We often mistake testosterone as the “male” hormone. While it’s true that men do produce ten times more testosterone than women, it still plays an important role in the health of women. This is especially true during a woman’s reproductive years when there is actually more testosterone produced in a woman than estrogen.
Women typically have three major sex hormones circulating in their blood: estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone. The ovaries produce each of these. Estrogen is also made throughout the body but particularly in body fat. Testosterone can be made by the adrenal glands and in other parts of the body from hormones (DHEA and DHEAS) that are produced by the adrenal glands.
At the time of natural menopause or surgical removal of the ovaries, estrogen and progesterone levels fall precipitously.
Testosterone and DHEAS levels, however, fall more gradually with increasing age such that a woman in her forties has on average only half of the testosterone and DHEAS circulating in her bloodstream as does a woman in her twenties. After a woman has her ovaries removed by surgery testosterone levels can fall by up to 50 percent. However, testosterone does not change across menopause, although this varies somewhat between women.
A Woman's Need for Testosterone
What experts now agree on is that both sexes need an adequate level of testosterone to maintain both physical and mental health. They now believe that low testosterone, not estrogen, is what leads to weight gain, fatigue, loss of mental focus and low libido in middle-aged women.
Most women will experience low testosterone levels before, during and after menopause. In fact, some women may start to see the symptoms of low testosterone in their early 30’s. These symptoms include low libido, hot flashes, fatigue, mental fogginess and weight gain.
Testosterone and other related hormones (DHEA and DHEAS) in the body (also known as androgens) have known physiological roles in women. Firstly, estrogen is made from testosterone and DHEA, and without the ability of our bodies to produce testosterone we cannot produce estrogen. Testosterone and DHEA appear to have direct independent effects in different parts of the body, and some women may experience a variety of physical symptoms when their blood levels fall. Such symptoms may include:
Impaired sexual interest (loss of libido or sexual desire), and lessened sexual responsiveness
Lessened wellbeing, loss of energy
Testosterone therapy may be beneficial for some women who have had their ovaries surgically removed or in some who have significant symptoms in the form of loss of libido, fatigue and diminished wellbeing.
When women begin to experience these symptoms, they may want to look into testosterone replacement therapy. This type of therapy has been successfully administered for many decades to both men and women.
How Testosterone Therapy Works
Testosterone can be combined with estrogen and progesterone, or it can be prescribed individually. If your estrogen and progesterone levels are normal, you will only be prescribed testosterone for your therapy. Hormone levels can be checked with a simple blood test that is covered by most insurance.
Testosterone replacement usually comes in the form of a topical cream that is administered daily. This way the dosage can be adjusted until the perfect dose is discovered for the particular patient.
Learn more about Testosterone Replacement Therapy for women.
If you think that low testosterone may be a contributing factor to your recent weight gain or low energy levels, we invite you to schedule a free testosterone replacement therapy consultation. The team at TransformYou will work with you to determine a plan that will help you feel better in no time!