When we say testosterone, our mind instantly thinks about men. However, testosterone is a hormone everyone produces naturally, regardless of gender. That’s right – women also have testosterone in their bodies, and a disruption in these levels can affect your health! So, women don’t just need testosterone to tone their bodies. There is so much more that you need to know about the so-called “male hormone”.
Health Shots reached out to Dr Rubina Shanawaz, Consultant Gynaecologist, Fortis Hospital, Cunningham Road, Bengaluru, to understand about testosterone levels in women.
The answer is yes! Basically, women’s system is driven by estrogen and men are driven by testosterone. It is an androgen that plays a pivotal role in the growth and maintenance of a healthy body.
Dr Shanawaz explains, “Apart from the female hormone estrogen and progesterone, ovaries also produce testosterone. It is produced from the adrenal and the part of the brain called pituitary gland.” Adequate testosterone levels in women are crucial to maintaining and repairing the reproductive tissues.
Did you know that testosterone production increases in women once they reach puberty? While women produce only about a fraction of the levels that men produce, it still plays an important role in a woman’s life.
Low testosterone levels in women can be problematic. Imbalances of either too much or too low levels can affect a woman’s overall health. While high testosterone levels lead to more symptoms, low testosterone levels can also lead to problems.
“Testosterone levels are not given much attention to in women, but it does play a role in women as well. High testosterone manifests itself evidently as acne, male pattern of baldness and hirsutism (excessive hair growth) – this is typically seen in polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS),” explains the gynaecologist.
She further explains that low testosterone is generally seen post-menopause. Levels of estrogen go up, and testosterone levels go down when menopause happens. Low levels of testosterone cause loss of libido, hair loss, muscle loss and fatigue. Sometimes, these symptoms manifest during perimenopause, for which women are given supplements in oral, cream or injectable form.
Some of the most common symptoms that affect women with low levels of testosterone include:
Inadequate levels of testosterone levels in women can be problematic if left unchecked. Make sure you are not taking testosterone medications without consulting your doctor. They might ask you for a blood test to determine the levels of testosterone in your system. Timely intervention is key when it comes to maintaining healthy levels of testosterone in your system.
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