When discussing testosterone levels in women, it's most common to hear about suffering from low levels of the hormone, which can cause an array of unwanted symptoms. Problems can, however, appear at the opposite end. Women are at risk from high testosterone levels as well, which come with their own bag of tricks. Read on to learn more about this condition and its symptoms so you too can recognize whether testosterone imbalance may be the culprit.
Research has suggested that between 4 and 7% of women produce too much testosterone in their ovaries. Abnormally high levels of the hormone in woman can cause a variety of problematic and embarrassing symptoms. Listed below are the most frequently reported signs of elevated testosterone levels in women.
Common Symptoms of High Testosterone Levels
The most common symptoms of excess testosterone are:
- Increased hair growth. Often, women with high testosterone levels may develop increased hair growth on the upper lip, face, chest, nipples, lower abdomen, and other parts of the body. Additionally, fine body hairs may turn coarse and darken.
- Male pattern baldness. High levels of testosterone in women can also result in a thinning of scalp hair, a condition called androgenic alopecia, especially for those with a genetic disposition to baldness.
- Deepening of the voice. This symptom may be a gradual or rapid change from high vocal pitches to lower ones.
- Change in body shape. Over a long period of time, without treatment, women with high testosterone may find that their muscle mass increases, body fat is redistributed, and - in rare cases - enlargement of the clitoris occurs.
Other Symptoms of High Testosterone Levels
In addition to the physical and psychological signs outlined above, high testosterone levels can lead to a range of side effects and more serious conditions. These include but are not limited to the following:
- Skin problems. Too much testosterone is not healthy for a woman's skin. The signs include excessive oiliness and acne.
- Mood. While some testosterone can boost a woman's confidence, strength, and libido, too much can make a woman feel agitated and angry. These feelings of frustration can even lead to depression.
- Health risks. More serious symptoms of high testosterone in women are often related to the major health risks that can occur. High testosterone levels have been linked to insulin resistance, a condition that interferes with the body's ability to regulate blood sugar levels. Insulin resistance can cause adult-onset diabetes, and it can increase a woman's risk of heart disease as well as cancer of the breast and uterine lining.
Now that the symptoms of high testosterone levels have been explained, some women might want to know about the role testosterone plays in menopause. Read on to learn about the relationship between testosterone and menopause.