Low testosterone (androgen deficiency) is not only a male problem. Low testosterone in women can have some significant side effects that you may not know about. These low-testosterone side-effects in women can hurt their physical health, relationships, self-esteem, and emotional well-being… even their income! Perfectly natural options such as supplements, dietary changes and BHRT (bioidentical hormone therapy) can help a woman recover from low testosterone quickly.
What is “Normal Testosterone” For A Woman?
A woman’s ovaries produce both oestrogen and testosterone (in small quantities). Her adrenal glands also release small quantities of testosterone. While she doesn’t produce or need nearly as much as a man, a woman with low testosterone won’t feel right or function well. So how much is enough?
In men, normal testosterone levels are about 280 to 1100 ng/dl (nanograms per deciliter). Women require only a fraction of that. Normal levels of testosterone in a woman are between 15 and 70 ng/dl. That’s a relatively small amount by comparison, but if a woman has low testosterone, it can have significant effects. As hormonal levels decrease during and after menopause, watching for symptoms of hormone disruption can be important.
Low testosterone in women is not only caused by changes in hormone levels caused by menopause. Problems with the ovaries, pituitary or adrenal glands can also trigger androgen deficiency. So can certain medications, particular some birth control, radiation, chemotherapy, and eating disorders.
Hormone levels can vary throughout the day.
How Does Low Testosterone Affect A Woman?
Before we get into the possible symptoms of low testosterone in women, let’s take a second to see how that woman might feel.
“She’s tired. Frazzled. A bit confused, wondering if she’s developed ADHD or early onset Alzheimer’s. It’s hard to remember things, and stay on track. She’s lost her drive to compete, to build her business or go for that promotion at work. Things she used to manage and juggle smoothly, like her career and her family obligations, seem to have gotten out of control. Oh, and her love life? What love life?”
Some of the side effects of low testosterone in women can be:
- Obesity (there is some evidence that testosterone helps suppress fat gain)
- Loss of bone density/Osteoporosis
- Memory issues
- Lack of focus/concentration
- Heart disease
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Decreased sex drive
- Vaginal dryness
- Painful intercourse
- Reduced muscle tissue, difficulty building muscle
- Thinning skin
- Dry skin
- Poor exercise tolerance
- Loss of motivation or competitiveness
- “Love handles”
How Do Women Increase Testosterone Levels?
- Exercise, particularly muscle-building exercises such as weight lifting and resistance training
- Remove hormone disruptors. Chatelaine recommends you “Opt for skincare products without parabens and other chemicals, including: methylparabens, propylparabens, formaldehyde, imidazolidinyl urea, methylisothiazolinone, propylene glycol, paraffin, isopropyl alcohol, and sodium lauryl sulphate.”
- Eat protein, fat and vegetable-based carbs – avoid calorie-restricting fad diets
- Minimize stress to reduce cortisol levels and adrenal exhaustion
- Get vitamin D levels checked – increase daylight exposure, or take a supplement if needed, particularly if you live far from the equator. Except during the summer months, your skin makes little or no vitamin D from the sun at latitudes above 37 degrees north or below 37 degrees south of the equator.
- Supplement other appropriate vitamins and minerals. Low zinc levels, for example, can lower testosterone levels. Your doctor may have other suggestions based on your diet, lifestyle, and even genetic profile.
- Improve sleep hygiene and allow time for quality sleep
- Choose testosterone-boosting foods such as leafy green vegetables, oysters, bananas, ginger, pomegranates, onions, eggs, garlic, whey, coconut, etc.
- Discuss supplementing DHEA with your doctor
- Discuss testosterone replacement therapy with bioidentical testosterone cream with your doctor. A woman’s dosage of testosterone cream will be about a tenth of a mans.
If you read the list of symptoms of low testosterone in women above and recognized yourself in more than a couple, it would be a good idea to talk to your doctor about the possibility of hormone testing and therapy. There’s no reason to suffer when help is available. In Hong Kong, please call our office at (+852) 2523 8044 to book an appointment with me – I offer a lot of experience with bioidentical hormone therapy and can help you evaluate your situation accurately.