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Testosterone is often mistakenly defined as a hormone that is important for men only. Studies and practical observation has shown that testosterone is a very important hormone for women too.
Women experience a rapid decline in sex hormones such as estradiol and testosterone while aging. Other important hormones that can decline with age or illness include those produced by the adrenal and thyroid glands. Although women produce a much lower amount of testosterone than men, this decline is noticed throughout the whole body. Research has shown that testosterone is responsible for a women’s sexual desire and responsiveness, mood, sense of well-being and mental acuity. The Women’s Health Institute at the University of New Jersey suggests that androgens (testosterone) play a significant role in affecting pre-menopausal and post-menopausal symptoms and quality of life.
As it does in men, testosterone supports bone density and muscle tissue. Increased bone density is critical because of the increased risk of osteoporosis women face as they age. Women produce their testosterone in the ovaries and adrenal glands and typically lose 70 percent of the hormone by the age of 40. This decrease can cause most, if not all the effects listed above. Some other effects of low testosterone in women include increased risk of cardiovascular disease (Med. Suisse Romande2003 Mar) and increased risk of Alzheimer’s (Cell mol Life Sci. 2005 Feb). A simple blood test through a physician can determine the level of testosterone in the body and therefore can detect a deficiency.
The best testosterone range for men to maintain health and quality of life has been established. Men appear to respond optimally when the total testosterone level is greater than 550ng/dl. Improvements can be experienced when testosterone is maintained in the upper-end of the established range, roughly between 650ng/dl-1100ng/dl. Just like men, women have testosterone level that should be maintained within a specific range in order for the hormone to support the functions in which it is responsible. Clinical focus on testosterone in women has been lacking therefore we must rely on the data that is presently available. In addition to clinical studies, we also have years of observing clinical practice within the emerging field of "hormone replacement therapies" in which re-trained doctors provide compounded bio-identical hormone medications to treat women for hormone deficiencies including testosterone. Many of the most experienced doctors have established the best range for Total Testosterone levels in women to be between 45ng/dl-120ng/dl, depending on other factors including symptom response and other hormone biomarkers. I have no doubt that women can experience the same health and physical benefits as men by maintaining optimal testosterone levels with the assistance of a trained doctor.
Supplementing with the adrenal hormone ''DHEA' can be useful for improving testosterone levels in women. If this does not work, there are other methods of testosterone administration. The therapy's of choice are hormone pellet therapy or a topical cream applied in a very small amount to the skin. The hormone is absorbed through the skin and into the blood stream. Injections and pellets are also available to restore deficient testosterone. Just a small amount of this hormone will make a big impact on women’s quality of life.