8 myths about testosterone in women that it's time to stop believing

Most of the research on testosterone levels and its impact on health is done on men. If women are involved in the experiment, most likely, we are talking about an attempt to increase their libido.

This imbalance can be explained by the fact that men have significantly more testosterone. At the same time, this steroid hormone is essential for the health and well-being of women, and many claims about its harm to the body are fiction and are not supported by scientific data.

Below, we’ll break down eight common myths that keep women from thinking about boosting testosterone.

Myth 1. Testosterone is a purely male hormone.

Despite the fact that women have significantly less testosterone than men, it is still the most abundant active steroid hormone. In healthy representatives of this sex before menopause , it is 15–20 times higher than the amount of estradiol, a hormone from the estrogen group, which is called “female”.

The amount of testosterone and estradiol in women throughout life

In addition, both sexes have the same number of androgen precursors. These are steroid hormones from which testosterone can be formed, and the genes for their receptors are contained on the X chromosome.

So do not consider testosterone as purely male, as well as estrogen – only female. Both sexes have receptors that are sensitive to both steroid hormones.

Myth 2. Women need testosterone only to increase libido.

Despite the many scientific papers on the effect of testosterone on sexual desire, the role of this hormone in the female body is much wider.

Androgen receptors are located in the tissues of the cardiovascular system and gastrointestinal tract, brain and spinal cord, bladder, ovaries, endocrine glands, skin, bones, muscles and fat.

Age-related decline in testosterone and other androgens occurs in both sexes and can cause the following symptoms:

  • mood disorders (anxiety, irritability, depression);
  • physical fatigue;
  • loss of bone and muscle mass;
  • decrease in cognitive functions;
  • insomnia;
  • rheumatoid arthritis ;
  • chest pain;
  • difficulty urinating;
  • sexual dysfunction.

All of the above occur in postmenopausal women and are treated with testosterone therapy.

Thus, this androgen is necessary not only for normal libido, but also for the physical and mental health and well-being of a woman throughout her life.

Myth 3. Testosterone makes women look like men.

Therapy using synthetic testosterone can indeed provide hair growth on the face, arms and chest, as well as slightly enlarge the clitoris .

The effect of the hormone depends on its amount, and unwanted manifestations can be removed by lowering the dosage. But since this will also reduce the health benefits, many women prefer to treat the side effects rather than reduce the dose.

At the same time, an increase in the production of one’s own testosterone without injections does not affect the female and male features at all.

Myth 4. Testosterone makes the voice hoarse.

There is no evidence that testosterone will make you talk hoarsely. Moreover, there is not even a physiological mechanism that could be responsible for this.

But a deficiency of this androgen can cause hoarseness in the voice, since testosterone provides an anti-inflammatory effect, and its deficiency can increase the risk of infections.

There are several reports in the scientific literature based on questionnaires in which people claim a change in voice from 400-800 mg / dl of danazol, an androgenic drug.

But a study that measured participants’ performance found no significant changes after 3 and 6 months of taking danazol at a dosage of 600 mg per day.

Myth 5. Testosterone causes hair loss.

Some women with PCOS and insulin insensitivity have higher testosterone levels and lose hair, but this does not prove a link between the two. Baldness in general is characteristic of people with impaired glucose metabolism, and this does not depend on gender.

Obesity and insulin resistance increase the activity of the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, which increases the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone in hair follicles. It is the latter that is considered the main hormone responsible for baldness.

In addition, obesity, age, alcohol consumption, and a sedentary lifestyle decrease testosterone levels and increase estradiol levels. These hormonal changes can lead to hair loss in genetically predisposed men and women. Stress and nutritional deficiencies can be additional factors.

Moreover, in one experiment, it was found that testosterone-delivering subcutaneous implants restored hair growth in women. At least in those who do not suffer from excess weight, hypo- and hyperthyroidism or iron deficiency.

At the same time, none of the 285 patients treated with testosterone for 56 months reported hair loss .

Myth 6: Testosterone is bad for the heart.

Since men are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease (CVD), it is believed that androgens are involved in this.

At the same time, there is evidence that testosterone, on the contrary, protects the heart: it helps build lean muscle mass, has a beneficial effect on glucose metabolism and lipid profile, and dilates blood vessels.

In addition, one study found that testosterone supplementation improved fitness, insulin sensitivity, and muscle strength in women with congestive heart failure.

Myth 7. Testosterone increases aggressiveness.

Testosterone replacement therapy and even intramuscular administration of large doses of this hormone do not make people aggressive and angry.

At the same time, there is evidence that aggression and hostility are associated with the production of estrogens. Since testosterone can be converted to estradiol, its involvement cannot be denied. At the same time, steroid hormones from the estrogen class can increase aggression without it, for example, under the influence of social factors.

One study noted that in women with androgen deficiency, subcutaneous testosterone implant therapy helped reduce aggression, irritability, and anxiety by 90%.

Myth 8. Testosterone increases the risk of breast cancer.

Studies in primates and humans have shown that testosterone has a positive effect, reducing cell proliferation and protecting breast tissue from excessive estrogen stimulation.

Scientists note that the balance between “male” and “female” hormones is more important than their quantity. This may be why testosterone reduces the risk of breast cancer in women who are on estrogen therapy.

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