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Why Testosterone Is A Hormone That Women Need Too

When we think of testosterone, we think of the hormone that men are always trying to boost to get more muscle mass. And yes, this is the male hormone that has a crucial role in the development of male sexual reproductive tissues, muscle and bone, and body hair.

But this hormone isn’t just for men. Women also produce this hormone in the adrenal glands and ovaries, and it plays a significant role in their bodies. When talking about testosterone, we are no longer just talking about men’s health, we are also talking about women’s health.

In this blog, you’ll learn:

  • Top myths that women believe about testosterone
  • What testosterone actually does for women
  • How to tell if you have low testosterone as a woman
  • When you should consider a testosterone replacement

For women, testosterone levels are at their highest around age 20 and then begin to decline throughout the rest of their life, unlike men who start to drop testosterone levels around the age of 30.  Just like men, women can also experience low testosterone levels, and that can have an unhealthy impact on their lives.

When women reach a point where they are not producing enough testosterone on their own, it is often advised to begin hormone therapy. Many women, however, may be apprehensive about this decision.

There are many myths that are believed when it comes to women, testosterone, and hormone therapy replacement, also known as T therapy (1).

Top Women and Testosterone MYTHS…

  • Masculinizes females

The presence of testosterone alone does not create masculinity in women, and true masculinity is not possible. Many women who produce low testosterone, such as post-menopausal women, are given testosterone replacement therapy, and in turn, it can even stimulate femininity. While those who are given doses that are too high can see results of increased hair growth, this side effect is not permanent and can be reduced with lower doses of testosterone (2, 3).

  • Testosterone causes hair loss

Because testosterone is often associated with men, and men are associated with hair loss, women fear that it can cause them to start losing the hair on their head. There is no study that shows testosterone to be the causation of hair loss. In fact, one-third of women experience hair loss and thinning hair as they age. It has been demonstrated, however, that low testosterone, as well as other life factors, can contribute to hair loss (3).

  • Testosterone increases breast cancer risk

While in the past some studies have suggested a possible association between breast cancer and increased testosterone levels, more recent studies have shown these studies to be limited and with no proof of causation. In fact, clinical studies have proven that testosterone can help protect women from breast cancer and have positive effects on breast cancer survivors (4, 5, 6).

  • Testosterone causes aggression

While it has been shown that anabolic steroids can cause aggression, the same does not occur with T therapy. A study published in Maturitas indicates that 90% of post-menopausal women who use T therapy have a decrease in depression, anxiety, irritability, and aggression (7).

What Does Testosterone Do In Women?

  • Maintain sex drive

As women grow older, especially after menopause, they begin to feel a dip in their sex drive and this can often be the result of lower testosterone levels. After menopause women see a drop in both testosterone and estrogen, but testosterone production is reduced significantly in comparison to estrogen. Studies show a correlation between testosterone and women’s sexual health (8).

Low testosterone levels are not just a result of menopause, but can also happen to women who are younger, especially if she has had her ovaries removed.

  • Bone Health

As women age, and especially during post-menopause, it is common for women to begin to lose bone density and strength. Maintaining normal testosterone levels is essential for maintaining healthy bones and keeping them strong. When testosterone increases, so does bone density (9, 10).

  • Manage Pain

Studies show that higher levels of testosterone in both women and men are associated with higher levels of pain management. One such study showed that joint and muscular pain significantly improved in post-menopausal women after testosterone replacement therapy  (711).

  • Cognitive Health

Research shows that testosterone may be important to the cognitive health of both men and women. A 26-week study conducted on 92 healthy post-menopausal women were given testosterone replacement therapy, rather than estrogen therapy. After the 26-weeks were up, the women saw a significant improvement in both verbal learning and memory. This can be important for women as they are at a higher risk for dementia than men (12).

Symptoms of Low Testosterone in Women?

For most women, testosterone levels are not something that is thought of, especially at a young age. And this is because most women do not suffer from low testosterone levels and when they do, it is post-menopause or after they have had their ovaries removed. This is because the ovaries are one of the places responsible for the production of testosterone and once they are removed, women produce 50% less testosterone than they had before.

If you have gone through menopause, had a hysterectomy, or lost pituitary gland function and felt a decrease in your sex drive then your testosterone levels are something you want to keep an eye on. If you have not gone through any of these three situations, you can start supporting a healthy hormone balance now as you begin to get older, especially once you are past your early twenties, as this is when testosterone production starts to drop.

Should You Take a Testosterone Replacement?

Many women turn to T therapy to replace their lowering levels of testosterone. If you suspect that you are deficient in testosterone, be sure to talk to your doctor who can diagnose you and determine the appropriate treatment.

Until therapy is needed, there are many ways that you can support healthy testosterone production, and that is through a healthy diet and exercise. Studies have shown a correlation between lifting weights, as seen in our Weights for Women program, and a healthy level of testosterone production (13, 14).

But the best and most natural way to get testosterone is to eat foods and the workouts you do. Here are 5 foods you should include in your diet and a workout that is sure to boost your testosterone!

  • Oysters
  • Eggs
  • Pomegranate
  • Spinach
  • Mushrooms

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