In the female body, as in the male, a certain amount of testosterone is produced. Male sex hormone is present in small doses and does not have a significant effect on the female reproductive system. But its excess is fraught with some disorders that manifest themselves externally and may affect reproductive function.
Normal testosterone production in women
First of all, it’s worth finding out where the testosterone dough comes from in the female body. In itself, the presence of male sex hormone does not mean an excess of testosterone in women. The normal content of leadership hormone in the blood of a woman depends on age, and its production fluctuates during the day. The greatest number is observed in women 20-40 years old in the morning.
In women, testosterone is produced in the ovaries and adrenal cortex. In the blood it circulates in two forms – free (in adult women about 2%) and associated with blood proteins. In laboratory diagnostics, both these parameters are determined separately and the level of total testosterone. Their comparison makes it possible to make a diagnosis when it comes to pathology.
The amount of testosterone in the blood depends on the age of the woman. It is lowest in girls before puberty, then in puberty, its production increases, and after puberty it decreases again, but only slightly. Testosterone levels in adult women can vary depending on the phase of the menstrual cycle. During pregnancy, it gradually grows, and before giving birth it can be 2-3 times higher than the norm for a non-pregnant woman. After the onset of menopause, testosterone production decreases again, but remains higher than it was before puberty.
Normal testosterone production in women
During the day, the highest concentration of male sex hormone is observed in the morning, then slowly decreases during the day and reaches a minimum in the evening. The same pattern is maintained in any phase of the monthly cycle and during pregnancy.
Testosterone in the female body performs a number of functions. First of all, it is necessary for the formation of muscle and bone tissue, as well as blood formation. These functions are very important in childhood, without them the healthy physical development of the girl is impossible. Also, this hormone increases the amount of sugar in the blood, enhances the work of the sebaceous glands, contributes to the elasticity of the skin. Oddly enough, but in the female body, testosterone is responsible for the formation of libido – it is his normal level that provides a healthy sexual desire.
Separately, it is worth mentioning the effect of testosterone on the female reproductive system. This hormone stimulates follicle maturation and the onset of ovulation, and during pregnancy it is additionally produced by the placenta – testosterone maintains its normal course. It is he who is responsible for the positive emotions of a woman during pregnancy.
Reasons to increase testosterone
Increased testosterone in women can be caused by physiological and pathological causes. The physiological includes puberty, pregnancy, an active lifestyle. This is not counting the monthly fluctuations in hormonal levels. In all these cases, an increase in testosterone is the norm, and is important, as mentioned above.
A high level of testosterone in professional athletes, as well as women engaged in active physical work or paying a lot of attention to their physical form, is considered normal. This is an adaptive response that allows a woman to cope with great physical exertion.
Taking steroid drugs helps to increase muscle mass, improves its nutrition, but can also give a side effect in the form of increased testosterone production. True, this requires a very long hormone therapy.
The pathological causes of testosterone increase are much more dangerous for health:
- Adrenal or ovarian tumor
- Polycystic ovary
- Itsenko-Cushing disease
- Adrenogenital syndrome
In each of these conditions, not only testosterone levels increase, but also other hormones.
One of the early signs of an excess of testosterone in women are skin problems. It becomes oily, acne and acne appear, often they are prone to inflammation. It is extremely difficult to treat skin diseases with the usual means, the rash reappears. Another characteristic skin sign is striae (stretch marks). All this gives the skin a very neglected look.
A woman’s behavior changes – she becomes nervous, irritable, aggressive, hypersexual. In severe cases, the patient is very difficult to control their behavior, and she may behave inadequately. Sleep problems – insomnia, frequent waking at night, nightmares.
Visible changes in appearance – disturbed hair growth and fat deposition processes. The woman begins to actively grow hair on her legs and arms, hairs on her face become noticeable, antennae appear, which can occupy a rather large area and present a serious aesthetic problem. The deposition of fat begins on the male type – increases the abdomen and thighs.
There are other unpleasant signs – a rough voice, increased sweat and the appearance of a strong odor. At the same time, the external genital organs change and deform – the clitoris increases and becomes similar to the scrotum. In a woman, the menstrual cycle is disturbed – menstruation becomes irregular, painful, their profusion changes. With a long course of the disease, the periods may stop completely.
Excess Testosterone and Pregnancy
Excess Testosterone and Pregnancy
The process of ovulation with increased testosterone is disturbed, more and more cycles become anovulatory,
With a long and severe course of the disease, most menstrual cycles or even all can become anovulatory.
If ovulation and conception nevertheless occurred, then new difficulties arise. The level of progesterone – the hormone of the second phase of the cycle, which is responsible for the implantation of the ovum and the formation of the placenta – is usually reduced, so the pregnancy can be interrupted without even starting. The combination of the above factors makes pregnancy with an excess of testosterone almost impossible.
In cases where the level of the male hormone is slightly elevated, pregnancy nevertheless occurs, but the woman has a rather high risk of miscarriage in the early stages or non-developing pregnancy. The degree of risk may vary depending on how intensely the mother’s placenta affects the hormones of the mother, because she also synthesizes testosterone. If a woman’s hormonal hormone disorder is insignificant, then by the second trimester of pregnancy her hormonal background may become normal. If this does not happen, then the risk of premature termination remains until the end of pregnancy.
Can a woman suffering from an excess of testosterone give birth to a healthy baby? Most often, if she was able to conceive and bear him, then the violations are minor, and the child will be born healthy. In more severe cases, the probability of giving birth to a healthy baby depends on the course of the pregnancy. Part of the violations are hereditary.
To prevent various pathologies of pregnancy, before planning it you need to be tested for hormones, including testosterone. If its excess is revealed, it is necessary to reduce the content of the male sex hormone.
The main way to diagnose elevated testosterone is a blood test for the male sex hormone. Three main indicators are usually determined – total, free and bound testosterone.
The normal level of total testosterone in adult women ranges from 0.42 nmol / l to 4.51 nmol / l. Its indicator is influenced by the phase of the menstrual cycle, the time of day, the age of the woman, the level of physical exertion, dietary habits.
Indicators in the range of 4.51-4.60 are considered borderline. Upon receipt of such values should be repeated analysis. For pregnant women and professional athletes the rate is not indicated, since the increase in this hormone can be significant. Here the crucial role is played by the condition of the woman, the normal or abnormal work of the reproductive system.
Revealing a high level of testosterone is not a sufficient indicator for making a diagnosis. A woman needs a number of additional examinations – a blood test for sex hormones and adrenal and pituitary hormones, abdominal ultrasound. They allow you to identify violations that caused the hormonal imbalance.
To lower testosterone, you need to follow a healthy and balanced diet. Preference should be given to dairy products, lean meat and fish, rice and buckwheat porridge. If you are overweight, you need to fight it – it is one of the risk factors for hyperandrogenism. Useful will be moderate exercise.
But in most cases, a healthy lifestyle is not enough to normalize hormonal levels. In this situation, antiandrogenic drugs – dexamethasone, corticosteroids, diethylstilbestron – come to the rescue. They should be prescribed by a doctor, he should choose the dosage suitable for each specific patient. It is necessary to accept these funds strictly according to the time indicated by the specialist. The treatment may be long and take several years, but its result will be a beautiful feminine appearance and restoration of the reproductive ability of the woman.
Learn from the video how to reduce testosterone levels in women with nutrition.