I didn’t realize women have testosterone. Where in the body is testosterone produced?
Yes, women produce testosterone and it plays a pivotal role in their overall health and well-being. Women produce testosterone primarily in the ovaries, and secondarily in the adrenal glands.
At what age do women benefit from testosterone therapy?
Generally women produce lower testosterone levels starting in their later thirties/early forties.
Women on birth control pills can have suppression of their natural testosterone levels so as a result may qualify for testosterone therapy at younger ages.
What symptoms do women have with low testosterone levels?
Women with low testosterone levels may notice a significant drop in their energy levels, a diminished libido, weight gain, difficulty losing weight, a decrease in muscle tone/strength, and mood changes.
I frequently see women in my office in the later-thirty, early forty age range who complain that despite their usual exercise and diet programs they can’t lose weight. When we balance their testosterone levels they have enhanced metabolism and regain the benefits of their exercise and diet efforts.
How is testosterone administered to women?
Women have several options for testosterone therapy. All of these options include bioidentical testosterone that is exactly as our bodies produce naturally.
The three options include a topical gel or cream, a sublingual troche (a lozenge that dissolves under the tongue), or a subcutaneous pellet (small pellet placed under the skin in the hip area).
The topical or sublingual routes are typically used once daily. The subcutaneous pellets are usually placed every four months.
Subcutaneous pellets are placed quickly and painlessly in our office.
Are there any side effects with testosterone therapy?
Fortunately, testosterone therapy is extremely well tolerated for most women. The majority of women have no side effects or difficulties with testosterone therapy. A small minority of women can experience acne, oily skin, hair-thinning or darkening of facial hair. These side effects are related to either a brief acclimation period or will resolve with dose adjustments. In my anti-aging practice we have been using testosterone therapy effectively for the past twelve years in women of all ages.
I have all the symptoms of low testosterone but my doctor told me my level was normal. What is a normal testosterone level for women?
Most labs will have a reference range of “0-80” for women of all ages. The difficulty with the typical reference range is that an extremely low testosterone, such as a value of “5” ,will be considered “normal” as it is within the listed reference range on the lab results. Since the listed reference ranges include values for women of all ages, what may be normal for an elderly woman is certainly not optimal for a younger woman. We find aiming for optimal testosterone levels on the higher side of the reference ranges most beneficial for overall health and enhanced results.
In my clinic I have found that most women feel great if we keep their testosterone levels comfortably over 50, and many feel even better with a testosterone level in the 80 plus range.
The bottom line is that women can feel a tremendous improvement in energy, metabolism, mood, libido and body composition with bioidentical testosterone therapy. When we customize the program for the individual we get optimal results and health benefits.