Testosterone is an androgen steroid hormone that is usually linked to male sexuality. It stimulates the growth of normal male sexual organs, leads to deepening of the male voice, stimulates facial and pubic hair growth, and is essential in the sexual behavior of men. Testosterone is made not only in the testes of men but also in the ovaries of women and in the adrenal glands of both men and women.
Abnormally high testosterone levels in women can lead to a variety of symptoms. Most often, women with high testosterone levels develop male pattern hair growth (hirsutism), especially on their faces and chests. More rarely, over time some women may experience virilization, which is increased muscle mass, redistribution of body fat, enlargement of the clitoris, deepening of the voice, male pattern baldness, acne, and increased perspiration. It is important to note that some women develop hirsutism without having a high testosterone level.
Increased testosterone levels in women are most often caused by polycystic ovaries. Less commonly, when testosterone levels are very elevated, ovarian cancer is a concern. Adrenal gland problems may contribute as well.
Signs, symptoms & indicators of Elevated Testosterone Level, Female
Having high testosterone levels
Having normal/having very low/having low testosterone levels
An enlarged clitoris is often due to a chronically elevated testosterone level.
A hard-driving personality
Conditions that suggest Elevated Testosterone Level, Female
Risk factors for Elevated Testosterone Level, Female
History of adult acne
Recommendations for Elevated Testosterone Level, Female
While the following study did not use a study group of women diagnosed with PCOS (though some of the women in the study may also have been women with PCOS), the study’s subjects were 104 women with the highest levels of testosterone out of 312 women screened. Thus, like women diagnosed with PCOS, these subjects tended to high androgen levels. The treatment group of the study received a highly controlled diet substantially restricting refined carbohydrates, included high quality protein, and provided omega-three and monounsaturated fatty acids. After eighteen weeks, the subjects with this modified diet showed a 25% increase in SHBG, a 19.5% decrease in testosterone, and a significant decrease in the amount of insulin released in response to a glucose challenge, compared to controls. The diet in the intervention group also accounted for a loss of about 7lbs, which may have actually been the most important factor in the reduction of testosterone. [Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention 2001; 10(1): pp.25-33]
Troglitazone and metformin lower biologically available testosterone levels by approximately 25% in women with PCOS. This testosterone lowering correlates with the reduction in insulin levels. Resumption of ovulation has been reported in women receiving these agents alone or in combination with clomiphene citrate (Clomid).
Aromatase inhibitors like DIM (diindolylmethane), Indole 3 carbinol, and chrysin should be avoided, as they will enhance any preexisting androgen / estrogen dominance.
Low estrogens allow the circulating androgens and testosterone to be more freely available and thus stimulate cells more. Increasing the circulating estrogen in the blood, by taking estrogens, will increase the proteins that bind the androgens and help decrease the effects of all androgens, whether the levels are normal or excessive.
|Weak or unproven link
|Strong or generally accepted link
|Proven definite or direct link
|Very strongly or absolutely counter-indicative
|May do some good
|Likely to help
|Reasonably likely to cause problems
The principal male sex hormone that induces and maintains the changes that take place in males at puberty. In men, the testicles continue to produce testosterone throughout life, though there is some decline with age. A naturally occurring androgenic hormone.
Any steroid hormone that increases male characteristics.
Any of a large number of hormonal substances with a similar basic chemical structure containing a 17-carbon 14-ring system and including the sterols and various hormones and glycosides.
Chemical substances secreted by a variety of body organs that are carried by the bloodstream and usually influence cells some distance from the source of production. Hormones signal certain enzymes to perform their functions and, in this way, regulate such body functions as blood sugar levels, insulin levels, the menstrual cycle, and growth. These can be prescription, over-the-counter, synthetic or natural agents. Examples include adrenal hormones such as corticosteroids and aldosterone; glucagon, growth hormone, insulin, testosterone, estrogens, progestins, progesterone, DHEA, melatonin, and thyroid hormones such as thyroxine and calcitonin.
A chronic skin disorder due to inflammation of hair follicles and sebaceous glands (secretion glands in the skin).
Refers to the various types of malignant neoplasms that contain cells growing out of control and invading adjacent tissues, which may metastasize to distant tissues.