Testosterone is a steroidal hormone produced by both men and women. Women produce about one-tenth as much as men do. It is the hormone responsible for increased muscle mass, bone density, and body hair. Low levels can affect health, cause depression or obesity, and lower sex drive. Read: Sex After Weight Loss
Low Testosterone and Weight Gain
Women produce testosterone in their ovaries and adrenal glands. Levels peak at between ages 20 to 29 and decline afterward.
When testosterone levels decrease, men and women can gain weight and risk poor health. Women gain weight easier than men because of high estrogen levels. As women grow older, the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone begin to fluctuate. Estrogen becomes dominant and can cause weight gain.
Some causes for low testosterone are birth control pills, antidepressants, soy milk, eating a vegetarian diet, or changes in mood.
Symptoms in Women
Symptoms of low testosterone are often attributed to aging. Symptoms include fatigue and exhaustion, disrupted sleep, weight gain accompanied by difficulty losing weight, reduced sex drive, and painful intercourse due to vaginal dryness. If symptoms persist, an appointment with a doctor should be made. Read: Sleep Loss and Obesity
Additional symptoms are mood swings, depression or general low mood, difficulty concentrating, and hair loss.
About 50% of women between the age of 18 and 59 experience sexual dysfunction. Much of it is the result of low testosterone. One of the surest signs of low levels in females is HSDD (hypoactive sexual desire disorder). HSDD is having little or no sexual thoughts or fantasies and little or no desire for sexual activity to the point of personal distress.
Treatments for Women
Options for treating low testosterone levels are a pharmaceutical approach, a supplemental approach, and a lifestyle approach.
Doctors, primarily gynecologists, can write prescriptions for hormone creams. Injections are another option although they require the patient to visit the doctor’s office once every two to six weeks.
While there are supplements available to men in the United States, women are not as fortunate. However, women do have the option of using DHEA, a substance secreted by the adrenals that is a precursor to estrogen and testosterone. The supplement can be purchased over the counter and can raise hormone levels rapidly.
Lifestyle changes can also have an effect. If birth control pills are problematic, a different type of birth control might be needed. Consult with your doctor to discuss your prescriptions.
In good health,