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Increased testosterone in women: causes, symptoms, consequences, treatment

Testosterone is a male sex hormone belonging to the group of androgens. It is synthesized from cholesterol by the ovaries and adrenal glands. The formation of androgens comes from previous molecules in the muscles, liver, brain and adipose tissue of the body, therefore, in overweight women, the level of these hormones is usually increased.

At birth, the level of testosterone in the body is minimal. It increases significantly during puberty, after the onset of menopause, the amount of this hormone decreases.

Normally, in a woman's body, the content of free testosterone is in the range from 0.45 to 3.75 nmol / L.

Testosterone is responsible for the following processes:

  • fat and protein metabolism,
  • the work of the sebaceous glands,
  • maturation of the egg and corpus luteum,
  • bone marrow function,
  • bone growth
  • sex drive.

Types of Testosterone in Women

In the body of a woman, two types of testosterone are determined:

  • free - a hormone that is not tied to proteins,
  • general - free testosterone in combination with a protein-bound hormone.

Girls with elevated testosterone levels have a male type of body, their hips are narrow, while their shoulders are wide. By the age of ten, the child remains low, since the growth zones in the bones quickly begin to close.

Causes of Increased Testosterone in Women

The following reasons lead to an increase in testosterone levels:

  1. Heredity. An increased level of the hormone is observed in close relatives.
  2. Insulin insensitivity. With a woman increasing insulin levels, the level of testosterone and estrogen increases, and progesterone decreases.
  3. Benign and malignant tumors of the ovaries and mammary glands.
  4. Polycystic ovary.
  5. Thyroid disease.
  6. Hyperplasia of the ovaries.
  7. Pituitary adenoma.
  8. Adrenal gland disease (hyperplasia).
  9. Excessive use of drugs containing progesterone.

Factors that may indirectly affect the increase in testosterone in the female body:

  • stress (negatively affects the body of a woman and can cause hormonal imbalance),
  • overweight,
  • fasting after training (if a girl is actively involved in sports, and then refuses to eat, the level of testosterone in her body decreases very slowly, regular training can cause chronically high levels of androgen),
  • decreased physical activity (affects the amount of insulin, which is directly related to testosterone levels).

Symptoms of increased testosterone in women

The main symptoms of increased testosterone in women:

  • hirsutism (male-type hair growth above the lips, under the chin, around the nipples, on the stomach and limbs),
  • acne on the face and décolleté,
  • changes in character, manifestations of aggression, temper, rudeness,
  • muscle building
  • hair loss on the head (male pattern baldness),
  • rapid change in body weight (increase or decrease),
  • increased libido
  • pregnancy problems (difficulty conceiving or miscarriages in the early stages),
  • menstrual irregularities,
  • uterine bleeding
  • increased appetite
  • body fat in the waist,
  • sleep disturbances (dreams in which aggression is present),
  • prolonged absence of menstruation.

Many signs are not specific and may indicate not only increased testosterone in women, but also problems with other hormones.

If a fetus developing in the womb has an increased level of testosterone, the structure of its genital organs changes. Since birth, girls have a large clitoris and labia. At the age of 6 to 8 years, a gross voice. Male-type hair growth develops, hair begins to grow on the arms, stomach, pubis, while they are hard and dark.

Girls with elevated testosterone levels have a male type of body, their hips are narrow, while their shoulders are wide. By the age of ten, the child remains low, since the growth zones in the bones quickly begin to close.

Diagnostics

Diagnose an increase in testosterone levels in women using a special analysis. To determine the level of the hormone, blood is taken from a vein. To obtain reliable data, the analysis should be carried out on the seventh or eighth day of the menstrual cycle.

Three days before the test, hormonal drugs must be canceled, 12 hours should be excluded from physical activity, stop drinking alcohol and smoking. The analysis is carried out on an empty stomach, its results will be known within a day.

Additional laboratory tests include:

  • analysis of thyroid hormones,
  • analysis of female hormones,
  • blood glucose determination,
  • analysis for cholesterol.

Additional instrumental examinations may also be prescribed, in particular:

  • ultrasound examination of the pelvic organs,
  • kidney ultrasound
  • magnetic resonance or computed tomography of the adrenal glands and brain.

Treatment

Treatment is prescribed by a gynecologist-endocrinologist. In most cases, hormonal correction is carried out using drugs of the following pharmacological groups:

  • male sex hormone antagonists - block androgen receptors and have progestogen activity,
  • oral contraceptives - affect the production of female sex hormones,
  • antidiabetic drugs - affect the production of glucose, and also inhibit the production of testosterone.

The choice of the drug and the course of treatment is determined by the doctor after a face-to-face consultation and examination of the test results.

Fatty dishes, products with a large number of dyes and preservatives, alcoholic and carbonated drinks, spicy seasonings are excluded from the diet.

Also, a patient with an increased level of testosterone needs to adjust nutrition. Fatty dishes, products with a large number of dyes and preservatives, alcoholic and carbonated drinks, spicy seasonings are excluded from the diet. It is recommended to limit salt intake to no more than 3 g per day.

The menu of women with high levels of testosterone should include:

  • lean meat and fish,
  • soy products
  • vegetables and fruits,
  • natural juices
  • honey,
  • dairy.

With excess weight, measures should be taken to normalize it. The following recommendations should also be followed:

  • have a regular sex life
  • get rid of bad habits,
  • do sport,
  • sleep at least 8 hours a day.

If the cause of excessive testosterone in women is benign or malignant tumors, surgical intervention is indicated.

Features of increased testosterone during pregnancy

During the period of gestation, the level of testosterone in the female body increases significantly. In some cases, it can increase four times, which is a variant of the norm.

Such changes may be due to the fact that not only the ovaries and adrenal glands, but also the formed placenta are responsible for the production of this hormone in a pregnant woman. From the third trimester of pregnancy, the baby in the womb begins to produce testosterone. In moms of boys, the level of this hormone is higher than in women carrying a girl.

Many signs are not specific and may indicate not only increased testosterone in women, but also problems with other hormones.

After childbirth, testosterone levels drop on their own.

The consequences of increased testosterone in women

  1. Infertility. Increased testosterone in women affects the formation of follicles and the development of the egg, so conception becomes impossible.
  2. Abortion in the early stages. Despite the fact that after conception, the level of testosterone in women rises naturally, if this figure was too high initially, it is necessary to control the level of the hormone and take this into account when planning pregnancy. Changes in indicators can cause not only a single miscarriage, but also habitual miscarriage.
  3. The risk of fetal death in late pregnancy. Uterine growth slows down, which causes a frozen pregnancy.
  4. Complications during childbirth.
  5. The risk of early diabetes.
  6. Osteoporosis.
  7. Oncological diseases.

Preventive measures

In order to prevent an increase in testosterone in women, it is necessary:

  • Healthy food,
  • lead a healthy lifestyle,
  • treat all gynecological diseases on time,
  • keep weight under control.

If symptoms of increased testosterone are identified, the woman should be tested, and if the diagnosis is confirmed, consult a doctor.

How to normalize increased testosterone in women

Only the endocrinologist can determine the presence of pathology reliably and prescribe adequate treatment, independent hormonal correction is unacceptable.

An increase in testosterone due to physical exertion is not necessary to treat.

In the case of increased testosterone in women, when planning pregnancy, it is recommended to lower the level of the hormone and maintain it within the normal range until conception and for several months of pregnancy. In such patients, it is necessary to control the level of testosterone throughout the entire gestation period, since its significant increase, which occurs in pregnant women for physiological reasons, can lead to the development of pregnancy complications.

It is important to control the level of testosterone in girls who have a genetic predisposition to increase this hormone.

Drug correction

With increased testosterone, oral contraceptives, calcium gluconate, vitamin D are prescribed, as well as some other drugs if necessary. Hormone therapy is performed according to strict indications. Without a doctor’s consultation, hormonal medication is not recommended, as it can significantly worsen the situation.

Treatment may be supplemented by herbal medicine. Flax seeds, licorice root, angelica, evasive peony (marin root), dwarf palm, and peppermint are used.

Testosterone levels change throughout the day, its maximum amount is contained in the blood in the morning, and significantly decreases by night.

It was found that two cups of peppermint tea per day can reduce elevated testosterone levels and maintain it within normal values ​​if you drink peppermint tea every day.

Nutrition with increased testosterone in women

With increased testosterone, it is important to eat a balanced diet. The diet should include in sufficient quantities fresh vegetables, fruits and berries (especially apples and cherries), freshly squeezed juices, whole cow's milk, cream, meat, fish, white bread, honey, vegetable oils, wheat, rice. Allowed black natural coffee, black and green tea. It is useful to use cereal, oatmeal and / or oatmeal porridge, cooked in milk and seasoned with honey (before adding honey, porridge should be cooled a little beforehand). Indispensable for high testosterone products include dates (both fresh and dried). Dates occupy a leading position among products that help reduce the level of this hormone, and also have a positive effect on the gastrointestinal tract and cardiovascular system.

The amount of salt in the diet should not exceed 3 g per day. It is necessary to limit or exclude the use of alcoholic beverages, to stop smoking. Food should be regular, it is not recommended to allow a strong feeling of hunger.

Lifestyle change

The normalization of testosterone levels in women contributes to the rational alternation of physical activity and relaxation. Strength training that promotes the production of male hormone is best replaced by dancing and / or aerobic exercise.

With increased testosterone, yoga classes are recommended, since in addition to sparing physical activity, it helps to stabilize the psycho-emotional state. A night's sleep should be at least 8 hours a day. In order to reduce testosterone levels, women should avoid stress and excessive mental stress.

What determines the level of testosterone in women?

It is useful for every woman to know what are normal testosterone levels and to control the content of this hormone in the body. To do this, you need to pass laboratory tests, it is optimal to do this 6-7 days after the start of menstruation.

On average, it is normal for a woman to have testosterone levels ranging from 0.45 to 3.75 nmol per liter. But it is important to consider that the hormone content can fluctuate. It depends on:

  • age - in girls under 10 years old and in women after menopause, the amount of testosterone is less than the average,
  • time of day - in the morning the level of the hormone is the highest, and by the evening it drops noticeably,
  • menstrual cycle - during ovulation, the testosterone content is higher, after menstruation decreases,
  • general condition of the body - with health problems, there is a fluctuation in the level of the hormone,
  • physical activity - after them, the testosterone content rises.

Hereditary factor

How exactly the tendency to increased testosterone is transmitted by inheritance has not been thoroughly studied by medicine. But this phenomenon is quite common.

A genetic predisposition in many cases explains the increase in hormone levels. Incidentally, such a fact was noted - at the level of genes, pathology is often transmitted through a generation. Granddaughter can get such a problem from her grandmother.

Ovulation and bearing a child

During ovulation, testosterone in the female body is usually higher, but this is a natural phenomenon.

During the period of bearing a child, an increase in the amount of this hormone is also observed, when it is intensely synthesized by the placenta.

The peak rise in testosterone levels occurs in the third trimester of pregnancy. This process is normal, but every future mom needs to keep it under control. Too high rates can threaten a dead pregnancy.

Drug abuse

Many medicines, unfortunately, have a negative side effect on the body. You cure one problem, and you get a whole bunch more.

Barbiturates, steroid drugs, and contraceptives containing hormones cannot be classified as completely harmless drugs. You can’t get carried away with such medicines. Taking such medications over a long period is fraught with an increase in testosterone.

Malnutrition

An unbalanced diet has a bad effect not only on the health of the body as a whole, but also specifically on the amount of testosterone.

Lovers of vegetarian, lean and low-calorie diets are at risk of provoking an increase in the level of male hormone.

Do not give up fried meat, dairy products, white bread, vegetable oils, honey, fruits.

Stress and lack of sleep

So that testosterone does not “roll over”, a woman needs to pay attention to proper rest. Sleep is less than the norm, insomnia, nightmares - all this negatively affects the permissible testosterone content.

Another factor that provokes the growth of male hormone is stress.In response to complex, frightening and uncontrollable situations, the body reacts with physical and emotional stress. Against this background, hormonal balance changes, one of the consequences is an increase in the amount of testosterone.

Endocrine system dysfunction

Because of what does the level of testosterone begin to increase in the female body? First of all, the violation of the functions of the endocrine system is to blame.

It combines the various endocrine glands that produce hormones.
The pathologies of these glands also cause an increase in the amount of testosterone:

  • increased adrenal gland activity,
  • thyroid disease
  • polycystic and ovarian tumors,
  • dysfunction of the pituitary gland.

At the initial stage, it is easier to adjust the level of hormones and bring it back to normal.

Female Testosterone Functions

Normally, testosterone is produced not only in men, but also in women. Of course, in the male body the amount of this hormone will be much higher than that of the fairer sex.

The body of a woman contains very little testosterone, and he is responsible for the following functions:

  • the formation of a figure according to the female type,
  • muscle growth
  • libido regulation,
  • growth of the skeletal system during physical formation,
  • normal functioning of the reproductive system,
  • functional bone marrow activity.

How to determine the level of testosterone?

To find out the amount of testosterone in the blood, a woman needs to take an analysis for this hormone starting from the 6th day of menstruation. Normally, the amount of testosterone ranges from 0.7-3 nmol / l, but in each individual laboratory its own standards can be applied, and you need to focus only on them.

If the woman’s bioavailable testosterone is elevated or borders on the upper norm, she is advised to visit a gynecologist-endocrinologist.

Increased Pregnancy Testosterone

Many are interested in: why is testosterone elevated in pregnant women, is this the norm? Probably, bearing a fetus is the only period when an increase in the level of this hormone is relatively safe for a woman. During pregnancy, the amount of progesterone can double or even triple. This is due to the fact that the placenta additionally synthesizes this hormone. If a woman is pregnant with a boy, then she will have more testosterone than the one waiting for the girl.

But such an amount of testosterone is safe for a woman only during pregnancy and only in her second half. In the first trimester, elevated testosterone levels are not the norm, it can cause a dead pregnancy.

How does it affect the look?

An increase in testosterone in the body can easily be determined by unpleasant changes in appearance. The woman begins to manifest obvious male signs:

  1. The so-called hirsutism develops. This is enhanced hair growth in places where a woman should not have it. In addition to the appearance of antennae and hairs on the chin, there is hairiness on the cheeks, on the chest, on the fingers. The existing vegetation on the arms and legs becomes even thicker.
  2. But the scalp, alas, is thinning. The hairstyle noticeably loses attractiveness - the hair becomes oily, actively falls out. The process threatens to develop into alopecia, that is, baldness.
  3. The skin on the face and back becomes greasy, covered with acne.
  4. The timbre of the voice changes in the direction of lowering and resembles a man’s, coarser.
  5. Changes in physique are also palpable, obviously not for the better. The figure becomes more masculine, without a pronounced waistline. But the shoulders and chest area increase in size. Fat is deposited on the stomach.

High hormone disease

The development of masculine signs in appearance (this is called androgenization) is unpleasant and unacceptable for any woman. But plus the excess of male hormone is dangerous for health problems:

  • against this background, diabetes can develop,
  • ovarian dysfunction occurs, due to which the menstrual cycle is disrupted,
  • menstruation may stop altogether. And this is already fraught with reproductive function problems, that is, infertility,
  • the mood changes for no reason, the woman becomes more irritable, rude, there are bouts of unjustified aggression,
  • libido is violated - there are sharp bursts of sexual desire,
  • rapid weight gain is observed without changes in the diet.

What happens during pregnancy?

Exceeding testosterone interferes with the normal ovulation cycle, which creates problems in the reproductive system. The chances of getting pregnant are sharply reduced due to irregular periods or even their absence.

If conception still happened, then carrying a child to a woman with increased testosterone can be very problematic. There is a great threat of miscarriage, fetal freezing may occur. The result is chronic miscarriage, which can lead to nervous disorders and psychological problems.

Testosterone in the female body has many important functions: it is responsible for the reproductive system and sex drive, regulates muscle mass and fat burning, helps bone growth and affects bone marrow function. But all this functions normally only when testosterone is normal. That is why it is so important not to exceed its level.

Watch the video: Testosterone in Women Mayo Clinic Womens Health Clinic (February 2020).

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