Health Tips - Testosterone in Women

Testosterone in Women

Testosterone is a naturally-occurring “steroid” hormone, which means it is a hormone made from cholesterol. It is made in the ovaries of women, with small amounts made by the adrenal glands. An adult female body makes about one-tenth the amount that an adult male body makes.

In adult women testosterone may increase:

  • Physical and mental energy.
  • Muscle mass.
  • Risk taking.
  • Sense of well-being.
  • Bone density.
  • Fat loss.
  • Sexual interest and function.
  • Acne or oily skin.
  • Memory and spatial ability.

High levels of testosterone in women can cause:

  • Hirsutism, which is excess facial and body hair, particularly upon the chest and stomach.
  • Male-pattern baldness.
  • High blood pressure and high cholesterol, fatty liver disease and sleep apnea (a temporary inability to breathe during sleep), according to the Mayo Clinic.
  • Personality changes which range from aggression, feelings of competitiveness, moodiness, depression, irritability, increased selfishness, and excitability.
  • Acne, oily skin, increased perspiration and a deepened voice.
  • Missed or stopped periods, infertility and an enlarged clitoris.
  • Increased sexual interest.
  • Liver disease.
  • Blood sugar problems.
  • Virilization or masculinization. Because testosterone builds muscle, stimulates fat loss and affects the distribution of fatty tissue throughout the body, women may experience changes in their body composition that makes their physiques resemble those of adult men.
  • Aggravation of existing heart disease.
  • More risk taking and engaging in more thrill-seeking behavior. This data is from a study published in the August 24, 2009 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, where researchers at the University of Chicago studied women with higher levels of testosterone.

The cause of high amounts of testosterone in women is usually ovarian disease such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Less commonly, it can result from adrenal gland dysfunction and pituitary gland tumors.

Best of hormone balance to you!

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Dr. Pepi


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