When you hear the word “testosterone”, you most likely think of a man. And you’d be right. Testosterone is most often thought of as a “male” hormone.
However, you may be surprised to know that testosterone isn’t exclusive to men. Women also have testosterone, and how much testosterone you have can directly affect your health and wellbeing.
Testosterone deficiency in women can be a cause for concern, and women should be aware of the signs and symptoms.
So, what should you look out for? How do you know if you have enough testosterone? We’ve put together these 10 tips and foods high in testosterone to answer your questions and help protect your overall health.
What Is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a type of male sex hormone, also known as an androgen, that improves bone and muscle heath, blood cell production, and your sex drive.
Testosterone is a hormone produced naturally in our bodies. For men, testosterone is produced in the testicles. For women, it’s produced in our ovaries, but the amount is much smaller.
The amount of testosterone our body produces begins to increase when we hit puberty and begins to decrease sometime after we turn 30 years old. For women specifically, by the age of 40, our levels of androgens decrease by half.
Why is Testosterone Important for Women?
So why do women need testosterone? Maintaining the right levels of testosterone is a key component in how our bodies function.
Testosterone is produced in three areas in women – our adrenal glands, our ovaries, and our peripheral tissues.
The most important role testosterone plays in a woman’s body is in the proper functioning of our ovaries. Testosterone influences the follicle-stimulating hormones in the ovaries that directly impacts reproduction.
It is also important for maintaining our bone strength. As we age, we are prone to bone loss and breakage. Without enough testosterone, you could be at greater risk of developing osteoporosis.
Testosterone can also help increase muscle mass, decrease vaginal atrophy, support cardiovascular health, and decrease body fat in post-menopausal women.
It’s believed that testosterone can have a direct effect on our overall sexual behavior. It’s also thought that lower levels can impact our libido, leading to a decreased desire for sexual activity.
9 Testosterone Deficiency Symptoms in Women
Women have specific symptoms they need to look for that can indicate a testosterone deficiency. Here are the 9 symptoms you should look out for:
- Muscle weakness
- Decreased sexual desire
- Decreased sexual satisfaction
- Reduced bone strength
- Poor concentration
- Thinning hair
- Dry skin
You also want to look out for symptoms of too much testosterone. Watch for symptoms such as fluid retention, acne, facial hair, and masculine physical characteristics.
6 Testosterone Deficiency Causes in Women
The causes of testosterone deficiency in women are quite different from those in men. For most women experiencing a testosterone deficiency, it’s most likely due to one or more of the following causes:
- Removal of the ovaries – Also known as an oophorectomy, the removal of the ovaries directly impacts a woman’s testosterone levels.
- Estrogen therapy – Women who are taking oral estrogen therapy can experience a decrease in their testosterone production.
- Early menopause – For women who are entering menopause earlier than normal, testosterone deficiency is quite common.
- Adrenal insufficiency – When your adrenal glands aren’t working properly, they stop producing adequate amounts of hormones your body needs, testosterone being one of them.
- Hypopituitarism – Caused by an underactive pituitary gland, this condition causes a drop in hormone levels, including testosterone.
- Birth control – Women who use birth control such as contraceptive patches and pills long term may experience a drop in testosterone levels.
3 Testosterone Deficiency Treatment Options for Women
Doctors are constantly researching the effects of testosterone on women’s bodies. New treatment options are being studied to find the best solution for testosterone deficiency in women. At this time, the following 3 treatment options can offer help for women who are experiencing symptoms.
- Medication – Doctors may prescribe a medication such as Estratest which contains both estrogen and a synthetic testosterone. Since the testosterone is synthetic, it may not be the most effective option for treating low levels of testosterone.
- Injections & Topical Treatments – To help boost testosterone levels, doctors may prescribe an injection or a topical treatment. Topical treatments include gel or patches applied directly to the skin.
- DHEA – A DHEA supplement is a common over-the-counter treatment for low testosterone in women. DHEA is a naturally occurring compound that helps your body produce testosterone, so taking it can help increase testosterone levels.
7 Foods High in Testosterone
If you’re looking for an easy way to maintain healthy levels of testosterone in your body, consider adding one of these 7 foods high in testosterone:
- Eggs – Eggs are not only tasty, but there are also plenty of ways to cook them, making them a no-brainer for boosting your testosterone. They are rich in both Vitamin D and selenium. Selenium has been linked to the production of testosterone in animals and is believed to work the same way in both men and women.
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil – This tasty oil is known for its anti-aging properties, and aging is one of the causes for lower testosterone levels. The healthy fats in extra-virgin olive oil will help you achieve greater overall health. Look for a single-source oil to ensure it’s in its purest form. Drizzle it over salads, pasta, or fresh-cooked fish.
- Leafy Green Vegetables – Whether you choose broccoli, kale, or spinach, leafy green vegetables are excellent for increasing testosterone. They are also full of vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin D and magnesium. Magnesium can help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, which are both known to cause low testosterone levels.
- Fatty Fish – Fatty fish is a great choice for improving your testosterone levels because it’s high in both Vitamin D and Omega 3’s. Those Omega 3’s are the reason fatty fish are so effective. They reduce cortisol levels, resulting in lower stress. Stress is a deterrent for testosterone production. Choose from fatty fish such as herring, salmon, tuna, trout, or sardines. If you don’t like the taste of fish, you can get the same benefits by taking an Omega 3 supplement.
- Ginger – Ginger is a super root that has plenty of health benefits, including boosting your testosterone levels. Whether you choose a supplement, or you eat it raw or cooked, ginger is rich in antioxidants and promotes anti-aging. It’s a great choice if you want to raise your testosterone levels in a short amount of time.
- Berries, Cherries, & Pomegranates – High in antioxidants, these delicious fruits are a perfect choice for increasing testosterone. Antioxidants not only boost your immune system, but they also contain flavonoid antioxidants, which help to speed up the formation of testosterone and protect the cells that produce it.
- Cocoa Products – Both cocoa powder and cocoa nibs contain high levels of flavonoid antioxidants and magnesium, which help boost testosterone production. Flavonoids can help reduce inflammation in your body and contain powerful antioxidants. To get the greatest benefits, choose cocoa products that are low in sugar or contain no added sugar at all.
We know that testosterone deficiency can cause a wide range of symptoms and affect your overall health.
However, when you know what to look out for, and add testosterone-rich foods to your diet, you can help ensure that your testosterone levels are where they should be.