For women, testosterone is not a reproductive hormone. Obviously, estrogen and progesterone are the main reproductive hormones. Testosterone is an androgen produced by the ovaries, adrenal glands and peripheral tissues. However, testosterone acts as more of an adrenal hormone, similar to DHEA, so the symptoms of low testosterone in women can mimic that of adrenal fatigue.
Symptoms of Low Testosterone in Women:
- Low motivation
- Mental fatigue
- Loss of muscle mass
- Loss of Strength
- Slow recovery after exercise
- Low libido.
What causes low testosterone levels in women? For younger women, birth control can easily lower testosterone levels. As a woman enters into perimenopause and menopause, the inevitable hormone decline can lead to low testosterone; however the most common cause of low testosterone for women of all ages is of course a high stress level.
Similar to men, as cortisol levels rise in response to stress, overtime testosterone levels will decline. Due the higher demand for cortisol, the body will divert production to maintain cortisol, leaving less for testosterone. Career demands, taking care of children, insomnia, reduced calorie diets and even over exercising are all types of stress on the body.
Benefits of Testosterone for Women:
- Increased motivation
- Better decision making
- More energy
- Increase muscle mass
- Improved fat loss
- Increased strength
- Improved bone density
- Improved recovery
- Increased libido
The benefits of testosterone therapy for women can have a positive impact on both body and mind. The benefits can be an increase in motivation and overall sense of wellbeing, to a higher sex drive and maintenance of bone density. The overall impact of testosterone therapy is varied and specific to the woman.
Types of TestosteroneReplacement for Women:
- Transdermal cream
There are a few different types of testosterone dosage forms for both women and men. Transdermal creams tend to be the most common and the form we prefer to use with our patients. Recently, injections and pellets have become very popular; however, we do not use or recommend testosterone injections or pellet implants for either men or women.
Women respond very different to testosterone. Some women can tolerate a higher level, whereas other women are sensitive to even small doses. For a woman, a little testosterone goes a long way and we have found that lower doses tend to be more effective overtime. The dose of testosterone administered can be easily controlled using transdermal creams.
We recommend applying cream to inner thigh or back of knee because testosterone cream can cause some hair growth and a darkening of the hair on the area of application. For this reason, we discourage you from applying cream to wrists or forearms.
Symptoms of Excess Testosterone:
- Hair growth – coarse, dark hair on chin and jaw
- Hair loss – temples and apex of head
- Water retention
- Weight gain
Both injections and pellets flood the body with too much testosterone, which can lead to a some of the symptoms listed above and a down regulation of receptors, which is referred to as “receptor fatigue.” This down regulation of receptors is a compensatory mechanism of the body to protect against too much stimulation from excessive hormone levels. As this occurs, there is a reduction in response to testosterone, thereby losing any potential benefits over time.
Reference Range for Women:
- Total Testosterone 2.0 – 45 mg/dL
- Free Testosterone 0.1 to 6.4 mg/dL
Ideal Range for Testosterone for Women:
- Total Testosterone 45 – 65 mg/dL
- Free Testosterone 2.5 to 4.5 mg/dL
If you have questions, please feel free to leave a comment below, you can contact us directly.