Testosterone Levels In Men And Women
Testosterone is invariably the most important male sex hormone that is responsible for primary as well as secondary sexual functions. However, a lot of people are under the misconception that testosterone is strictly a male hormone, and women does not produce this hormone in the normal situations; which is not true. It may surprise you that testosterone plays a major role in the maintenance of sexual functions in both men and women!
Men as they reach 30, experiences gradual decline in their testosterone level by 10% at every 10-year interval; whereas women suffer a decline in the testosterone levels as they reach menopause. This reduction continues even after the menopause. Alteration in testosterone levels can affect your mood, health and overall sense of wellbeing as well.
Effects Of Testosterone On Male Health
Testosterone plays a major role in establishing male sexual traits such as deepening of voice, growth of facial hairs, building of muscle mass, production of good quality and quantity of sperms and optimal sexual drive.
If testosterone level drops in men, it may lead to sexual problems such as difficulty in achieving or keeping the erection, low libido, depression, weak bone, reduced muscle mass and difficulty in concentrating and memorizing cues.
Effects Of Testosterone On Women Health:
In women, testosterone is produced in ovaries, fat cells and adrenal glands. Testosterone is an androgen that performs over 200 vital functions in females; including sexual excitement or stimulation. Like men, low testosterone in women can reduce the libido because this hormone influences vaginal lubrication and blood circulation towards the female genital tract. Low testosterone may weaken your bones and reduces the overall muscle mass in women as well, making them more prone to develop premature osteoporosis. On the other hand, if testosterone levels are abnormally high in women, it may lead to an endocrinal disorder known as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). PCOS leads to hirsutism, irregular menstrual cycle and fertility issues.
Testosterone Therapy For Men
Testosterone hormone therapy is not for everyone! Especially if low T levels are only due to physiological aging process. Before opting for hormone therapy, men should get their serum testosterone levels measured at least two times, especially in morning hours when levels are at its peak. This is important because often times healthcare providers misdiagnose the symptoms as thyroid disorder and other endocrinological abnormalities also produces similar symptoms as that of low testosterone levels. Unfortunately, a lot of men think of testosterone as a magic potion which is why only in the past 11 years, the testosterone use has increased by more than 12-folds. In other words, the economic cost of testosterone therapy increased from $150 million in 2000 to approximately $2billion in 2012 (1).
In addition, testosterone therapy is not indicated in men with following health issues or risk factors:
- An active history of breast or prostate cancer
- Severe lower urinary tract symptoms
- If your PSA levels are abnormal (greater than 3 ng/ml)
- Presence of a nodule on the prostate (or abnormal findings on digital rectal examination)
- Untreated or poorly managed obstructive sleep apnea
- An active history of blood disorder (such as polycythemia or hematocrit greater than 50%)
- Heart failure or other cardiovascular abnormalities
Testosterone Therapy For Women
Women should only go for testosterone therapy if libido is almost gone and there is no other apparent reason behind it. But, even if women opt for this treatment they should speak to an expert as it is very important to maintain testosterone levels in the recommended range.
- Handelsman, D. J. (2013). Global trends in testosterone prescribing, 2000–2011: expanding the spectrum of prescription drug misuse. Med J Aust, 199(8), 548-51.
- Rhoden, E. L., & Morgentaler, A. (2004). Risks of testosterone-replacement therapy and recommendations for monitoring. New England Journal of Medicine, 350(5), 482-492.
- Yeap, B. B., Grossmann, M., McLachlan, R. I., Handelsman, D. J., Wittert, G. A., Conway, A. J., … & Burger, H. G. (2016). Endocrine Society of Australia position statement on male hypogonadism (part 1): assessment and indications for testosterone therapy. Med J Aust, 205(4), 173-178.