Hear the words low testosterone (or “low T”) and you probably think “men’s health.”
But women actually need small amounts of testosterone too. It’s all part of the mix of hormones that keep mood, energy levels, sex drive, and bodily functions working smoothly.
First, some background: After puberty, a woman begins to produce an adult level of testosterone.
The production is split between the ovaries and the adrenal glands. In men, the testes produce testosterone. Women produce just a fraction of the amount each day that men do. But regardless of the amount, testosterone plays an active role in a woman’s health.
Generally, women who have lower levels of testosterone are those who:
- Had their ovaries removed
- Are post-menopausal women
- Have lost pituitary gland function.
They often go to their doctor with concerns such as, I do not feel like the same person, I am not as strong, I do not have as much energy and I do not have the same sex drive.
According to Dr. Daniel Tran of Galen Healthcare in Greer, SC, healthy testosterone levels help women:
- Keeps bones healthy
- Manages pain levels
- Preserves cognitive health
“Although low testosterone levels are not an immediate health risk, they can be very beneficial to one’s health,” Tran says.
Testosterone has the potential to strengthen bones and improve muscle mass. When asked if an older woman with osteoporosis has low testosterone, could replacement help prevent a hip fracture? It is possible says Dr. Tran, in fact she might be able to prevent the fall in the first place if her muscle mass had been better.
What Level Is the Right Level?
“That’s a good question. There’s no set answer. Dosing is very individualized and should be approached in a slow and methodical way,” he says.
He adds, “I tell my patients there’s no silver bullet. What works for one, may not work for another. That’s why together, we must carefully evaluate all options through the lens of the patient’s individual needs.”
Tran warns, don’t fall for over-the-counter testosterone marketing and dose yourself; the side effects can be worse than the problems you’re trying to solve.
In the end, if you’re wondering whether the blue mood, lack of energy, and lack of desire is related to low T, talk with your doctor first before trying a home or over-the-counter remedy.
IdealMD would like to thank Dr. Daniel Tran of Galen Healthcare for his help on this blog. His Hormone Therapy programs provide you with true one-on-one care to help you live a healthier and more active life. His membership-based primary care health programs benefit both men and women. For more information about Dr. Tran and his unique approach to care call 864-603-6995