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Abnormal Testosterone Levels – What May Be The Cause?

June 13th, 2016

Abnormal Testosterone Levels – What May Be The Cause?

Abnormal Testosterone Levels – What May Be The Cause?

Testosterone is required for the maintenance of normal biological activities in both men and women. However, with advancing age and other physical and metabolic factors, the serum levels of testosterone tend to fluctuate. It is also noteworthy that normal reference range for testosterone varies according to the age and maturity status of the individual.

If you are experiencing disturbing symptoms that are suggestive of abnormal testosterone secretion or metabolism, speak to a healthcare professional to ascertain the cause.

Discussed below is a brief account of etiological factors that may affect your testosterone metabolism.

Decreased Testosterone Levels In Men

Testosterone levels declines gradually in men after 30th birthday and in most cases, this decline is gradual. However, in some cases, the decline in testosterone levels is significant that may or may not be symptomatic.

Common causes of low testosterone levels include:

  • Chronic Alcoholism
  • Severe liver disease
  • Chronic illnesses such as severe cardiovascular dysfunction, poorly controlled diabetes etc.
  • Intake of certain drugs
  • Chronic use of certain hormones especially androgens, steroids and other forms of testosterone.
  • Disease or disorders of pituitary gland or hypothalamus
  • Muscular dystrophy (the myotonic dystrophy – a clinical variety of MD) is also very frequently associated with low testosterone levels
  • Genetic disorders such as Prader-Willi syndrome, Kallman syndrome and Klinefelter syndrome.
  • Premature testicular failure
  • Permanent damage to testicles due to physical injury, tumor or malignant process, viral infections such asLow Testosterone Signs and Symptoms image mumps

Men who are diagnosed with chronic and symptomatic testosterone deficiency should consider testosterone replacement therapy.

Increased Testosterone Levels In Men

Some common causes of high testosterone levels are:

  • Intake of certain pharmacological agents such as barbiturates, anticonvulsants and clomiphene
  • Tumor or cancer of testicles
  • Androgen secreting adrenal tumors
  • Use of exogenous anabolic steroids (androgens or supplemental forms of testosterone) that is mostly used by athletes and body builders for muscle development and performance boost.
  • Precocious (or premature) puberty of unknown origin in young males
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia in newborn (CAH may lead to virilization of female babies that is marked by abnormal development of clitoris that may resemble a phallus)

After reviewing how troublesome low testosterone levels can be, you may assume that having high testosterone levels is a blessing; but it is not true. Testosterone receptors are present on several tissues such as prostate. Very high serum levels of testosterone may promote tissue growth in the prostate gland which may present with benign prostatic hyperplasia. In addition, patients with prostate cancer are also advised anti-testosterone therapy to control the growth if tumor.

Increased Testosterone Levels In Women

Although testosterone is a key male hormone, but females also produce low levels of testosterone to maintain normal biological activities. It is imperative to mention that estrogen and testosterone shares the same precursor element and pathway for synthesis. High levels of testosterone in females are suggestive of a pathology and are usually symptomatic. The presentation of symptoms depends on the age of women and estrogen: testosterone ratio.

Common conditions that are associated with high testosterone levels in women are:

  • Women who are on estrogen therapy usually develops high testosterone levels.
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
  • Androgen secreting ovarian tumor
  • Tumor of adrenal gland

High testosterone levels in women should be managed adequately. In poorly managed cases, sexual function and fertility may get affected. In addition, high testosterone levels in pregnant women are associated with an aggravated risk of miscarriage and other complications in the offspring such as autism, anxiety, mood disorder and abnormalities of limbic system (3). Generally low testosterone levels in women are asymptomatic, but may lead to libido issues.

Speak to your doctor if you are suspecting testosterone dysfunction for early identification and treatment.


1. Funaro, M., Bolyakov, A., Gimenez, E., Herman, M., & Paduch, D. A. (2013). Low Testosterone—An Important Predictor of Low Mineral Bone Density in Young Men—Our Own Experience and a Review of Literature. Advances in Sexual Medicine2013.

2. Morgentaler, A. (2013). Testosterone therapy in men with prostate cancer: scientific and ethical considerations. The Journal of urology, 189(1), S26-S33.

3. James, W. H. (2015). Hypothesis: high levels of maternal adrenal androgens are a major cause of miscarriage and other forms of reproductive suboptimality. Journal of theoretical biology, 364, 316-320.

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