High Testosterone In Women

Leptin is a hormone secreted by fat cells and it’s supposed to control your appetite, and metabolism and tell your brain to burn fat.

High Testosterone Levels in Women

Certain health conditions may cause high testosterone in females. You may experience symptoms like balding or acne.

Testosterone is a male sex hormone, or androgen, produced in a woman’s ovaries in small amounts. Combined with estrogen, the female sex hormone, testosterone helps with the growth, maintenance, and repair of a woman’s reproductive tissues, bone mass, and human behaviors.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the normal range of testosterone levels for females is:

Too much testosterone can cause symptoms that affect a woman’s physical appearance including:

  • excess body hair, specifically facial hair
  • balding
  • acne
  • enlarged clitoris
  • decreased breast size
  • deepening of the voice
  • increased muscle mass

Overly high levels of testosterone in women can also cause:

  • irregular menstrual cycles
  • low libido
  • changes in mood

In more severe cases of testosterone imbalances in women, high testosterone can cause infertility and obesity.

If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, you should talk to your doctor.

Your doctor will perform a physical examination based on your symptoms to determine whether or not you need additional tests. During the examination, your doctor will look for these symptoms:

  • abnormal facial hair
  • acne
  • excess body hair

If your symptoms seem to be abnormal, your doctor will suggest a testosterone test to measure hormone levels in your blood. To perform this test, your doctor will draw some of your blood and have it examined for hormone levels.

The test is typically performed in the morning when testosterone levels are at their highest. Prior to performing this test, your doctor may ask you to stop taking any prescriptions that could affect the test results.

Various diseases or hormonal disorders can cause hormonal changes in women. The most common causes of high testosterone levels in women are hirsutism, polycystic ovary syndrome, and congenital adrenal hyperplasia.

1. Hirsutism

Hirsutism is a hormonal condition in women that causes growth of unwanted hair, specifically on the back, face, and chest. The amount of body hair growth is highly dependent on genetics, but this condition is primarily caused by an imbalance of androgen hormones.

2. Polycystic ovary syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is another hormonal disorder caused by an excess of androgen hormones in women. If you have PCOS, you may have irregular or prolonged periods, unwanted body hair growth, and enlarged ovaries that may not function properly. Other common complications of PCOS are:

  • infertility
  • miscarriage
  • type 2 diabetes
  • obesity
  • endometrial cancer

3. Congenital adrenal hyperplasia

Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) is a disorder that directly affects the adrenal glands and the production of the body’s hormones. In many cases of CAH, the body overproduces androgen.

Common symptoms of this disorder in women include:

  • infertility
  • masculine characteristics
  • early appearance of pubic hair
  • severe acne

Treatment for high testosterone depends on the cause, but generally includes medication or lifestyle changes. Medications used to treat high testosterone include:

  • glucocorticosteroids
  • metformin
  • oral contraceptives
  • spironolactone

Oral contraceptives have been shown as effective treatment for blocking testosterone, but this treatment method will interfere if you have immediate plans to get pregnant. According to research from the American Academy of Family Physicians, low-dose birth control that use low levels of norgestimate, gestodene, and desogestrel are the best choices. All of these medications are only available by prescription. To obtain one, you must meet with your doctor or gynecologist.

Making certain lifestyle changes can also affect testosterone levels. Starting an exercise or weight loss program can help because losing weight can improve symptoms. Some women choose only to treat their symptoms, including shaving or bleaching hair and using facial cleaners for acne or oily skin.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of high testosterone levels, meet with your doctor. They will be able to find the cause and come up with a treatment plan specific to you.

6 Causes of High Testosterone in Women & How to Lower your Levels

Causes of high testosterone in women

Weight gain, acne, and hair loss – are you experiencing any of these symptoms?

These are only a few of the symptoms of high testosterone in women, but the real question is this:

Why do women have high testosterone, to begin with… and what can you do to lower it?

Unfortunately, many Doctors may tell you that you have high testosterone but rarely ever will they offer any advice on how to lower your levels to help you feel better.

That’s why it’s important to ​have an understanding of what is going on in YOUR body so you can figure out how to get back to normal.

The important thing to realize about high testosterone is that usually (95% of the time) it is caused by something ELSE like another hormone imbalance.

So the way to fix the problem is by tackling and reversing the issue causing your high testosterone…​

Symptoms of High Testosterone in Women

Before we jump into the causes of high testosterone and the treatment, we really need to understand the symptoms of high testosterone.

Symptoms are very important because each person is different in terms of how much is TOO much for their body.

I have seen plenty of women with “high normal” ranges of testosterone but ALL of the symptoms.

In these patients it’s obvious they have too much testosterone, but their numbers make them look relatively “normal” but they still benefit greatly from treatment.

Use this list below to help guide you…

Symptoms of High Testosterone in Women:

a woman and a man both experiencing male patterned baldness.

  • Weight Gain or inability to lose weight (especially if weight gain is unexpected)
  • Hair loss (especially if thyroid function and other hormones are normal and if the hair loss is “male-patterned”)
  • Acne, changes in complexion or very oily skin (deep cystic acne is also common with high androgens usually in the jaw-line)
  • Changes in mood including depression, irritability, or anger
  • Imbalances of other hormones including Estrogen/progesterone ratio, other androgens like DHEA, and thyroid hormone

As you will probably notice many of these symptoms are non-specific.

Meaning that there will be some crossover with other hormone imbalances in your body.

For instance: thyroid issues can cause weight gain and hair loss, but it usually isn’t male-patterned baldness.

Thyroid issues can also lead to acne, but it usually isn’t cystic or on the jawline.

Using these specific clues can help you determine WHERE exactly your hormonal issues are coming from.

But, because there is a crossover I always recommend you ALSO test your serum levels.

​Testosterone Lab Tests

​Ok so let’s talk about what abnormal testosterone tests look like.

First, let me show you an example and then explain:

Below you have example #1 which is a female with high FREE testosterone and high “normal” total testosterone.

an example of abnormally high free and total testosterone levels in a woman.

From this example, you can see that only the “free” is marked as high but in reality, this patient definitely has high testosterone levels.

Because she presented with hair growth on the face, acne, and weight gain.

​I want to take a second and explain that this pattern is VERY common and one of the most commonly missed forms.

Free testosterone is the ACTIVE form of testosterone, so this particular patient has high levels of ACTIVE and FREE testosterone floating around causing all of the symptoms listed above.

In her case, it was caused by insulin resistance, and by treating that problem her testosterone levels (and therefore symptoms) went away.

​Here is example #2:

an example of a slightly elevated free testosterone level in a woman with normal total testosterone.

Again, you can see that her free testosterone is HIGH but her total testosterone is within the “normal” range.

This patient was missed by conventional Doctors because she presented with very slight hair growth and slight weight gain but with very prominent mood swings and irritability.

This is why it’s so important to match symptoms to lab tests to make sure you don’t miss the diagnosis. ​

I also wanted to show you an example of low testosterone for comparison:​

an example of a woman with both low free and total testosterone which are highlighted and flagged as abnormal.

High levels of insulin can cause BOTH high testosterone and low testosterone – it just depends on the patient.

​So now that you know HOW to diagnose high testosterone levels and what symptoms to watch out for the next step is to find out HOW to treat it…

6 Causes of High Testosterone in Women

In this section, I’m going to go over the most common causes of high testosterone.

It’s important to remember that this list is NOT the complete list, it’s just the most common presentations that I have seen in my practice and the most commonly missed diagnoses.

I also want to spend some time on each to help you determine if you actually have these abnormalities because most Doctors tend to gloss over each of them.

​When it comes to high levels of hormones in the body it can be difficult to treat because it requires some digging to find the “root cause”.

Compare this to LOW levels of hormones, which usually can just be “replaced” to achieve symptomatic relief.

High hormone levels require more knowledge and more advanced treatment plans.

1. ​Insulin Resistance

As I mentioned previously in this article the link between insulin resistance (1) (high blood sugar) and testosterone is VERY strong.

High insulin levels cause both LOW testosterone and HIGH testosterone.

In men insulin resistance typically causes low testosterone, but in women, it can cause both.

But, what is the best way to determine how it’s affecting your testosterone?

Simply check both your Hgb A1c and fasting insulin levels in addition to free and total testosterone.

​If you have high testosterone levels + high levels of insulin then insulin is certainly contributing to your hormone imbalance.

an example of lab tests showing a normal insulin and an elevated crp. Both have arrows pointing to them.

(Example of elevated insulin in the serum, your fasting insulin should be < 5)

Women who tend to get HIGH testosterone levels with insulin resistance fall on the PCOS spectrum (2).

Meaning that as insulin increases, testosterone increases, estrogen increases, and progesterone decreases.

Some women can get away with some mild hair growth on the face, while others face serious symptoms like darkening of the skin, abdominal/visceral fat deposits, and extreme mood swings.

Generally, the higher your fasting insulin levels are the worse your symptoms will be.

2. Estrogen/Progesterone Imbalances (PMS/PMDD, Estrogen dominance)

highlighted text which states that 10% of women with high testosterone have PCOS.

ALL hormones in your body interact with one another.

Think of them like a spider web – you can’t pill a string in isolation. Moving one strand of the web will move the entire web to some degree.

The same concept is true with your hormones.

They all play together, so when one hormone is imbalanced it will ultimately drag down (or up) other hormones in the body.

This concept is true for sex hormones in women (estrogen and progesterone).

The exact mechanism isn’t clear, but there is definitely a correlation between progesterone/estrogen and testosterone.

Take for example women with PMS and PMDD – conditions caused by elevated estrogen levels (AKA Estrogen dominance).

​Compare this to Menopause (a complete lack of progesterone with low levels of estrogen) and women generally end up with LOW testosterone levels.

One thing is clear:

Changes to estrogen/progesterone somehow affect testosterone levels. ​

3. Lack of Exercise (especially weight training)

think of ​exercise as an extra way to help prevent your body from developing high testosterone levels.

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So lack of exercise doesn’t directly cause high testosterone levels, but exercising does help PREVENT high levels, to begin with.

This is most likely due to the effects of exercise on insulin levels (4).

​Exercise helps lower insulin levels by sensitizing your cells to insulin.

Low insulin = normal testosterone levels

High insulin = high testosterone levels

It’s also worth pointing out that exercising can actually balance testosterone (5) levels to boost libido and muscle mass.

Exercising can also help prevent the abnormal fat distribution that comes with high/low testosterone levels (fat in the upper body and upper arms area). ​

4. Adrenal Disease (High DHEA Levels)

​This condition is less common, but anything that cranks up adrenal production can ultimately lead to high testosterone levels.

To understand you need to see how testosterone is created in the body:

cholesterol metabolism with DHEA and testosterone highlighted to emphasize their role in the process.

Using this diagram below you can see that testosterone can be created from precursors like DHEA, pregnenolone, progesterone, and androstenedione.

Anything that increases any of these hormones (even if you take these as supplements!) can increase your total testosterone.

There are also several medical conditions that can lead to elevated DHEA and testosterone through this pathway including Adrenal hyperplasia, high stress (adrenal fatigue), excess supplementation of progesterone/pregnenolone/DHEA and insulin resistance (6).

Obviously, the most common causes of high DHEA include increased demand for adrenal production (high cortisol and high DHEA levels) and excess supplementation (which can be a big problem as well).

For this reason, it’s a good idea to always check serum levels of DHEA in addition to cortisol levels when evaluating testosterone levels.

​Remember that hormones do NOT operate in isolation, altering one will also alter others.

5. High Leptin Levels (AKA Leptin Resistance)

Leptin is the hormone that just may be making it impossible for you to lose weight and keep it off.

​If you aren’t familiar with leptin please read this article which outlines how exactly it causes weight loss resistance.

But briefly here is the story:

Leptin is a hormone secreted by fat cells and it’s supposed to control your appetite, and metabolism and tell your brain to burn fat.

When you have leptin resistance guess what happens?

Your brain doesn’t get the signal and instead of doing all of those things it instead causes the EXACT opposite.

That means your metabolism slows down, your brain makes you think you are constantly hungry and ​your body refuses to burn fat.

In addition to causing weight loss resistance, high levels of leptin are also associated with high testosterone levels (7).

High leptin levels also are seen in women with PCOS (8) and many women with leptin resistance also have insulin resistance (which further worsens testosterone levels by itself).

​So high insulin levels = high leptin levels = high testosterone levels

High insulin and leptin levels make it impossible to lose weight and high testosterone levels cause all of the side effects listed above. ​

6. Weight gain or Obesity

It turns out that excess fat (9) can also cause high testosterone levels by itself.

​Fat cells themselves actually increase levels of androgens in females.

Studies show that this is caused by the upregulation of an enzyme known as 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 5 (10).

​Forget the long name of the enzyme and just focus on the fact that fat cells themselves increase testosterone levels.

But, in addition to fat cells increasing testosterone levels…

Fat cells also increase insulin resistance which also leads to further androgen excess (high testosterone).

​The moral of the story here is that you need to lose weight in addition to adding the other therapies above to normalize testosterone levels.

And don’t let that freak you out because the next section is all about treating high testosterone levels…

How to Lower Testosterone in Women​

When attempting to lower your testosterone levels it is critical to know WHY you have high levels, to begin with.

This is because there are multiple “treatments” for the condition, but the theme is always the same: treat the root cause.

Below I’m going to go over some ways to treat ​high testosterone levels if you have the conditions listed above…

​If you have high insulin levels AND high testosterone levels then consider the following treatments:

​Treatment for high Testosterone levels due to insulin resistance

  • Add in high-intensity interval training or weight training – building muscle mass sensitizes tissues to insulin levels
  • Decrease carbohydrates (especially refined carbs like sugar/bread/pasta/etc.) – consider diets like Nutritional ketosis
  • Consider the use of T3 hormone to boost thyroid function and sensitize cells to insulin levels
  • Consider insulin-sensitizing medications: SGLT-2 inhibitors, Metformin, GLP-1 agonists, alpha-amylase inhibitors
  • Consider supplements to lower insulin levels: Berberine (1,000-2,000mg per day), Alpha lipoic acid (600-1,200mg per day), Magnesium, Chromium, and glucomannan – all of these supplements have been shown to reduce blood sugar and insulin levels
  • Note: Treating insulin resistance WILL take more than 1 treatment as indicated above. I also find that insulin resistance is VERY common among women with weight loss resistance (and problems losing weight). Do not ignore this hormone and make sure you get properly evaluated.

Treatment for high Testosterone due to Estrogen & Progesterone imbalances

  • Ensure that your thyroid is functioning optimally – hypothyroidism causes estrogen dominance and low progesterone levels
  • Ensure your excretion and metabolism of estrogen is optimal – that means proper liver function and optimal methylated B vitamins and nutrients
  • If menopause consider using bio-identical hormone replacement, especially if symptomatic (Bioidentical progesterone and estradiol/estriol combo in the form of biest work particularly well)
  • Consider supplements to help estrogen metabolism: Vitamin B12 (preferably methylcobalamin), 5-MTHF,DIM or Indole-3-carbinol, Milk thistle, MSM,bio-identical progesterone (20-40mg transdermally on days 14-28 of your cycle)
  • Note: The best way to check for estrogen/progesterone imbalances is through DUTCH testing, NOT serum levels. If you feel you have estrogen dominance but “normal” serum labs, then make sure to check via DUTCH (urine testing). Also, put special attention on thyroid function because imbalances in thyroid hormone can cause both low progesterone and high estrogen levels.

Treatment for high Testosterone due to ​Adrenal related issues

  • Increase consumption of salt (Himalayan pink salt or Celtic sea salt)
  • Manage stress levels with relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, spiritual prayer, time outside or in nature, etc. (see audio clip below for more info)
  • Cut caffeine and alcohol consumption way, way down
  • Avoid other stimulates like amphetamine-based medications (Adderall, Concerta, Phentermine, etc.)
  • Get 8 hours of sleep per night and avoid high-energy tasks late at night, avoid taking naps during the day
  • Consider the following supplements: Adrenal adaptogens, Adrenal glandulars, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, and low doses of melatonin (if you are having issues with sleep)
  • Note: Adrenal-related issues can be very complex to treat, so if you suspect adrenal issues are playing a large role in your high testosterone levels you would likely benefit from seeing a practitioner to help guide you. It’s also worth noting that the best way to test for cortisol/cortisone levels is again with a series of 4 urine tests throughout the day (DUTCH urinary testing).

Treatment of high Testosterone due to Leptin resistance

  • Consider an intermittent or prolonged fasting program.
  • Cut carbohydrates and fructose consumption (both make leptin levels worse).
  • Treating underlying thyroid resistance and insulin resistance if present (use steps above) -> if you don’t balance these hormones treating leptin resistance will be almost impossible.
  • Add high-intensity exercise with weight training.
  • Consider leptin-sensitizing medications: Byetta, Victoza, Bydureon, or Saxenda.
  • Consider supplements (there are no specific supplements to treat leptin resistance that work consistently): Insulin-sensitizing supplements (above), fish oil, zinc, and leucine.
  • Note: Leptin resistance can be very difficult to treat and in order to treat it you must treat conditions that also make it worse (like insulin resistance and thyroid resistance). In my experience treating leptin resistance usually requires the assistance of medication (as listed above) and, when used correctly, weight loss and other hormone-balancing effects can be profound.

Bottom line:

Treating high testosterone levels is possible but it requires the right approach – treating the underlying cause.

If you are able to properly diagnose and treat the underlying cause you should be able to reduce your symptoms dramatically!

Most causes of High testosterone are due to 1 or more of the following: Insulin resistance, leptin resistance, imbalances in estrogen/progesterone, imbalances in adrenal function, and poor diet/lifestyle. ​

​If you are serious about treating your high testosterone levels make sure you find a Doctor who understands hormone balancing and is willing to do some digging to get to the cause of your problem.

Now it’s your turn:​

Do you have high testosterone levels?

What have you done to treat it?

What has worked for you?

High Testosterone in Women: Causes, Symptoms and What to Do

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High testosterone in women can cause a number of symptoms like excessive body hair, mood changes, acne, and problems with your reproductive system. A hormonal imbalance in your body can mean that testosterone levels in women become abnormally high. Knowing how to lower testosterone if you are showing any of the symptoms can improve your quality of life.

There can be many reasons for some women having too much testosterone. For example, high testosterone in women can be a result of dysfunction with your adrenal glands, thyroid issues, high blood sugar, carrying around too much weight, and lack of exercise. Pregnant women also produce small amounts of testosterone during pregnancy.

In this article, I will look at some of the health issues that can raise testosterone levels in women. You will also find out what you can do to decrease testosterone in females naturally.

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What is Testosterone

Testosterone is one of the androgen hormones and is connected with how male sexual characteristics develop. Doctors from MedicineNet say that testosterone affects body hair, voice, muscle tone and bone mass. For men, high testosterone levels promote good health and protect against cardiovascular diseases. 1

But, you may be asking if testosterone is a male hormone, why would women have high testosterone levels?

Why Do Women Need Testosterone?

The ovaries and adrenal glands produce small quantities of testosterone in women. According to Dr. Jennifer Robinson, who is an expert in the epidemiology of chronic diseases, estrogen together with small levels of testosterone in women are sex hormones that are involved in the growth and repair of reproductive tissues and other body tissues and bone mass. If testosterone levels decrease or rise, this can affect sex drive. 2

For example, during the menopause, levels of estrogen decrease as well as testosterone. Dr. John Randolph from the University of Michigan Medical School says that there are links between hormones and sexual behavior. Levels of testosterone are one of the factors that are connected to feelings of desire and sexual behavior. 3

What are Normal Levels of Testosterone in Women?

Now that we know it’s normal and necessary for women to have small amounts of testosterone hormone, what are normal female testosterone levels?

Hormones are measured in ng/dL – nanograms per deciliter. Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that the normal levels of testosterone in women are as follows: 4

For males over the age of 19, the normal range of testosterone is 240-950 ng/dL.

High Testosterone in Women

For women, high testosterone levels can mean changes in their appearance or body that can cause distressing symptoms.

For example, if girls who are approaching puberty have levels of testosterone above 44 ng/dL, they may take on a more masculine-like appearance.

Adult women who have high testosterone in excess of 60ng/dL may find that they develop symptoms that are common in men. For example, doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that male-pattern baldness, increase in facial hair, cessation of periods, and even infertility can be some of the upsetting issues that high testosterone in women create. 4

Excess sex hormones like testosterone are also referred to as hyperandrogenism.

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Causes of High Levels of Testosterone in Women

What could be some of the potential reasons why you may be showing some of the signs of too much testosterone? Let’s look at what medical research says about abnormally high testosterone levels in women.

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High blood sugar

One common reason why a woman would have higher than normal testosterone is having high blood sugar.

Research into the complications of diabetes has found that insulin resistance can result in an excess of androgen hormones in women.

For example, the journal Diabetes Metabolism Research and Reviews found that high serum testosterone is common in women with type-2 diabetes. The elevated levels of testosterone could also cause other complication that affects fertility like polycystic ovary syndrome. Researchers said that lowering testosterone levels in women affected by hyperandrogenism is necessary to protect against metabolic disorders. 5

It’s important to know the warning signs of diabetes to prevent developing type-2 diabetes. If you already have diabetes, then some of these foods can help to control type-2 diabetes.

Hypothyroidism

Dysfunction of your thyroid gland could be a reason why you are showing signs of too much testosterone like balding, excess body hairs, or acne.

Your thyroid also plays a role in controlling hormones in your body. An underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism, has been linked to symptoms of high testosterone.

Dr. Bernard Kernath in the journal Review of Clinical Signs says that hypothyroidism can disrupt the sex hormone-binding globulin and increase free testosterone levels in women. 6

If you suffer from hypothyroidism, please read my article about natural remedies to boost thyroid function naturally.

Adrenal gland dysfunction

Your adrenal glands produce small amounts of the androgen hormone testosterone, and any dysfunction with them could create imbalances of testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone.

Problems with your adrenal glands or tumors in them can increase the level of androgens that are secreted. The journal Dermato Endocrinology says that high male sex hormones in women can be the result of congenital adrenal hyperplasia, which is a group of genetic disorders that affect the adrenal glands. Some of the symptoms of the increase in androgens in women include a reduced ability to conceive, increase in facial and pubic hair, and acne. 7

Along with showing signs of high testosterone, adrenal gland dysfunction can raise your cortisol levels and cause high blood pressure, digestive problems, or trouble sleeping.

Being overweight

Being overweight or obese could be a reason why you have high testosterone along with high blood sugar levels.

Obesity can affect hormone production in both men and women and make it difficult to lose weight. According to research published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, women who are overweight often show symptoms of elevated testosterone. Hyperandrogenism can cause metabolic syndrome that causes excess fat around the waist, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. 8

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If you need to kick start a diet plan, you can try these 12 simple tweaks for weight loss. Even just walking can help to shed extra pounds and can have a positive impact on your health in general.

Lack of exercise

Having a sedentary lifestyle and not getting enough exercise could cause testosterone levels to rise above normal for women.

The reason that a lack of exercise affects testosterone levels is the impact exercise has on insulin sensitivity. As already noted, blood sugar levels can affect levels of female testosterone. Information published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine reported that exercise is one way to reduce blood sugar levels. 9

Also, regular exercise can have a beneficial role to increase libido and build muscle mass. For example, a study from 2001 showed that upper body fat can cause free testosterone to increase and reduce levels of sex-hormone binding globulin. It was discovered that regular exercising helped to regulate testosterone concentrations. 10

You can try some of these exercises to get a flatter tummy, these plank exercises, or this 10 minute workout to transform your body. You can find many other exercises to target other areas of your body that you can easily do at home, such as these exercises for butt and legs, inner thighs, jiggly arms and chest exercises.

Pregnancy

It’s natural that your body produces higher than usual testosterone levels during pregnancy.

The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology reported that testosterone continues to rise during pregnancy. However, there is a significant rise in testosterone on the 28th week. Doctors think this is something to do with the growing fetus. 11

Symptoms of High Testosterone in Women

How can you tell if you possibly have higher than normal testosterone levels? Let’s look at some of the symptoms that may indicate that you need to lower androgens in your body.

Polycystic ovary syndrome

Multiple cysts on your ovaries are referred to as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and is a common symptom of having too much testosterone.

According to the journal Clinical Medicine & Research, too much testosterone in women is often connected to the ovaries. Ovarian cysts can affect hormone secretion and cause too much testosterone hormone to be produced. Doctors report that high levels of testosterone in women with polycystic ovary syndrome is

Some of the ways to naturally lower testosterone mentioned at the end of this article are useful for treating PCOS naturally.

Weight gain

Weight gain can both be a cause and a symptom why some women have higher testosterone than other women.

Researchers in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that weight gain usually accompanies polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). When testing hormone levels of women suffering from PCOS, doctors found elevated total and free testosterone levels. This results in an accumulation of fat tissue around the belly. 13

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Acne

Many women with excess testosterone frequently suffer from frequent outbreaks of acne and facial pimples.

Although there are many reasons why teenagers and adults get acne, hormonal imbalances are often to blame. In fact, the Journal of Investigative Dermatology reported that acne is a common sign of hyperandrogenism. In fact, in some women, acne may be the only symptom of high testosterone. 14

There are many natural ways to get rid of the visible signs of acne. For example, tea tree oil contains antimicrobial properties that can help to clear your skin of acne-causing bacteria, and is one of the best essential oils to treat acne. You can also try these effective homemade acne face masks.

Of course, if high testosterone is to blame for your acne, you need to balance your hormones to treat the underlying cause.

Hair loss from scalp

Male-pattern baldness in women or thinning hair is one of the most distressing symptoms of hyperandrogenism and high testosterone levels.

The International Journal of Endocrinology Metabolism reported on the connection of hyperandrogenism and female hair loss. It was found that hair loss because of hormonal imbalances often accompanies other symptoms like PCOS, acne, and irregular menstruation. Treatment to lower testosterone is one of the ways to treat female hair loss. 15

Interestingly, because testosterone also stimulates hair growth, some ways of reversing hair loss include implanting testosterone under the skin of the scalp. One study reported that just over 60% of women, who were androgen-deficient and treated with testosterone, increased their hair growth. 16

Excessive body hair

If you have hair growing in places where men’s hair usually grows, like on the face, chest, or back, it could be a sign that you need to decrease testosterone levels. This is a condition called hirsutism.

According to researchers from the University of Maryland, high testosterone levels are to blame for around half of cases of hirsutism. Along with unwanted hair on your breasts, face, and upper lip, you might have other symptoms like an irregular menstrual cycle, enlarged clitoris, or larger shoulder muscles. 17

Mood changes

Hormone levels greatly affect our mood, and having too much testosterone and too little progesterone or estrogen can cause mood swings.

A survey taken among women showing signs of hyperandrogenism found that many reported feelings of frustration, depression, excess anxiety, and aggression. Interestingly, women whose testosterone levels were only slightly elevated reported the most severe mood symptoms. Those women who had normal or extremely high testosterone had less severe symptoms. 18

While taking steps to lower testosterone, you might want to take some steps to reduce your stress and anxiety such as these essential oils that are natural mood enhancers.

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Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

Hormonal imbalances are a major factor causing premenstrual syndrome (PMS) in many women. Researchers have found that many women who show signs of PMS have higher testosterone during the luteal phase, which occurs after ovulation and before the start of your period. They concluded that higher than normal androgen levels cause premenstrual irritability and anxiety disorders. 6

High Testosterone & Pregnancy

A complication of high testosterone level is that it can affect your chances of becoming pregnant. The main reason for this is that high levels of androgens can cause polycystic ovary syndrome.

Doctors from the Mayo Clinic report that some of the signs and symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome are irregular periods, longer periods, excess facial hair, and ovarian cysts. However, high testosterone can cause complications with pregnancy. For example, you could become infertile, have a miscarriage, or give birth prematurely. 19

How Women Can Lower Testosterone Levels Naturally

Let’s look at some of the natural remedies that can help to reduce excess testosterone in women.

Vitex agnus-castus

Vitex agnus-castus (also called chaste tree or chasteberry) can help to treat menstrual irregularities and balance your hormones naturally.

The International Journal of Basic & Clinical Pharmacology reported that studies into vitex agnus castus have shown that it can help reverse hormonal imbalances. Scientists found that agnus castus helps to balance follicle stimulating hormone and testosterone. This was found beneficial in treating the symptoms and causes of polycystic ovary syndrome. 20

You can also use vitex agnus castus if you need to increase progesterone levels.

Chinese licorice

Another natural remedy for reducing testosterone and treating hirsutism or PCOS is Chinese licorice.

The journal Steroids reported that studies into the effect of licorice found it effective in treating hyperandrogenism symptoms. Women were given 3.5 g licorice daily for 2 menstrual cycles. After the second month, serum testosterone levels were significantly reduced. 21

Spearmint tea

Spearmint tea is another home remedy that can help to naturally decrease elevated testosterone levels and treat its symptoms.

Scientists discovered that herbal spearmint tea has anti-androgen effects. In the study, women consumed 2 cups of spearmint tea a day for a month. In almost all of the patients, free testosterone levels were significantly reduced. It was suggested that spearmint tea is a possible natural treatment for hirsutism in polycystic ovary syndrome. 22

Other Ways to Lower Testosterone in Females

There are more conventional ways to lower testosterone in females that many doctors recommend.

Contraceptive pill. One of the most common ways of regulating the menstrual cycle and female sex hormones is by the oral contraceptive pill. PubMed Health reports that “combined oral contraception” (birth control pill) decreases total testosterone and free testosterone. 23

Glucocorticosteroids. Doctors sometimes prescribe glucocorticosteroids to treat hirsutism in women. The Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism reported that glucocorticoid therapy lowers testosterone in women with chronic hirsutism. 24

Metformin. This is a drug to control the symptoms of type 2 diabetes that can also help to decrease testosterone. The International Journal of Health Sciences reported that when using metformin to treat PCOS, there is a marked decline in testosterone. Even though it has some side effects, it can treat the symptoms associated with PCOS like acne, excess hair growth, and excess weight. 25

When to See a Doctor

A simple blood test can check for high levels of testosterone in women. If you have any of the symptoms associated with high testosterone like excess facial hair, menstrual irregularities, difficulty losing weight, or can’t conceive, you should visit your doctor.

Read my related articles:

  • 15 Signs You Have a Hormonal Imbalance
  • Warning Signs of Low Progesterone
  • How to Naturally Increase Low Progesterone Levels
  • 9 Warning Signs of High Progesterone Levels and How to Treat It

Medical Sources

  1. MedicineNet. Testosterone.
  2. WebMD. Normal testosterone and estrogen levels in women.
  3. MedicineNet. Testosterone plays minor role in older women’s sex lives.
  4. MayoClinic. Testosterone, total, bioavailable, and free, serum.
  5. Diabetes Metab Res Rev.2008 Oct;24(7):520-32.
  6. Turner-White. Signs of hyperandrogenism in women.
  7. Dermatoendocrinol. 2009 Mar-Apr; 1(2): 87–91.
  8. Fertil Steril.2006 May;85(5):1319-40.
  9. Int J Sports Med.2000 Jan;21(1):1-12.
  10. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab.2001 Dec;11(4):451-65.
  11. Am J Obstet Gynecol.1980 Jun 1;137(3):293-8.
  12. Clin Med Res. 2004 Feb; 2(1): 13–27.
  13. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2016 Nov; 101(11): 4178–4188.
  14. J Invest Dermatol.1990 Mar;94(3):279-83.
  15. Int J Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Oct; 11(4): e9860.
  16. Br J Dermatol. 2012 Feb; 166(2): 274–278.
  17. UMM. Hirsutism.
  18. Psychosom Med.2004 May-Jun;66(3):356-62.
  19. MayoClinic. Polycystic ovary syndrome.
  20. IJBCP. 2017;6(8).
  21. 2004 Oct-Nov;69(11-12):763-6.
  22. Phytother Res.2010 Feb;24(2):186-8.
  23. NCBI. Effect of combined oral contraception on testosterone levels in healthy women.
  24. J Clin Endocrinol Metab.1984 Oct;59(4):780-4.
  25. Int J Health Sci (Qassim). 2007 Jan; 1(1): 75–80.

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High Testosterone in Women: Causes, Symptoms and What to Do was last modified: February 1st, 2018 by Jenny Hills, Nutritionist and Medical Writer

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Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for his studies of ageing, genetics and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics NAS of Ukraine. His scientific researches are printed by the most reputable international magazines. Some of his works are: Differences in the gut Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio across age groups in healthy Ukrainian population [BiomedCentral.com]; Mating status affects Drosophila lifespan, metabolism and antioxidant system [Science Direct]; Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum Increases Lifespan, Stress Resistance, and Metabolism by Affecting Free Radical Processes in Drosophila [Frontiersin].
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