A few years ago I experienced what low testosterone felt like. It affected me sexually, physically, mentally and emotionally, in profound ways.
A few years ago, I felt lethargic and a bit depressed, lacking my usual enthusiasm, optimism, and zest for life.
I went to see my doctor to find out what was going on. He ordered a panel of blood tests, which revealed that my testosterone level was slightly below the normal range.
Before that, testosterone had barely crossed my mind. I was primarily concerned about estrogen and progesterone – the pair of hormones that help regulate my menstrual cycles.
Testosterone? It’s something only guys should be worrying about, right?
Not so. As it turns out, testosterone also plays an important role in the lives of women. Too much or too little of it can throw our worlds upside down.
The Roles of Testosterone in Women
Estrogen is the female (yin) hormone that gives a woman her lovely feminine physique and the ability to conceive. It moistens her vagina, secrets cervical fluids, and prepares her for sexual union.
Testosterone, on the other hand, is the male (yang) hormone that stimulates her sexual desire and propels her into action. It also enhances the sensitivity of her nipples and clitoris, which gives her sexual pleasure.
In addition to its role in sexuality, testosterone also helps a woman build up bone density and muscle mass, and increases her energy level (the yang aspect of her being)…
The eternal dance of yin and yang on display again. And yet another brilliant design by the timeless intelligence of Mother Nature.
What’s the Normal Level of Testosterone in Women
I once met a ballet dancer who claimed that she had more testosterone than an average woman because of her high sex drive and energy level. I gave her credit for her level of self-awareness.
But there is a more objective way to gauge your testosterone level – a blood test, which is commonly employed by doctors as a diagnostic tool.
According to University of Rochester Medical Center, the T Level range for an average adult female is between 15 ng/dL and 70 ng/dL.
Note that this is a wide range. Some women do have more testosterone than others. So, the degree of change in the testosterone levels over time is more meaningful than an absolute number in isolation.
What Does Low Testosterone Do to a Woman
Given the roles testosterone plays in a woman, it’s not difficult to deduce how low testosterone can affect her sexually, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Signs of low testosterone in women often manifest as:
- Sexual changes, such as low libido or reduced sexual pleasure
- Physical changes, like increased body fat, reduced muscle bulk and strength, and decreased bone density
- Mental and emotional changes, such as low self-confidence or lack of motivation
The symptoms of low testosterone are often underdiagnosed or misdiagnosed for women because they can be mistaken for stress, depression, and the side effects of menopausal changes.
So, if you experience any of the above symptoms for a prolonged period of time and are not able to pinpoint the cause, it may be a good idea to get your testosterone level tested.
Causes of Low Testosterone in Women
Like estrogen, testosterone is also produced in the ovaries and by the adrenal glands. The reduced functions of these organs are likely to lead to a lower testosterone level.
Below are the four most common causes of low testosterone in women:
A woman’s ovarian functions naturally decline as she gets older, producing less estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. By the time she reaches perimenopause and menopause, her testosterone level can be reduced by 50% or more.
Surgical Removal of Ovaries or Uterus:
Since testosterone is primarily produced in the ovaries (which are closely connected with the uterus), either an ovariohysterectomy (removal of ovaries) or a hysterectomy (removal of uterus) will cause a significant decline in testosterone levels.
Adrenal grands release hormones such as cortisol to help us deal with stress. High levels of stress call for a larger quality of cortisol, which consumes more of the same precursors that are also used to produce sex hormones. As a result, adrenal fatigue often leads to estrogen and progesterone deficiencies, as well as lower testosterone levels (as in my case a few years back).
Pituitary Disease (Hypopituitarism):
The pituitary gland is the master control center for the release of pretty much all hormones. A malfunction in this area can reduce hormone productions, including testosterone.
Since our body is an integrated whole, chronic illnesses or medications may also affect testosterone levels. Be sure to discuss the possible correlations with your doctor if you have any underlining conditions.
What to Do if Your Testosterone Level is Low
If your testosterone level is low, talk to your doctor and get his inputs on what you can do to help improve its production. He may recommend taking DHEA (the precursor for sex hormones) or using Testosterone Replacement Therapy.
Meanwhile, take good care of your ovaries and uterus, as well as your adrenal glands. When you do, they’ll take care of you – which means harmonious cycles, natural fertility, healthy sexuality, strong bones and muscles, balanced moods, and vibrant energy.
Chasteberry (proven to help treat low progesterone and regulate menstrual cycles in more than 60 years of clinical research, including 5 randomized trials)
Vitamin B6 (one of the best vitamins to boost progesterone)
Progesterone Cream (bio-identical hormonal support)
Reduce Estrogen Dominance
Liver Cleanse Detox and Repair Formula (support liver functions)
Dim Plus (improve estrogen metabolism)
Amazing Grass Super Foods (clear excess estrogen and alkalize the body)
Support Adrenal and Thyroid Functions
Adrenal Health Daily Support (promote overall hormone balance)
Thyroid Support Complex (support energy and metabolism)
Once Daily Organic Whole Food Vitamin Supplement (provide essential nutrients for health and hormone balance)
Liquid Iron (support healthy blood)
Omega 3 Fish Oil (reduce inflammation and promote overall health)
The Hormone Cure, by Dr. Sara Gottfried
Cooking for Hormone Balance, by Magdalena Wszelaki