Testosterone, widely known as the male sex hormone, has a significant impact on men’s overall health, and in more cases than you think, women’s as well. Individuals with low or declining levels of testosterone may consult a hormone specialist to consider Testosterone Replacement Therapy as a treatment.
What is testosterone?
Testosterone is a hormone predominantly produced in the male testes, and in smaller amounts, the female ovaries. In men, it is responsible for developing sex organs, bone density, and muscle mass. In women, testosterone works with estrogen and affects their sex drive, red blood production, muscle mass, and fat distribution.
Production of testosterone peaks in adolescence and early adulthood. Though, it naturally declines as the body ages. Signs of declining testosterone levels can include:
- Changes in sexual function
- Physical changes
- Emotional Changes
It’s important to note in an otherwise healthy person, declining testosterone levels is a natural symptom of aging and not necessarily a cause to seek Testosterone Replacement Therapy. However, TRT is diagnosed on a case-by-case basis. Only a medical professional may determine if it’s the right route to take for the individual.
What is Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
As mentioned, testosterone replacement therapy is a type of hormone replacement therapy used as a treatment for low testosterone levels. In men, normal levels range from 350 ng/dL and 1,000 ng/dL. Normal levels in women generally range between 15ng/dL to 70ng/dL. Some hormone replacement specialists, including Dr. Rand McClain of Regenerative & Sports Medicine, advocate for higher levels in women, recommending their testosterone levels should be about 10-20% of optimal T levels in men.
There are multiple methods of treatment such as gels, creams, patches, or pills, but the main ones used at our clinic are injectable shots or creams. The method is generally chosen by preference of the patient, but is also tied to safety risks.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy for Women
Because testosterone is mainly known as the male sex hormone, many are unaware that it can also play a crucial role in women’s health. There has been a recent push in awareness of TRT as an option for women as well as men. Because of this, it’s important to be well-informed on the benefits and risks of both.
Signs of low testosterone in women can include:
- loss of sexual interest
- lowered motivation
- weight gain
Women should consult their medical professional if they are experiencing these symptoms. Many medications, including some birth control pills, have been known to lower testosterone levels. While there are also other conditions that could display similar symptoms, a simple blood test will determine if the cause is low testosterone levels. The patient can then be approved as an eligible candidate for TRT. What is low testosterone for women? As mentioned, anything below the 15ng/dL to 70ng/dL range.
Testosterone replacement therapy might be especially appropriate in patients that:
- have reduced sex drive, depression and fatigue after surgically induced menopause, and estrogen therapy hasn’t relieved symptoms
- are postmenopausal, taking estrogen therapy and have a decreased sex drive with no other identifiable causes
Because TRT for women is such an unknown subject to the general public, there are many considerations women must take as well as myths to combat when determining their best option. For example, women should not undergo TRT if they are trying to get pregnant, as the treatment has been shown to have adverse effects on developing fetuses.
For some women, there is also hesitation to consider TRT as a viable option due to largely debunked beliefs that it will cause their voice to lower or hair to grow in unwanted areas. In other words, they are afraid it will make them look more “manly.” Side effects of testosterone therapy for women are case-by-case and women should consult their doctor about these concerns to determine if they are prone.
Overall, while there is limited research in Testosterone Replacement Therapy in women, the long-term benefits of testosterone therapy for women have shown promise. Supplementing low testosterone levels with hormone replacement therapy has improved some women’s quality of life, including their mental, physical, and sexual health. Testosterone for women’s libido can be just as important as it is for men.
The team at Regenerative & Sports Medicine offers a quick and easy way to diagnose and treat low testosterone. After a consultation and blood test individual treatment options can be discussed.