Weight gain, acne, and hair loss – are you experiencing any of these unpleasant conditions? These are just a few common symptoms of high testosterone levels in women, but the real question is: ” Why do women have high testosterone levels at all … and what can be done to lower it?”
Unfortunately, many doctors can tell you that you have high testosterone levels, but rarely will they tell you what to do to reduce it. That is why it is important to understand what is going on in your body. In-depth knowledge of the hormonal imbalance test of this problem will help you return to the desired normality.
An important thing about women’s elevated testosterone levels is that it is usually (95% of the time) not a problem in itself, but a symptom of other disorders, or a comorbid disorder.
So the way to solve the problem is to come to the root cause that causes high testosterone levels …
Symptoms of high testosterone in women
Before we get into the causes of high testosterone and treatment, we need to understand and understand the symptoms of high testosterone.
Symptoms are very important because each person is different in how the level of this hormone causes discomfort and gives alarming signals. There are a lot of women whose testosterone levels are within the upper normal range and who suffer from all the unpleasant symptoms. These people, even though they are “healthy” in the light of medical norms, do not feel well until after the start of treatment.
The following list will help you determine if you accidentally suffer from this “little feminine” hormonal disorder.
Symptoms of high testosterone in women
- Weight gain or inability to lose weight (especially in the case of unexpected weight gain )
Hair loss (especially if thyroid function and other hormones are within normal limits and if the hair loss is typically male, there are bends and baldness in the middle of the head)
- Acne, skin changes or very oily skin (cystic acne occurs in the case of high androgens usually in the jawline)
- Mood changes including depression, irritability or anger
- Imbalance of other hormones, including estrogen/progesterone ratio, other androgens such as DHEA and thyroid hormone
As you may have noticed, many of these symptoms are not specific. This means that there will be some return in your body with other hormonal imbalances. For example, thyroid problems can cause weight gain and hair loss, but usually not male pattern baldness. Thyroid problems can also lead to acne, but they are usually not ulcers or cysts.
Using these specific tips can help you determine where exactly your hormonal problems come from.
Testosterone laboratory tests – interpretation of results
OK, let’s talk about what the testosterone level test results look like. First, we will show examples – and then we will explain what we are talking about.
For example, a woman with high free testosterone and “normal” total testosterone.
As a result of the tests, only “slow” is marked as high, but this patient has too high testosterone levels. How do we know that?
Because she had many symptoms on the list: facial hair growth, acne, and weight gain. I want to take a moment and explain that this pattern is very common and is one of the most overlooked forms of the disorder.
And it looks like this:
Free testosterone is the active form of testosterone, so this particular patient has a high level of active/free testosterone floating in the body, causing all the symptoms listed above. Despite this, total testosterone levels are within normal limits. The reason for this was insulin resistance, and treatment of this problem caused that the level of testosterone significantly decreased, and so the symptoms subsided.
The 5 common causes of high testosterone
It is important to remember that this list is not complete. This is a collection of the most common problems that, despite their frequency, are still overlooked by doctors. The issue of hormonal disorders is very problematic in many ways.
Each case should be accurately diagnosed, not only the results of specific hormones but also their proportions to each other should be taken into account. It requires a huge amount of knowledge, experience, inquisitiveness, and willingness from the doctor to “dig” into the proper cause of the disorder.
If your hormone levels are too low, you usually need to choose the right medicine, high hormone levels require more knowledge and more advanced treatment plans.
1. Insulin resistance (insulin resistance)
As I mentioned earlier in this article, there is a relationship between insulin resistance (high blood sugar) and testosterone. High insulin levels cause both low testosterone and elevated testosterone levels.
In men, insulin resistance usually causes low testosterone, but in women, it can cause both.
The best way to determine how it affects your testosterone?
Just check both your Hbb A1c and fasting insulin levels, as well as free and total testosterone levels. If you have high testosterone + high insulin, insulin certainly contributes to hormonal imbalances.
Women who achieve high testosterone levels through insulin resistance fall into the PCOS spectrum.
This means that as insulin levels increase, testosterone levels increase, estrogen levels increase, and progesterone decreases. Some women can only face a small increase in facial hair, while others experience severe symptoms such as darkening of the skin, accumulation of abdominal fat / internal organs, and extreme mood swings.
2. Estrogen / progesterone imbalance (PMS / PMDD, estrogen dominance)
The hormones in your body work together. Think of them like a spider’s web – you can’t create a thread completely isolated from the rest of the web. Moving one network band will shift the entire network to some extent. The same concept applies to your hormones. All hormones interact with each other, and thus – if the level of one hormone is disturbed, the entire endocrine system can be considered not functioning properly.
This concept also applies to female sex hormones (estrogen and progesterone). The exact mechanism is unclear, but there is a correlation between progesterone/estrogen and testosterone. Take, for example, women with PMS and PMDD – conditions caused by elevated estrogen levels (estrogen dominance). These patients have been shown to have elevated levels of both DHEA and testosterone.
Compare this to menopause (complete lack of progesterone with low estrogen levels), where women generally achieve low testosterone levels.
One thing is certain:
Changes in estrogen/progesterone somehow affect testosterone levels.
3. Lack of physical exercise (especially strength training)
Think of exercise as an additional method that will help prevent the development of high levels of testosterone in the body. So lack of exercise does not directly cause high testosterone levels, but exercise helps prevent this type of disorder. This is most likely due to the effect of exercise on insulin levels. Exercise helps lower insulin levels by sensitizing cells to insulin.
Low insulin = normal testosterone.
High insulin = high testosterone
It is also worth emphasizing that physical exercise can balance testosterone levels, increase libido, and muscle mass.
Exercise can also help prevent the abnormal distribution of fat that accompanies high/low testosterone (fat in the upper body and upper arms).
4. Adrenal gland dysfunction (high DHEA)
This condition is less common, but anything that interferes with adrenal hormone production can ultimately lead to high testosterone levels. To understand this better, you need to see how testosterone is created in the body. Testosterone can be made from precursors such as DHEA, pregnenolone, progesterone, and androstenedione.
Anything that increases any of these hormones (even if you take them as supplements!) Can increase total testosterone. Several health conditions can lead to an increase in DHEA and testosterone, including adrenal hyperplasia, high-stress levels (adrenal fatigue), excess progesterone/pregnenolone / DHEA supplementation, and insulin resistance.
Of course, the most common causes of high DHEA include increased demand for adrenal production (high cortisol and high DHEA) and excess supplementation (which can also be a big problem).
For this reason, it’s always a good idea to check your blood DHEA levels in addition to your cortisol levels when assessing your testosterone levels. Remember that hormones do not work in isolation from others, changing one will also change the other.
5. High leptin level (leptin resistance)
Leptin is a hormone that can simply prevent you from losing weight and successfully stop the reduction. Leptin is a hormone secreted from fat cells and is designed to control appetite, metabolism, and make the brain burn fat.
When you have leptin resistance, guess what happens?
Your brain receives no signal and instead of doing all these things, it does the exact opposite. This means that your metabolism slows down, your brain makes you think you are hungry and your body doesn’t want to burn fat. And … In addition to causing resistance to slim, high levels of leptin are also associated with high levels of testosterone.
High levels of leptin are also seen in women with PCOS, and many women with leptin resistance also have insulin resistance (which further worsens blood testosterone levels).
Such high levels of insulin = high levels of leptin = high levels of testosterone
High levels of insulin and lectins prevent weight loss, and high levels of testosterone cause all of the side effects listed above.