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Can Women Have Testosterone?
Updated on January 31, 2024
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Can Women Have Testosterone?

Yes, women have testosterone.

Testosterone is a hormone mostly associated with males as it's the primary male sex hormone. However, testosterone in women is normal. They need it for their bodies to function properly and develop.

It plays a role in the female body and affects:

  • Ovarian function
  • Libido
  • Bone strength
  • Mood
  • Cognitive function

Does Everyone Have Testosterone?

Everyone has testosterone. The hormone plays an important role in development during puberty.

Testosterone is responsible for body changes during puberty. Both boys and girls experience a surge of testosterone during adolescence. This lasts into young adulthood.

It supports secondary female sex characteristics development. These include breast development and vocal changes.

Female bodies do not respond to testosterone the same way male bodies do. In most cases, their testosterone is converted to estrogen.

However, if the testosterone isn't converted, females might develop male characteristics. A great example is developing more pronounced facial or body hair.

Male and female bodies continue to produce testosterone as they age. In both cases, the production decreases as they age.

The Role of Testosterone in Women

Testosterone isn't only found in men. While there is a much smaller amount of testosterone in women, it's still key to developing women's bodies and shaping much of their reproductive nature.

Healthy levels of testosterone play a role in:

  • Development of sex organs
  • Bone and muscle strength
  • Sex drive
  • Growth and appearance of hair (even facial hair)

However, testosterone levels tend to fluctuate throughout a person’s life.

This is why routinely checking testosterone levels is important. You need to know if your hormones are balanced or not and if they're causing any undesirable side effects.

This is especially true for women. Because women have so little testosterone in their bodies to begin with compared to men, keeping it at a healthy, manageable level is important.

Men with low testosterone lack many of the standard male characteristics. Women with too much testosterone develop male characteristics.

Can Women Have Testosterone? 2

How are Testosterone Levels Different in Men and Women?

Male and female bodies produce different amounts of testosterone. Women’s bodies make a fraction of the testosterone found in male bodies.

Compared to the 300 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) that men have, women have 9 to 55 ng/dL.

There is also a difference in where testosterone is produced. In men, testosterone is produced in the testes. In women, it's in the ovaries, adrenal glands, and skin and fat cells.

Does Testosterone Affect Women’s Bodies Differently than It Does Men’s?

Not necessarily. It's the levels of testosterone that affect men and women differently.

Testosterone is produced in different parts of the body, but it does similar things for both sexes and aids in bodily development, libido, and even muscle strength. Testosterone provides a variety of benefits for men and women.

In both sexes, hormonal balance is an indication of good health. When testosterone levels are too high in men, it’s rarely a problem. However, if a woman were to have testosterone levels that were too high, it could impact her negatively.

Women with elevated testosterone levels develop are at risk of:

  • Acne (excessive)
  • Developing facial hair
  • Having traditionally male characteristics
  • Balding
  • Deepened voice
  • Potential infertility

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) often have high testosterone levels.

Imbalanced testosterone levels can even affect women mentally, as PCOS and other related conditions also affect mental health.

What Happens When Women Have Too Much Or Too Little Testosterone?

Like men, some women have more testosterone than others. And like men, some choose to supplement testosterone if they don’t have enough.

It's important for women to balance their hormone levels and observe if their bodies have too much or too little testosterone because there can be downsides to both extremes.

Outside of normal testosterone levels, women can develop many conditions, like:

  • Hair loss
  • Significant increase or decrease in muscle mass
  • Infertility
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Low sex drive
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Body hair growth
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia

This is why it's important to keep your hormone levels in check, both for estrogen and testosterone.

Benefits of Testosterone for Women (and the Side Effects)

Testosterone is important in women’s bodies because it supports:

  • Breast health
  • Bone health
  • Sex drive
  • Fertility
  • Vaginal health
  • Menstrual health

As for the benefits of high testosterone in females, it depends.

"High" can mean anything above 9 to 55 ng/dL, but it also varies from woman to woman. Some athletes, for example, may need or even naturally adjust to higher testosterone levels as it can help them build muscle tone faster and make them stronger.

Remember, however, that too much testosterone in women can lead to side effects like polycystic ovary syndrome, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, infertility, or impacted reproductive health in general.

What Happens if a Woman’s Body Doesn’t Produce Enough Testosterone?

Unbalanced hormones harm health. However, testosterone replacement therapy can help keep your testosterone levels normal and balanced.

What are the Benefits of Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT)?

TRT has several benefits. These include:

Improved Heart Health

Testosterone plays a role in heart health. Low testosterone increases the risk of heart health issues.

Studies show that TRT boosts healthy red blood cell production. It also reduces the risk of stroke and heart disease.

However, these benefits mostly apply to men. Further studies are needed to prove that these also apply to women.

Reduced Risk of Obesity

Testosterone is linked to increased muscle mass in both women and men. Having more lean muscle mass makes controlling your weight easier.

Furthermore, it increases energy levels. Testosterone replacement therapy ensures a strong and healthy body.

Improved Bone Strength

Low testosterone levels increase a person’s risk of osteoporosis. Testosterone replacement therapy improves bone mineral density. This is evident in the spine and hips.

Those transitioning from female to male show improved bone density with TRT.

Cognitive Improvement

Men with healthy testosterone levels have a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Testosterone is also linked to:

  • Spatial memory
  • Verbal memory
  • Processing speed

So far, this benefit applies to men. Researchers speculate it likely affects women in the same way.

Boosted Libido

It promotes sexual arousal and activity. This is one of the greatest benefits of TRT.

It boosts female libido. It does the same for men, too.

Improved Mood

Women and men with insufficient testosterone experience:

  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Depression

Supplementing testosterone:

  • Improves mood
  • Boosts energy
  • Promotes feelings of well-being

If you’re feeling off, it might be due to low testosterone levels. Creating balance can impact your quality of life.

Risks of Testosterone Replacement Therapy

Testosterone replacement therapy is a medical treatment. Like all medical treatments, it poses risks. It’s important to discuss your concerns with your doctor. Consider how supplementing testosterone will affect you.

In some cases, this is a treatment that might not be an option for you. This is true if you have issues with blood clotting.

Other general risks linked with testosterone replacement therapy include:

  • Increased urine output
  • Increased acne
  • Fluid retention
  • Mood swings
  • Increase in aggression

Speak to your doctor if:

  • You’re concerned about your testosterone levels
  • You want to learn more about boosting testosterone for better health
Updated on January 31, 2024
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3 sources cited
Updated on January 31, 2024
  1. Harvard Health Publishing. “Testosterone — What It Does and Doesn’t Do - Harvard Health.” Harvard Health, Harvard Health, 29 Aug. 2019, www.health.harvard.edu/drugs-and-medications/testosterone--what-it-does-and-doesnt-do.

  2. “Study Identifies Effective Testosterone Dose for Women.” Harvard Health, 16 Oct. 2014, www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/study-identifies-effective-testosterone-dose-for-women.

  3. “Testosterone Therapy in Women: Does It Boost Sex Drive?” Mayo Clinic, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menopause/expert-answers/testosterone-therapy/faq-20057935.

Kelly Brown
Kelly Brown
Content Contributor
Kelly has experience working with clients in a variety of industries, including legal, medical, marketing, and travel. Her goal is to share important information that people can use to make decisions about their health and the health of their loved ones. From choosing the best treatment programs to improving dental and vision health to finding the best method for helping anyone who is struggling with health issues, she hopes to share what she learns through informative content.
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