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Testosterone is a steroid hormone, and member of the group of hormones called androgens. It is derived from cholesterol (like all the sex hormones) and its precursor hormone is DHEA. Although it has been thought of as “the male hormone”, it is also a primary sex hormone in women. Testosterone is produced by both the ovaries and the adrenal glands. The ovaries produce testosterone for many years after menopause. Therefore, women who have their ovaries removed are at significant risk for a testosterone deficiency and the subsequent symptoms associated with it. Here are just some of the female bodily functions in which testosterone plays a role:

  • Libido - Testosterone in women plays a crucial role in their sex drive. It not only enhances the sexual mood, but it's also responsible for nipple and clitoral sensitivity. Furthermore, it heightens orgasms and sexual response. Reduced function of the ovaries, caused by hormonal imbalance or a hysterectomy, lessens the amount of testosterone a woman produces, especially in the premenopausal woman. Low testosterone levels lead to a loss of libido and can contribute to hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD).

  • Bone and Muscle Health- Testosterone in women is also essential for bone strength and development, as well as muscle mass and strength.

  • Energy - Testosterone contributes to a woman’s overall sense of well- being and energy.

Low Testosterone 

Similar to other hormones, the onset of perimenopause and menopause causes a decline in the production of testosterone (by at least 50%). Again, hysterectomy with or without the removal of the ovaries will cause a significant decline in testosterone levels. High-stress levels can also contribute to symptoms earlier before menopause when a woman is in her late 30s or 40s. Here are some of the most common symptoms of low testosterone in women:

  • Decreased energy

  • Loss of bone density

  • Loss of muscle mass

  • Decreased libido

Testosterone Excess

Women could also suffer from symptoms resulting from testosterone levels being too high. There are a handful of reasons why levels of testosterone and women could be too high for a woman, including polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), adrenal tumors, ovarian cancer or tumors, and congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Here are just some of the symptoms associated with testosterone dominance in women:

  • Deepened voice

  • Hair Loss

  • Infertility

  • Development of facial and body hair

  • Irregular or absent menstrual cycle

Testosterone Treatment

Boosting testosterone through therapy that utilizes bioidentical testosterone has the potential to provide a multitude of benefits to a woman’s body. Here are some of the most common benefits of testosterone replacement therapy for women:

  • Improved libido - An improved sex drive can improve not only sexual enjoyment but also overall health and well-being.

  • Improved bone density - Low testosterone leads to brittle bones, which can lead to osteoporosis and injuries. Testosterone therapy may protect women against issues related to bone loss.

  • Increased muscle mass - Balanced testosterone levels promote the development of lean muscle mass and the reduction of fat. The appropriate testosterone treatment, done carefully with the proper dosages and a doctor practitioner monitoring the ever-fluid hormone levels, has the potential to help women lose weight and improve their body mass index (BMI).

  • Reduced inflammation - Proper testosterone levels can also provide anti-inflammatory benefits. Not only can these anti-inflammatory properties address issues like joint and back pain, but they may actually lower the risk of certain cancers as well. In fact, testosterone was one of the first drugs used in the treatment of breast cancer and is still indicated for this purpose.

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