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Why Would a Woman Have High Testosterone? A Closer Look

Julian Carter
Published

LAST UPDATED:

Why Would a Woman Have High Testosterone

Testosterone is not only a male hormone but is also produced in small amounts in women’s ovaries.

Normal testosterone levels in women range from 15–70 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL).

However, sometimes, the level of testosterone in women rises beyond the optimal range.

High testosterone levels in women can affect their physical appearance as well as sexual health.

But the question is: Why would a woman have high testosterone?

Certain medical conditions cause a rise in the testosterone levels in women.

This article will explore the causes and treatment options for high testosterone in women.

Why would a woman have high testosterone

High testosterone levels in women can have several contributing factors, and their effects can be just as severe as low testosterone levels.

Acne, low libido or sexual desire, and increased hair growth are the most common symptoms of high testosterone in women.

Several underlying health issues can lead to high testosterone in women, also known as Hyperandrogenism.

These include Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH), Diabetes, thyroid problems, and Cushing Syndrome.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is an endocrine health issue and a major cause of high testosterone in females.

In addition to affecting 6–12% of American women, this condition can also cause testosterone levels to rise significantly. 

This, in turn, leads to a range of symptoms, such as acne, excessive facial hair growth, and infertility.

The exact cause of PCOS is not identified yet, but experts believe that genetics and lifestyle factors may lead to it.

Suggestion:
If you suspect you may be exhibiting high testosterone, consult your doctor to identify the root cause and begin the effective treatment option.

Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH)

Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia is another cause of high testosterone levels in women.

It is a group of hereditary health issues that affect your adrenal glands.

These glands are responsible for synthesizing hormones that control your metabolism, immune system, and more. 

Any damage to these glands disrupts your body’s hormonal balance, leading to increased testosterone production.

This, in turn, leads to symptoms such as excessive facial and body hair, acne, and an irregular menstrual cycle.

High testosterone can sometimes be beneficial. Read our article: High Testosterone Benefits: Unlocking the Potential of Testosterone to discover the benefits of high testosterone.

Diabetes

doctor testing blood sugar levelSource: Dean_Drobot
Doctor testing blood sugar level

High blood sugar levels could also be a culprit behind your high testosterone levels.

It has been found that premenopausal women with Type 1 Diabetes are more prone to have higher testosterone levels.

When the level of insulin increases in response to the increased blood sugar levels, it stimulates your ovaries to produce more testosterone.

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  • Thyroid problems

    Hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid condition) and testosterone levels are found to be closely related.

    An article published by ResearchGate states that high testosterone levels have been reported in hypothyroid postmenopausal women with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

    Hypothyroidism can suppress the synthesis of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG).

    SHBG is a glycoprotein that attaches to sex hormones in your blood, thus aiding in keeping a balance between those hormones.

    Low SHBG can boost the production of testosterone, resulting in symptoms like irregular menstrual cycle.

    Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease where your immune system attacks your thyroid gland.

    Cushing Syndrome

    It is a disorder that occurs when your body consistently produces excess cortisol hormone.

    In adrenal glands, the same set of reactions produce both testosterone and cortisol.

    So, it may be a possibility that testosterone is also produced, along with increased levels of cortisol.

    According to a study published by the Oxford Academic, 8 women with Cushing Syndrome were found to have high testosterone levels.

    Warning:
    High testosterone levels can lead to infertility. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you are experiencing high testosterone symptoms.

    Diagnosing high testosterone in females

    Diagnosis of high testosterone levels in women mostly includes blood testing.

    Your doctor may perform a physical examination to confirm whether your testosterone levels are high or not.

    During the physical examination, your doctor will diagnose your symptoms that may indicate high testosterone levels, including body and facial hair growth, acne, and body weight.

    Your doctor may also ask you some questions about your sexual health, such as libido and menstrual cycle.

    If your healthcare provider identifies symptoms of  PCOS, they may advise an ultrasound of your pelvic region to check for any abnormalities in your ovaries and uterus.

    Treating high testosterone in women

    multiple medicinesSource: Billion_photos
    Multiple medicines

    Most of the time, treating underlying health conditions can restore the normal levels of the hormone.

    However, based on the diagnosis, the doctor may recommend certain medications and lifestyle changes to restore your testosterone levels to normal.

    Medications, including Spironolactone and oral contraceptives, can aid in treating high testosterone levels in women.

    Oral contraceptives treat elevated testosterone by reducing androgens and raising estrogen and progesterone levels. 

    The best oral contraceptive pills for high testosterone and Hirsutism include low doses of Norgestimate, Desogestrel, and Gestodene.

    If you’re attempting to get pregnant, oral contraceptives might not be the best option.

    So, let your doctor know about your pregnancy plans so they can recommend the best course of action.

    Spironolactone, also referred to as a “water pill,” is an anti-androgen that lowers testosterone production.

    Besides medications, people with high testosterone levels can significantly enhance their quality of life by making certain lifestyle modifications.

    Keeping a healthy weight may help overcome the symptoms of hormone imbalance.

    Recommended Article
    Apart from medications and lifestyle changes, certain foods can help lower testosterone levels naturally. Read our article: 6 Foods That Lower Testosterone: What to Watch Out For to know more.

    Conclusion

     Many women with high testosterone end up searching on the internet- ”Why would a woman have high testosterone?”

    Several health problems can lead to high testosterone levels in women.

    These include thyroid issues, Diabetes, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH), and Cushing Syndrome.

    High testosterone levels in women come with several physical and sexual health problems, including acne, excessive facial hair growth, reduced sex drive, and
    infertility.

    However, these symptoms can be overcome with proper diagnosis and treatment methods.

    Lifestyle changes and medications like Spironolactone and oral contraceptives are often recommended to overcome symptoms of high testosterone in females. 

    It is highly recommended to consult a doctor before opting for any treatment regime.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What causes high testosterone levels in females?

    In females, high testosterone levels could result from certain health problems.
    These include thyroid issues, Diabetes, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH), and Cushing Syndrome.

    Is excessive testosterone beneficial to females?

    No, higher testosterone levels can make females more prone to acne, excessive body hair, irregular menstrual cycle, and infertility.

    Can a female with high testosterone conceive a child?

    High levels of testosterone might make getting pregnant possible but challenging.
    High testosterone levels in females are mostly caused by a disorder known as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), which affects a woman’s menstrual cycle and her ability to get pregnant.

    What does a woman’s high testosterone level mean?

    Some women with high testosterone levels may experience acne, increased hair growth, clitoris enlargement, muscular mass, and voice deepening.
    Additionally, high testosterone levels might cause infertility.

    Does PCOS cause high testosterone?

    Yes. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common cause of high testosterone levels in women.
    It can lead to several symptoms like acne, excessive facial hair growth, and infertility.

    Citations:
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