Why do women need a perfect balance of testosterone? There is a common misconception that testosterone is a male hormone and that it is irrelevant to women’s health. Contrary to this belief, this hormone plays a very critical role in the development of the female reproductive organs as well as keeping them healthy. It is produced by in the ovaries and adrenal glands, albeit in small amounts.
The testosterone hormone works hand-in-hand with the estrogen which is predominant in women to maintain healthy sexual function. Therefore, any form of imbalance, whether low or high, has undesired effects on women. For instance, excess testosterone can cause low or loss of libido, erratic moods, irregular menstrual cycles, and hair thinning. These issues can lead to self-esteem issues that can affect the daily lives of women. This article focuses on causes, effects and possible treatment of low testosterone in women.
Normal Testosterone Levels in Women
It is important to note that the secretion of testosterone in both men and women continues throughout their lives with the peak production being between 18 and 19 years of age. In women, the normal level of testosterone in the body ranges between 15 and 70 ng/dL. This level falls post-menopause, which for many women starts between 45 and 55 years of age. Other factors that may affect the concentration of testosterone in women include decreased production of estrogen postmenopausal and various diseases. When women enter menopause, production of ovarian estrogen drops significantly, with fast tissue being the main source of estrogens for the rest of their lives. This makes the concentration of androgens to increase relative to that of estrogen. Ailments such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) trigger the excess secretion of testosterone causing a hormonal imbalance.
Symptoms of Low Testosterone Levels in Women
While there is no extensive research that has to establish what is considered to be a low testosterone level in a woman’s body, there are generally acceptable symptoms to watch out for. These include muscle weakness, weight gain, fertility problems, virginal dryness, decreased sexual satisfaction, irregular sleep patterns as well as feeling depressed or anxious. It is important to mention that this condition may exhibit multiple symptoms. You should therefore not rely on a single symptom for a full diagnosis of a low testosterone problem. Also, chances of misdiagnosis are high especially for individuals who may exhibit high levels of anxiety or depression. For women who are within the menopause age bracket, this problem can be mistaken for the effects of menopause. Only blood plasma tests should be used for testing low testosterone in women.
Effects of Low Testosterone Levels in Women
As doctors diagnose low testosterone in women, they should do tests that rule out other ailments and health conditions that exhibit similar problems. These conditions include but are not limited to thyroid diseases and chronic stress. Being a sex hormone, low concentrations of testosterone can have a huge impact on the social lives of women. For starters, low sex drive and reduced sexual dissatisfaction can strain relationships and lead to other secondary problems such as divorce. Irregular periods caused by low testosterone concentration in the body can make it difficult for women to conceive. Consequently, this can influence how women plan their family life. Fertility issues can drive individuals to addictions such as drug abuse, which can severely damage their reputation and hinder their career progression goals. Lastly, this condition may lead to financial constraints especially if it is misdiagnosed.
Possible Remedies for Low Testosterone
Treating low testosterone in women starts with the right diagnosis. This saves patients the pain of taking the wrong medication or therapy without any change. Moreover, this saves them unnecessary costs that can cause a serious dent on their financial safety net. There are different approaches used by doctors to combat low testosterone levels in women. However, as earlier mentioned, the lack of adequate research in this area has made it hard for pharmaceutical companies to produce approved medicines for this problem. Some of the medications used include estrogen replacement drugs that have testosterone. Unfortunately, these hormones are not adequately absorbed in the body and therefore, the drugs do not raise testosterone levels substantially. Testosterone may also be administered as injections, although some doctors advice against it due to associated side effects. They prefer alternative treatments such as sex therapy and healthy diet to manage the symptoms.
Although testosterone is dominant in men, women need it for healthy functioning of their reproductive systems. The concentration of this hormone needs to be kept in a balanced state. Any excesses can lead to undesired effects such as loss of libido, erratic moods, and irregular periods, just to mention a few. The normal concentration of testosterone in a woman body of childbearing age ranges between 15 and 70 ng/dL. This level falls significantly post-menopause as ovaries cease to secrete the hormone. Women who experience low levels of testosterone experience various symptoms such as muscle weakness, spells of anxiety and depression, as well as irregular sleep patterns. The lack of sufficient research in this area has made it difficult to ascertain the exact threshold for low testosterone in women. Common mediations for this problem include using testosterone injections and alternative therapies to manage the symptoms.