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July 08, 2023 6 min read

When we hear the word testosterone, we'll automatically think of it as the "male hormone." But did you know that women also have testosterone? Yes, while testosterone is often perceived as a male-only hormone, it's one of the most essential hormones in a woman's body too. It helps regulate mood, keeps the sex drive high, maintains bone health, and supports fertility. However, too much testosterone can also have negative consequences. 

In this article, we'll take a closer look at high testosterone levels in women, as well as the symptoms and ways to reduce them. Let's get started!

What is the function of testosterone in women? Isn't testosterone a male hormone?

So much is misunderstood about hormones. Testosterone is often considered the male sex hormone, while progesterone is the female sex hormone. The truth is, men and women actually have both. It's just that men tend to have higher amounts of testosterone, whereas women have higher amounts of progesterone and estrogen. Women's bodies naturally produce small amounts of testosterone in the ovaries and adrenal glands. 

Testosterone plays a vital role in women's health. It provides multiple functions, including:

  • Keeping a healthy sex drive or libido

  • Regulating mood

  • Maintaining healthy bones 

  • Promoting cognitive health

  • Generating new blood cells

But that's not all. The combination of testosterone and progesterone also promotes the development, maintenance, and repair of the female reproductive tissue. This means that testosterone helps support fertility.

Like all things in life, balance is important. The amount of testosterone in your body must be right to enjoy these benefits. Too much or too little can cause less-than-positive effects.

What are normal testosterone levels in women?

Healthy testosterone levels in women are about one-tenth of what men's bodies produce. On average, this range between 15 to 70 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) of blood. However, your age and health play a role in your testosterone levels.

Around the ages of 18 to 19, testosterone levels hit their peak. And then they start to decrease as you age.

Here are the normal testosterone levels for women based on age, according to the Mayo Clinic:

  • 10 - 11 years old: below 7 - 44 ng/dL

  • 12 - 16 years old: below 7 - 75 ng/dL

  • 17 - 18 years old: between 20 - 75 ng/dL

  • 19 years old and older: between 8 - 60 ng/dL

What are high testosterone symptoms in women?

High levels of testosterone in women can have a significant impact on physical appearance and overall health. High testosterone symptoms might differ depending on the cause (more on that later).

In general, you might experience the following symptoms if you have high testosterone:

  • Excessive facial and body hair (hirsutism)

  • Balding or thinning hair

  • Acne

  • Mood changes

  • Weight gain

  • Enlarged clitoris

  • Increased muscle mass

  • Deeper voice

  • Irregular menstrual cycle

  • Loss of libido.

High testosterone levels in women can lead to infertility and obesity in severe cases. Moreover, postmenopausal women with high testosterone levels may be more prone to insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes.

What are the causes of high testosterone in women?

Numerous diseases and hormonal disorders can cause your body to produce high levels of testosterone. The most common causes are as follows:

1. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, is the most common cause of high testosterone in women. If you have PCOS, your ovaries or adrenal glands often produce an abnormally high level of androgens (androgens are a group of sex hormones that includes testosterone).

PCOS may lead to other health issues, such as infertility, obesity, type-2 diabetes, endometrial cancer, and depression.

2. Congenital adrenal hyperplasia

Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) is a hereditary condition where the adrenal glands may produce too much testosterone and too little cortisol. The most prevalent cause of CAH is a deficiency of the enzyme 21-hydroxylase.

3. Cushing syndrome

Another hormonal disorder that potentially causes high testosterone in women is Cushing syndrome. When you have Cushing syndrome, your adrenal glands may release more hormones, such as androgens and cortisol (your body's main stress hormone), than usual. 

If you have Cushing syndrome, you may develop a "buffalo hump," a fatty hump on the back of your neck and shoulders.

4. Tumors

High testosterone levels in women may indicate the presence of a tumor on the ovaries or the adrenal glands.

5. High prolactin levels

Having high prolactin levels when you're not pregnant or breastfeeding can have a negative effect. High prolactin levels may interfere with the normal production of other hormones. It can cause your cortisol and estrogen levels to increase, skewing the balance and causing testosterone levels to appear higher.

6. Insufficiency of progesterone

An imbalance in progesterone is among the many causes of excess testosterone in women. Progesterone has antiestrogenic and testosterone-suppressing effects. Remember that all hormones in your body interact with one another. Thus, when one hormone is imbalanced, others will be impacted.

7. Improper diet

You need a proper diet to keep your hormone levels in check. An improper diet may lead to a nutritional deficiency. As a result, your body may be unable to make enough thyroid hormones, fight excess estrogen, or make enough progesterone. These can elevate your testosterone levels.

Eating food that irritates the bowels can cause the production of serotonin and endotoxins, which burden the liver and the whole energy production system.

How can hypothyroidism be the cause of high testosterone in women?

The causes mentioned above are somehow related to insufficient levels of thyroid hormones in the tissues. Some of them, such as PCOS, are also linked to excess estrogen (estrogen dominance), which causes thyroid hormones not to be used as efficiently as they should. When you have excess estrogen, your liver function may be impaired.

The optimal function of the liver is important because the conversion of T4 (inactive thyroid hormone) into T3 (active thyroid hormone) mostly occurs there. Your body needs to convert T4 to T3 to use it. If the conversion doesn't occur properly, you might experience hypothyroidism symptoms and have high testosterone levels.

Studies have also found that women with low levels of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) are likely to have high testosterone levels. This is closely connected to hypothyroidism because SHBG is affected by thyroid hormones. Therefore, if you have hypothyroidism, your SHBG levels may decrease, which in turn increases your testosterone levels.

How can adrenal overcompensation be the cause of high testosterone in women?

The adrenal glands are responsible for releasing hormones that help the body deal with stress. When your body experiences constant stress, these glands can become overworked and begin to produce too much of the hormone cortisol. This can lead to a condition known as adrenal overcompensation.

The excess cortisol made when you have adrenal overcompensation affects your testosterone levels.

How can thyroid hormones be restored in order to reduce testosterone levels in women?

When your thyroid hormones are out of balance, it can be difficult to maintain healthy levels of testosterone. That's why restoring thyroid hormones is a great way to reduce high testosterone levels in women.

So, how can you restore your thyroid hormones? Well, there are several ways to do it.

But before you do anything, it's recommended that you check your thyroid hormone levels. Knowing the levels of your thyroid hormone will help you come up with the right plan.

For some people, thyroid problems start from a poor diet, missing nutrients in the body, and stress. Therefore, the first thing you can do to restore your thyroid hormones is to ensure that your body receives good nutrition by following a well-rounded diet. Be sure to have enough zinc, B12, and selenium because they are essential in the conversion of T4 to T3.

Adding plenty of carbohydrates to your diet is also good because a lack of carbohydrates may increase cortisol levels. Remember, too much cortisol will affect the levels of testosterone in your body. Since sodium lowers cortisol and adrenaline, you should also consider including the right amount of salt in your diet, but this depends on your general health.

Regular exercise can help, but it's best to avoid excessive exercise. Although it might not be easy, you may also want to manage your stress levels so your body won't produce too much cortisol. Having a restful sleep and practicing meditation are some great ways to manage your stress.

Getting the right medication or supplements for thyroid hormones, such as Armour Thyroid or VitaliThy, is another way to help restore your thyroid hormones and keep your testosterone levels where you want them.

VitaliThy is a Natural Desiccated Thyroid supplement you can buy onlinethat consists of all hormones that your thyroid gland would normally produce, including T4, T3, T2, T1, and calcitonin. Each hormone has its own role in your body. When combined, they work hand in hand to provide you with multiple benefits, including managing thyroid imbalance.

Conclusion: Women need normal testosterone levels

A normal level of testosterone is vital for women's health. However, too much testosterone may increase health risks and cause various symptoms, such as excessive body hair growth, weight gain, and infertility. 

Common causes of high testosterone in women include PCOS, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, Cushing syndrome, and improper diet. Some of these causes are related to insufficient thyroid hormone levels in the tissues. Therefore, restoring thyroid hormones may help reduce your testosterone levels.

There are many ways to restore your thyroid hormones, such as having a nutritious diet, regular exercise, and managing stress levels. It's also a good idea to try supplements for thyroid hormones like VitaliThy, a natural desiccated thyroid you can buy online. It's designed especially for women and their unique needs. And most importantly, it can help manage thyroid imbalance efficiently.

Wojciech Majda
Wojciech Majda

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