In women, the hormone testosterone has been linked with contributing to functions like strength, mental sharpness, and libido. In recent years, it has become more popular for women experiencing hormonal imbalance — especially menopausal women — to seek relief from their ailments by using testosterone products or undergoing testosterone replacement therapy. However, women considering this option should be warned that there are currently no testosterone products approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) formulated specifically for women. Keep reading below to learn more about the side effects of testosterone supplements.
The Role of Testosterone in Women
Women only produce about one-seventh of the amount of testosterone men do, which is why having too much testosterone can cause a woman to experience abnormal hair growth, changes in body shape, and a deepening of the voice.
Despite the fact that women produce small quantities of testosterone, the hormone is important to maintaining good overall health. For women, testosterone production begins after puberty, peaks during their twenties, and falls to half its normal amount during menopause. The hormone has been linked to increasing libido, strengthening brain issue, and regulating mood and emotion.
Is it Safe for Women to Take Testosterone Supplements?
Women should be wary of using testosterone-based products such as creams, patches or capsules, or having testosterone replacement therapy, as many of these treatments are designed for testosterone imbalance in men, not women.
Women taking too high of a dosage of testosterone may experience the following symptoms:
- Hair growth on the upper lip, face, chest, nipples, and lower abdomen Thinning of scalp hair acne/oily skin
- Shrinking breast size or irregular clitoris size as a result of increased muscle mass and redistributed body fat
- Irregular menstrual cycles, if menstruating
- Anger, aggression, or hostility, which may lead to depression Hoarseness or deepening of voice
Testosterone may increase a woman's risk for breast cancer, heart disease, and blood clotting. Further research is needed to fully understand how testosterone may be linked to these conditions.
Women who are still menstruating and may become pregnant should not take testosterone. Taking testosterone while pregnant could cause a female fetus to develop male traits.
Due to the large number of side effects associated with high testosterone levels, it is recommended that you make diet and lifestyle changes that affect the production of testosterone before considering the use of testosterone products or hormone replacement therapy (HRT).