We often hear about the symptoms of low testosterone in men – namely, lack of strength, energy, or sexual drive. But what about in women?
The symptoms of low testosterone (whether it be severely low or just moderately so) vary more widely than you might think!
Weight Gain & Difficulty Losing Weight
Many women with low testosterone experience loss of muscle and progressive weight gain.
Midlife weight gain is so common that women often assume it’s just part of getting older, but if you’ve noticed an inability to control your weight or have changes in muscle tone and bone density, you may be exhibiting symptoms of low testosterone.
Another possible symptom of decreased testosterone levels is anxiety. Although anxiety caused by low testosterone is usually mild, it can possibly cause panic attacks.
If you suddenly experience bouts of anxiety, especially if you have never had anxiety issues in the past, then you may want to talk to your doctor about low testosterone.
If you find that you are having difficulty concentrating on normal tasks, especially when you have always been able to concentrate easily on the task at hand, then you may be suffering from low testosterone.
One of the difficulties in detecting low testosterone in women, and in men, is that the symptoms, like difficulty concentrating, often mimic the classic signs of aging.
Always check with your doctor before starting a testosterone replacement program to make sure you are not suffering from normal aging symptoms.
Hair loss is one of the more obvious symptoms of low testosterone, so keep an eye out for any hair loss, on your head or otherwise.
Although hair loss from low testosterone will be most obvious on the head, hair loss on other areas of the body may also occur.
If you notice that you have to shave your legs and armpits fewer times per month than normal, or if you notice that your hair is getting patchy, you may be suffering from low testosterone.
– via Testosterone Centers of Texas
The Role Of Testosterone In Women
So let’s say you’ve seen a few of these symptoms in yourself or someone you love, but you’re wondering – isn’t testosterone mainly a male issue? Do I really need it?
Our bodies – both male and female – are incredibly intricate, balanced systems. And even if the amount of a certain element or hormone is small, naturally, that doesn’t mean it’s unnecessary. Women, at their healthiest, have a far lower amount of testosterone than men, but that doesn’t make it any less necessary for their health and wellbeing!
Chances are, if you’ve taken a birth control pill, you’ve already taken a very small dose of a testosterone derivative, points out reproductive endocrinologist David P. Cohen, MD, chief of the section of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at the University of Chicago.
“The packet information calls it progesterone, but it’s really a derivative of testosterone,” he explains.
Testosterone, part of a hormone class known as androgens, originates in your ovaries and your adrenal glands.
Even women whose ovaries have been removed probably make enough testosterone with their adrenal glands to meet their needs, Dr. Cohen says.
Healthy testosterone levels help a woman:
- Keep bones healthy: The correct balance of testosterone furthers and supports the growth and strength of healthy bones, while too much or too little can harm bones. Testosterone replacement after menopause could help some women maintain healthy bones.
- Manage pain levels: According to research in the journal Pain, women who take birth control pills and have levels of testosterone that are out of balance with levels of estrogen might have less ability to manage their pain response.
- Preserve cognitive health: Changes in cognition and cognitive fatigue may be related to changing hormone levels. Correcting testosterone levels might help prevent cognitive fatigue, according to research in Gynecological Endocrinology.
Some women may benefit from very small amounts of testosterone, says Cohen, but the side effects of excess testosterone can be worse than the reasons you might want to try hormone replacement therapy in the first place.
That said, Cohen says that he does prescribe very small doses of testosterone for some women if it’s medically appropriate to do so, but the doses are so small that he hasn’t seen a clear dose-response relationship.
Dosing is very individualized, he adds, if hormone replacement therapy proves to be needed. “You don’t titrate to a specific number — you titrate to symptoms,” he says.
If you feel better, it’s the right dose. If you start to see some of the side effects, such as male pattern hair loss, your doctor will stop or reduce the amount of testosterone.
– via EverydayHealth.com
Have you had your testosterone levels tested? Do any of these symptoms look like things you’ve experienced before?