Do Women Have Testosterone?
When you hear about low Testosterone levels, you may think it’s only a problem for men. Although Testosterone falls under the “androgens” class of hormones, women produce Testosterone as well, and it plays a large role in the female body. In the same way, the female sex hormone Estrogen is important in men.
A decrease in Testosterone production can cause hormonal imbalance symptoms in women, but with Testosterone Replacement Therapy, Defy Medical can help minimize and even reverse these symptoms for a better quality of life.
Sex Hormones in Men and Women
Hormones are chemical substances produced in specific organs and tissues which are released into the bloodstream to perform various functions.
Estrogen and Progesterone are the two primary female sex hormones. Estrogen is commonly found in three forms: estradiol, estriol, and estrone. Of the three, estradiol is the most prevalent in the body, and it is typically used in hormone restoration.
Sex Hormones in Men
- Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)
- Estrogen (in smaller quantities than women)
Sex Hormones in Women
- Estrogen in three forms: estradiol, estriol, and estrone
- Androgens like Testosterone (in smaller quantities than men)
While men and women both create Testosterone and Estrogen, the quantity varies. Testosterone in women is typically between 1/10th and 1/20th of the amount in men. Similarly, men produce a small fraction of the Estrogen women produce, with an average of around 10–40 pg/ml of Estradiol.
The testes produce Testosterone in men. For women, Testosterone is produced along with Estrogen in the ovaries. Even fat tissues, skin cells, and adrenal glands in women produce some amounts of Testosterone.
Sometimes the body doesn’t produce Testosterone, Estrogen, and other sex hormones in adequate quantities, which leads to a hormone imbalance. This can occur as a natural part of aging, and it can also happen because of chronic health conditions, certain medications, and other factors.
Role of Testosterone in Women
When you’re young, the role of sex hormones like Testosterone is to help you develop secondary sex characteristics.
Most people experience a surge of sex hormone production during puberty, which last until young adulthood. During this time, women experience breast development, rounded hips, the start of the menstrual cycle, and other secondary sex characteristics. In young men, androgens cause facial hair and deepening of the voice, among other developments.
After puberty, hormone production typically steadies. In adult women, Testosterone performs functions like:
- Supporting a healthy sex drive (libido)
- Supporting vaginal health
- Reducing post-menopausal issues like vaginal atrophy and high body fat
- Strengthening and build muscle mass
- Maintaining body composition
- Improving breast health and fertility
- Promoting the growth and maintenance of bones
- Supporting cardiovascular health
Low Testosterone in women can occur during the natural process of aging. This can lead to a decreased libido, vaginal dryness, bone density issues, changes in body composition, fat gain and difficult losing weight, and more.
Standard Levels of Testosterone in Women
While optimal levels vary from person to person, most women are between 15 and 70 ng/dL (nanograms per deciliter).
At Defy Medical, we design an individualized protocol around your unique levels, symptoms, and goals to make sure your hormone levels are optimized for you.
When it comes to detecting your current levels, comprehensive blood tests are the best way to measure Testosterone in women. Other marketed hormone tests like saliva do not give an in-depth or accurate enough look at hormone levels.
Causes of Testosterone Deficiency in Women
Decreased Testosterone production may happen gradually because of aging. This can also occur with Estrogen and other female sex hormones.
There are two main causes of age-related hormone decreases in women:
- Perimenopause or premenopause – This phase is when your body transitions into menopause. It typically begins years before menopause and can cause hormone deficiency symptoms, even if you are still experiencing regular periods and have no other signs of menopause.
- Menopause – This phase is marked by experiencing 12 months without a regular period. It typically occurs when a woman reaches her 40s to 50s, when the body goes through a severe decrease in hormone production.
Low Testosterone can also occur in women because of certain chronic conditions, medications, and other factors. As a result, young women can experience the symptoms of a hormone deficiency even if they aren’t near menopause age.
One cause of low Testosterone in women of any age is damage to the ovaries, such as the removal of one or both ovaries during a hysterectomy. Ovarian failure due to radiation therapy or chemotherapy can also lead to hormone imbalance.
Certain medications like oral contraceptives, birth control patches, Estrogen tablets, opiates and anti-hypertensives can lower Testosterone production, as well. These may also cause female sexual dysfunction, which is why some women choose to undergo Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT).
In less common cases, insufficient production of Testosterone by the adrenal and pituitary glands can cause low T levels. These declines are sometimes caused by tumors on these glands.
Symptoms of Low Testosterone in Women
Low Testosterone may cause:
- Mood changes
- Trouble sleeping
- Poor memory
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Weight gain
- Fertility issues
- Vaginal dryness
- Reduced libido
- Low sexual satisfaction
- Lethargy and fatigue
- Loss of bone density
- Muscle weakness
- Dry skin
- Thinning hair
One of the most common symptoms of low Testosterone is Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder, or a lack of desire for intimacy. Normal sexual desire is different for every woman, but if you’ve experienced a consistent decline in sex drive over months or years, you may have HSDD.
Other symptoms of HSDD include lack of self-confidence, personal distress, sadness, fatigue, and frustration. Women with HSDD may have fewer sexual fantasies and lose interest in all sexual activity.
Although the exact causes of this sexual disorder are unknown, hormone therapy can help boost the libido and ease HSDD symptoms.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy for Women
TRT is typically considered a men’s treatment, but it can address hormonal imbalance in women, as well.
Promising evidence suggests that Testosterone Replacement Therapy for women provides several benefits like the following:
Stronger bones: A low T count directly links to a higher risk of osteoporosis and decreased bone density. TRT can boost bone mineral density in the hips and spine. The body improves its bone-building ability and strengthens the skeleton, which may speed up recovery from fractures and similar issues.
Decreased risk of obesity: Women have less muscle mass compared to men, but with low Testosterone, the gap widens even further. Without sufficient lean muscle, many women report difficulty controlling weight naturally, and sluggishness may set in. Testosterone Replacement Therapy combined with a healthy diet and exercise can increase muscle mass, which can reduce the chances of obesity.
Improved mood and cognition: Verbal memory, thinking abilities, and other cognitive functions may be enhanced with TRT. This type of therapy can reduce issues like fatigue, lethargy, and irritability and give an energy boost, which can lead to an overall mood improvement.
Healthier sex drive and sexual function: Low Testosterone affects men and women in one common way: Diminished sexual arousal and sexual dysfunction. Optimized Testosterone levels with TRT can contribute to a healthier libido and satisfying sexual activity.
TRT Options for Women
Each patient is unique, and so is the treatment administered. TRT comes in a variety of delivery systems that can help promote overall health and improve daily life.
No matter the delivery system, Defy Medical orders a comprehensive labwork to determine starting hormone levels and to formulate a customized treatment plan. Then our providers review regular follow-up bloodwork throughout the year to monitor and adjust treatment as needed for hormone optimization.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy options for women include:
Testosterone creams are applied to the skin daily, usually once per day. Testosterone creams function through transdermal absorption, which allows the Testosterone to reach the blood. Other types of topical carriers include lotions, gels, and patches.
Areas of application for women typically include the vagina, abdomen, and inner thighs. Defy Medical providers often suggest rotating the site to prevent irritation and limit skin-to-skin transference with partners, pets, and children.
Topical Testosterone can be compounded with other hormones to create a single, convenient application.
Injections are a common delivery method in Testosterone Replacement Therapy. Injections allow the patient more control over frequency and dosage to ensure consistency in Testosterone levels.
They also allow for physician-guided dosage adjustments and are simple to self-administer at home. Testosterone can be administered in intramuscular (into the muscle) or subcutaneous (into the skin) injections. There are also different esters available, which help create a timed release to stabilize Testosterone levels over time. There are a variety of strengths and combinations available for each patient’s individual needs, as well.
Testosterone nasal gel is available, and it is applied to the nasal cavity. This method requires multiple applications daily which may not be feasible as the primary therapy for many patients.
Many patients find value in the nasal gel as an ancillary therapy (in addition to a primary). In addition, the nasal application helps minimize any risk of accidental transference to others.
Pellet Therapy is another option for women who prefer a low maintenance approach compared to daily/weekly creams or injections. These grain-sized pellets reduce the need for frequent clinic visits since they work steadily once implanted for around three to six months and dissolve over time.
The pellet is implanted under the skin in a simple procedure at our clinic location. The implanted pellets help provide a consistent dose into the blood stream over time. There is no need to remove the pellet since it gets absorbed into the body completely.
Defy Medical for Integrated Wellness with TRT
At Defy Medical, we provide proven Testosterone Replacement Therapy protocols for women. Testosterone is typically combined with other hormones for women to create a comprehensive therapy. Our dedicated team makes personalized treatment plans for each patient to ensure the best care and highest service standards.
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