February 28, 2024

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The Role of Testosterone in Women’s Health

Estrogens are the feminine sexual intercourse hormones that mediate the significant procedures that end result in the maturation of the woman reproductive process and secondary sexual properties. Yet, male sexual intercourse hormones, particularly androgens, are also crucial for feminine wellness, physical and emotional.


Image Credit: Marta Design/Shutterstock.comPicture Credit: Marta Style and design/Shutterstock.com


Androgens in women of all ages act not only as the precursor of estrogens but also affect most organ units of the feminine overall body, such as the cardiovascular, muscular, and skeletal techniques. Interestingly, they also instantly affect the feminine reproductive technique, breasts, temper, cognition, and other techniques.

In girls, energetic androgens consist of the adhering to:


  • dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S)
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  • dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)
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  • androstenedione
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  • testosterone
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  • dihydrotestosterone
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Androgen Production in Girls

About 25{6f90f2fe98827f97fd05e0011472e53c8890931f9d0d5714295052b72b9b5161} of androgens in ladies appear from the adrenal glands, one more 25{6f90f2fe98827f97fd05e0011472e53c8890931f9d0d5714295052b72b9b5161} from the ovaries, and the relaxation peripheral tissues. The main precursors of androgens in the overall body are DHEA-S – pretty much usually in the adrenal glands – DHEA and androstenedione. The latter two are created in the adrenals, ovaries, and peripheral tissues by conversion.

These precursors are transformed to testosterone and dihydrotestosterone, the energetic kinds. Testosterone in the blood is converted to the far more active form dihydrotestosterone by 5-alpha-reductase and aromatized to estradiol.

This conversion occurs at various charges dependent on the tissue, the level of receptor expression, and the action of the enzymes concerned. Peripheral androgen output is not in proportion to serum testosterone, nor does it reflect the tissue sensitivity to androgens.  

Lively testosterone is found in blood, unbound and sure to serum albumin. However, overall testosterone measurements include inactive testosterone, bound to sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), a carrier protein synthesized in the liver that binds with large affinity to the sexual intercourse hormones. Greater SHBG concentrations replicate in lower levels of lively testosterone and vice versa.

Androgen ranges start to decline with age in a lady, from the mid-30s onward, with no perceptible boost in the pace of decline at menopause. Even immediately after menopause, the ovary continues to make hormones, with up to 50 {6f90f2fe98827f97fd05e0011472e53c8890931f9d0d5714295052b72b9b5161} of the testosterone in the woman’s system coming from this organ.

A swift drop in blood testosterone ranges is noticed in women with both equally ovaries taken off. Continue to, the adrenals compensate for the minimized DHEA and androstenedione from the ovaries by overproduction. Even so, a gradual all round fall takes place this sort of that the ranges of both equally testosterone and androstenedione a person ten years soon after menopause are only 50 {6f90f2fe98827f97fd05e0011472e53c8890931f9d0d5714295052b72b9b5161} of individuals in premenopausal girls.

As demonstrated by the lack of correlation among serum testosterone degrees and peripheral androgen generation, it is difficult to say precisely what level is regarded as androgen deficiency in women of all ages. Liquid or gasoline chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry are the most exact methods for whole testosterone assays, adopted by radioimmunoassay.

Testosterone and Cardiometabolic Condition

Estrogen encourages vasodilation, lessens the development of atherosclerotic plaques, is anti-inflammatory, and as a result promotes vascular health and fitness prior to menopause. Testosterone, in distinction, functions on the blood vessels each straight and subsequent its conversion to estradiol.

It instantly increases nitric oxide synthesis and alters potassium and calcium ion channels, producing the blood vessels to relax. Lower stages of testosterone cut down cardiovascular health and fitness, but way too a great deal causes vasoconstriction.

As the levels of testosterone increase, the hazard of cardiovascular sickness will increase. Even so, short-phrase testosterone remedy (less than two years) has not proven a higher threat in small-risk women of all ages, delivered the stage is inside of standard female ranges.

Reduced androgen ranges in ladies have an adverse result on cardiovascular health for the reason that testosterone improves vascular rest, both of those endothelium-mediated and or else, bettering the blood move by its consequences on vascular resistance in the peripheral vessels. Nonetheless, endogenous testosterone degrees are inversely linked to cardiovascular sickness hazard.

This can not be interpreted to necessarily mean that endogenous testosterone is protective in opposition to this sort of problems mainly because of the observational mother nature of most research in this location and the conflicting conclusions of other researchers. Also, the comparatively insensitive testosterone assays employed and the failure to take into account the outcome of SHBG binding, or estrogen.

According to Davis, S. R. et al. (2015), “Total, the available observational info propose that low concentrations of overall, absolutely free, and bioavailable testosterone (cost-free and albumin-bound testosterone) and SHBG in serum are affiliated with a increased chance of atherosclerotic carotid sickness, cardiovascular situations, and total mortality. Furthermore, extremely large concentrations of endogenous bioavailable testosterone also appear to be to improve the future risk of CVD in women of all ages.”

Testosterone presented orally raises the level of very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) even though decreasing superior-density lipoprotein (HDL) concentrations and triglycerides. This is not seen with transdermal testosterone. Blood sugar, blood pressure, and human body mass index are alike unaffected by exogenous testosterone as long as the concentrations continue to be inside the ordinary selection.

Cutaneous Results

The most potent androgenic influence on the hair follicles is mediated by dihydrotestosterone, with shrinkage and a shorter progress section of the follicle, resulting in hair reduction. Whilst a better androgen-to-estrogen ratio is involved with feminine sample hair decline, androgen receptors on the chin, cheeks and higher lips trigger coarse hair to increase or excessive hair expansion (hirsutism).

The latter is witnessed in polycystic ovarian syndrome, maybe due to superior testosterone generation in the ovaries. In other situations, serum testosterone concentrations are regular, inspite of the hirsutism, maybe since of increased 5-alpha-reductase action. Hirsutism threat is 10.7{6f90f2fe98827f97fd05e0011472e53c8890931f9d0d5714295052b72b9b5161} in girls using testosterone, vs. 6.6{6f90f2fe98827f97fd05e0011472e53c8890931f9d0d5714295052b72b9b5161} with those on placebo.

Acne is also more frequent with testosterone treatment due to the fact androgens encourage the sebaceous glands to increase and secrete sebum. This acts as a development medium for Cutibacterium acnes. Curiously, most acne sufferers amongst girls do not have raised testosterone amounts.


Image Credit: JIB Liverpool/ShutterstockGraphic Credit history: JIB Liverpool/Shutterstock.com


Temper and Cognition

The mind is formed by estrogens throughout fetal advancement and carries on to be influenced. During the reproductive yrs, testosterone ranges in the mind exceed individuals of estradiol by various times.

Each estrogen and testosterone have anti-inflammatory consequences, guarding the nerve cells towards injuries. Testosterone could modulate oxidative tension and cut down the accumulation of the injurious amyloid-beta protein inside of the mind whilst dashing up nerve regeneration. Some of these consequences may perhaps be mediated by estrogen.

Androgen receptors are scattered as a result of the central nervous system, and their action affects libido, heat regulation, sleep, cognitive operate, language, and visuospatial techniques. Whilst a marked cognitive shift does not accompany menopause, some women might notice a reduced good quality of everyday living. Testosterone therapy does not seem to be to have any adverse cognitive outcome, nor does it adversely affect temper or perfectly-being.

Some proof indicates a positive result on verbal studying and memory with transdermal testosterone. Even though these do justify further investigation, they are not adequate for the medical use of testosterone for this goal.

Musculoskeletal Operate

Androgen receptors on bone-forming cells signify that very low androgen amounts, as in write-up-menopausal women, are related with lessened bone density and elevated danger of fractures in the hip and spine.

As of now, some gain in phrases of enhanced muscle mass and muscle mass strength may well be witnessed with testosterone supplementation in gals who have gone through hysterectomy (whether or not or not the ovaries were being also eliminated), proportional to the dose. The best improvement was viewed with better-than-ordinary testosterone doses.

Nonetheless, supplied the deficiency of details, even further studies are required to suggest the use of testosterone in put up-menopausal gals for bone wellbeing.

Breast/Endometrial Tissue

The large aromatase levels in the breast tissue mean that testosterone is fast and abundantly transformed to estrogen, generating proliferative effects on the breast. Curiously, nevertheless, experimental final results display the opposite, with testosterone demonstrating anti-proliferative effects even though endorsing apoptosis within breast tissue.

Testosterone also inhibits estrogen receptor alpha and has been located to suppress the growth of breast most cancers cells. The extent to which these changes happen relies upon on the dose of androgens, the variety of treatment, and the kind of breast cancer cell.

Testosterone supplementation around the limited time period does not seem to result in any adverse consequences on the breast, this kind of as agony, tenderness, masses, or most cancers. In just one examine, the costs of invasive breast most cancers in ladies who experienced gone through surgical menopause had been not lifted with transdermal testosterone. However, the follow-up period of time was brief (4 yrs).

Testosterone degrees are large in ladies with polycystic ovary syndrome or transgender folks on high-dose androgens, but these teams do not show a bigger incidence of breast most cancers. This danger may possibly be mediated via improved estrogen receptor alpha density. Some experts postulate that a bigger androgen receptor expression may well inhibit the advancement of tumors that express estrogen receptors alpha. In contrast, all those that do not convey this receptor may possibly have a improved prognosis.

In general, no better chance has been demonstrated in previous or present-day customers of methyltestosterone, a kind of the hormone that are unable to be transformed to estrogen. Transdermal testosterone use is not joined to invasive breast most cancers, but extended-time period data are lacking.

There is extremely little knowledge on the threat of ovarian and endometrial cancer with past or present-day use of testosterone. In the endometrial tissue, aromatase stages are very low, and testosterone supplementation is not likely to induce endometrial hyperplasia.

Testosterone and Female Sexual Wellness

Androgens do encourage sexual overall health, as proven by multiple significant experiments. Testosterone therapy is encouraged to address very low sexual want in submit-menopausal females if no other result in can be found on extensive evaluation – this becoming the only current authorized advice for this androgen in women of all ages.

It is crucial to realize that sexual perform is not the final result of a drop in androgens in perimenopause, as this has been ruled out by now. Conversely, certain androgen (DHEA-S) stages are similar to selected measures of sexual purpose (arousal, desire, and responsiveness) as noted by the ladies on their own.

Soon after surgical menopause, no absolute correlation has been located among sexual need and androgen stages, as pointed out. Still, because female hormones are also decreased at this time, accompanied by infertility, the picture is quite difficult.

Hypoactive sexual want problem (HSDD) is a validated problem such as very low need and absence of arousal. Testosterone has been revealed to be productive with or with no estrogen to deal with this, in post-menopausal females, on the foundation of shorter-time period scientific tests.

The transdermal route is chosen to reduce systemic results, with normal checking to maintain physiologic concentrations. Transdermal testosterone also does not negatively influence metabolic threat elements for cardiovascular sickness, which include lipid concentrations, inflammatory markers, coagulation proteins, or insulin resistance.

Testosterone and Vaginal Wellness

Atrophy of the vulva and vagina occurs next menopause. Very low-dose vaginal estrogen is a really risk-free and helpful procedure. Continue to, testosterone has been proposed as a substitution in those women of all ages who have breast most cancers currently being treated with aromatase inhibitors. This is based on the presence of androgen receptors in the vaginal tissues.

Nevertheless androgen receptor genes are expressed at bigger stages with age, the receptors by themselves appear to lessen. On the other hand, vaginal testosterone enhances vaginal thickness, inducing epithelial proliferation in write-up-menopausal women of all ages. In some papers, the effect of testosterone is described as remaining top-quality to conjugated equine estrogen, with better libido, lubrication, and decreased dyspareunia.

This may perhaps be explained by the regional conversion of testosterone to estradiol with no systemic publicity to estradiol, but this has not been confirmed. This factors to the need to have for additional scientific tests in advance of this treatment can be adopted in women of all ages with vulvovaginal atrophy.  

Testosterone in Women – Mayo Clinic Women’s Overall health Clinic


Testosterone therapy is a probable selection to be employed with deliberation in ladies who are prematurely menopausal or have hypopituitarism. Further more scientific studies must be carried out to advise the scientific use of this powerful sex hormone and elucidate its job in preventing getting old-associated illness securely and correctly.


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