It’s possible for a woman’s testosterone production to be too high or too low. And because testosterone is a key hormone in the body—in women and men alike—a testosterone imbalance can have quite an impact on your health and well-being.
So keep reading to learn more about unhealthy levels of testosterone in women—including causes and symptoms. You’ll also learn about natural remedies that may help lower high testosterone levels in females to help get your body’s hormone balance back on track. (And don’t forget: you can check your testosterone from the comfort of home with the Everlywell Testosterone Test.)
Do women have testosterone? The answer is “yes.” Though testosterone is often thought of as a “male hormone,” it’s actually vital to women as well: normal testosterone levels in women are important for maintaining overall health and well-being. (Related: Low testosterone in men)
In fact, women usually have higher testosterone levels than estradiol levels. (Estradiol is the body’s main form of estrogen, which is commonly viewed as a “female hormone.”)
In women, testosterone is produced in the ovaries and adrenal glands. This hormone helps the body with a number of different functions. For example, it helps regulate mood and supports the health of female reproductive tissue and bones. Because of this, symptoms can arise if there’s a testosterone imbalance and levels get too high or too low.
Here are a few key roles testosterone can play in a woman’s health:
So as you can see, normal testosterone production in females can have many beneficial effects. But too much or too little of this hormone can have less-than-positive effects on the body.
Let’s start by discussing low testosterone symptoms.
What are some low testosterone symptoms in women? Low libido, weight gain, and changes in mood are all common signs of low testosterone levels. Low testosterone over a long period of time may also contribute to more serious issues like heart disease, poor memory, and loss of bone density.
Other common signs of low T?
Because testosterone plays a role in libido, women with lower-than-normal levels of testosterone can experience hypoactive sexual desire disorder—or HSDD.
HSDD is considered the most widespread sexual health problem among women, and estimates suggest it occurs in 8% to 19% of women. It’s marked by fewer (if any) sexual fantasies and a lack of interest in sexual activity—along with a lot of personal distress, frustration, sadness, and decreased self-confidence and self-worth. Depression and fatigue often occur with HSDD.
Researchers have yet to pin down the exact causes of HSDD. The extent to which testosterone levels contribute to HSDD is also not well-understood. Low testosterone levels are, however, linked with less sexual desire, and testosterone hormone therapy can boost sexual desire in both pre-menopausal and post-menopausal women. But there isn’t an exact T level that can be used to diagnose HSDD.
What’s behind low testosterone levels in women? Here are a few possible causes:
Signs of high testosterone levels in women can include:
High female testosterone levels are also linked with an increased risk of obesity and infertility. Post-menopausal women with elevated testosterone may be more likely to experience insulin resistance, which can make diabetes more likely. If you have high levels of testosterone, speak with your healthcare provider to learn about treatment options. In some cases, hormone therapy or medication can help get levels back to a balanced state.
What lowers testosterone in women? Several herbs and other plant-based foods may be able to naturally decrease T levels in women:
Also, keep in mind that if you're experiencing high testosterone, it's a good idea to talk with your healthcare provider to learn what their recommendation is.
If your hormone levels fall outside a healthy, normal range, then your health and well-being may be at risk. That’s certainly the case for testosterone: from weight gain and increased body hair to menstrual cycle irregularities and lowered muscle mass, there are a number of symptoms that can occur from an imbalance of testosterone.
In short, testosterone is an essential sex hormone that plays important roles in a woman’s health. That’s why it’s a good idea to check your testosterone levels. The Everlywell Testosterone Test makes this easy to do at home—giving you accurate information on a key part of your hormonal health, which you can discuss with your healthcare provider.
1. Glaser R, Dimitrakakis C. Testosterone therapy in women: myths and misconceptions. Maturitas. 2013;74(3):230–234. doi:10.1016/j.maturitas.2013.01.003
2. Testosterone therapy in women: Does it boost sex drive? Mayo Clinic. URL. Accessed March 12, 2020.
3. Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. URL. Published 2017. Accessed March 12, 2020.
4. Yasui T, Matsui S, Tani A, et al. Androgen in postmenopausal women. J Med Invest. 2012;59(1-2):12–27. doi:10.2152/jmi.59.12