If you think that testosterone is a male sex hormone and only exists in male bodies, then it is time to rethink it. This hormone is also produced in women’s bodies and is an androgen which regulates so many things. These functions are similar to that of men’s bodies and their levels play a major role in regulating the functions of the female body.
Testosterone is produced in a female body in the adrenal gland. At the age of 19, the level of testosterone peaks and then gradually comes down with age. But what if this level is abnormally high, there are so many effects that could be unwanted.
Usually, a high testosterone level is seen as a good thing in men, but it won’t be as good as you think for a female body. Let’s go to what is the cause and how can you counter this effect.
High Testosterone In Women: What Is The Normal Level?
In a male body, the peak testosterone level is 950 ng/dL (nanograms per decilitre). In a female body, the level of testosterone varies from 8-60 ng/dL (after the age of 19). The peak level is at the age of 19 (from 60 to 75 ng/dL) and gradually declines, as said before. But if it doesn’t decline at the level that is natural, or if excess testosterone is produced in the body or externally induced, then the level can be abnormally high. And this can cause a lot of issues.
Let’s take a look at what causes the level of testosterone in a female body.
High Testosterone In Women: The Causes
There are several causes that make the production of testosterone difficult in a female body or counter the production. These can be diseases or hormone disorders and these conditions are given below:
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is one of the most seen and commonly found disorders in women. This disorder is caused by an excess of hormones, especially those who play the roles of androgen in their bodies. PCOS causes several known conditions like irregular menstrual cycles, excess hair growth, etc. which is a common giveaway for high testosterone level.
Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia is a condition where the adrenal glands are directly affected and their function is impaired. Due to this, the body won’t be able to control the number of hormones produced by the adrenal glands, hence, overproducing testosterone. This is one of the reasons for the appearance of masculine characters in a female’s body like facial hair and early appearance of pubic hair.
This hormonal condition is genetic and causes the female body to grow unwanted hair in various parts of the body. This growth is seen especially on the back, face, and chest. This is due to the imbalance of hormones in the body and can be treated very easily.
High Testosterone In Women: The Effects & Symptoms
The following are the effects that are seen if the level of testosterone is high (in no particular order):
- Enlarged clitoris
- Facial hair
- A decrease in the size of the breast
- Unusually deep voice
- An unusual decrease in libido level
- Heavy mood swings
- Irregular menstrual cycle
In more serious and severe cases, high levels of testosterone are also known to cause problems like infertility and obesity.
High Testosterone In Women: Remedies To Counter It
The first thing you should consider is a professional diagnosis of this problem. Doctors suggest a testosterone test to check the levels of this hormone and also some very obvious symptoms like acne, excess body hair and facial hair.
Following the diagnosis and the result of the test, the doctor will prescribe your specific medication. This will be in accordance with the level of severity and the level of the hormone itself.
Treatments for high testosterone levels include:
- Oral contraceptives (birth control pills at low doses)
- Metformin oral tablets
- Glucocorticosteroids (induces cortisol production thereby inhibiting the overproduction of testosterone)
These treatments are only available at the permission and prescription of a certified doctor.
Foods That Can Help With High Testosterone In Women
The primary sex hormone present in a female body is estrogen and the second one is progesterone. The level of estrogen is crucial for several purposes and it can also affect the level of testosterone. So you can help yourself by eating foods that help to increase the production of estrogen to naturally decrease the level of testosterone in your body.
Given below is a list of food that you can start including in your diet to naturally help your high testosterone situation:
- Vegetables: carrots, yams, kale, celery, sprouts, and carrots.
- Legumes: Peas, lentils, pinto beans.
- Soy Products: tofu, soy yogurt, miso soup
- Fruits: oranges, strawberries, dried fruits, apricots, peaches, etc.
- Seeds: sesame seeds and flaxseeds
- Herbs: sage, turmeric, thyme
- Chickpeas, olives, olive oil (help in regulating hormones more than producing)
- Dark rye bread
You should also try to avoid certain foods if you want to optimize estrogen production. They are:
- Kidney beans
- Low-fat yogurt
- Almonds and cashew nuts
- Canola and peanut oil
- Shellfish like lobster and crab
It is not compulsory for you to completely exclude them from your diet. But these foods help in producing testosterone, which you don’t need. And hence, it will be better for you to change your diet according to your body’s need.
If you experience any of these symptoms, then you should immediately consult a doctor and get a diagnosis. If you want to go down the route of dealing with your symptoms either by shaving or bleaching your hair, you will only be prolonging the effects of this condition and they will be worse.
Going down the natural route is by far one of the best ways to counter this condition. And the best way to do so is to consult a doctor and change your lifestyle accordingly. The most effective way to become normal is to choose a hybrid way (lifestyle change and medication).