a customized treatment plan for the best long-term results. Please contact us today for a free consultation.