- What is testosterone?
- What are high testosterone levels in men?
- What are high testosterone levels in women?
- Symptoms of high testosterone during male puberty
- Signs and symptoms of high testosterone in a man
- Signs and symptoms of high testosterone in women
- What happens when your testosterone increases?
- What are the complications of too much testosterone?
- When to see a doctor
- Causes of high testosterone in men and women
- Natural remedies
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “high testosterone levels”?
Burly and masculine men lifting weights at the gym? Guys ready to start a brawl?
Contrary to popular belief, high testosterone in men doesn’t always have to do with anger issues.
Testosterone is a key sex hormone that women have too.
So, what happens when men’s and women’s testosterone levels get too high?
How can you spot the signs and symptoms of high testosterone in men and women?
Keep reading to find out.
What is testosterone?
Testosterone is a key sex hormone in both sexes that is mainly produced in the sex organs (gonads), specifically in the ovaries and testicles.
In men, testosterone can regulate libido (sex drive), strength, muscle mass, fat distribution, and spermatogenesis.
In women, it can aid in the repair of reproductive tissues and help with energy, strength, muscle mass, cognition, and mood.
What are high testosterone levels in men?
It is difficult to estimate normal testosterone levels in men because factors like diet, BMI, drug therapy, diseases, alcohol consumption, and age affect how much testosterone they have.
That being said, here is what normal testosterone levels by age can look like in a healthy, non-obese man:
- 20 to 30 years – 264 to 916 ng/dL
- 40s – 252 to 916 ng/dL
- 50s – 215 to 878 ng/dL
- 60s – 156 to 819 ng/dL
When the total testosterone level is over 950 ng/dL and free testosterone is over 30 ng/dL, then a doctor might view this as high testosterone levels.
Do keep in mind that obese men have 30% lower T levels than healthy men, and 40% have levels under the lower normal limit.
A primary care physician or urologist can help make an accurate estimate of high testosterone levels in males.
What are high testosterone levels in women?
In a woman’s body, the ovaries are in charge of producing testosterone. Normal testosterone levels in women help repair, maintain, and grow the reproductive tissues and bone mass.
For females 19 or older, normal testosterone levels can range from 8 to 60 ng/dL. Anything over that is considered high testosterone.
Excess testosterone affects up to 20% of the female population globally. It is also a key factor in the development of PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome).
Excess testosterone or an imbalance in testosterone production can impair a woman’s sex drive and health.
Symptoms of high testosterone during male puberty
During puberty, an “awakening” happens in the male body. Boys experience an enlargement of the testes and scrotum. It also leads to drastically elevated testosterone.
The classic signs of high testosterone in a boy who recently hit puberty are:
- Physical growth in height, weight, and length
- Spike in sex drive
- Increased erectile function
- More body hair
- Deeper voice
- Increased muscle mass
- Enlarged breasts (gynecomastia)
Signs and symptoms of high testosterone in a man
Abnormally high testosterone in males can lead to the following signs:
- Risky or aggressive behavior
- Increased appetite
- Liver or heart issues
- Increased blood pressure
- Mood swings
- Reduced sperm count
- Prostate enlargement
- Swelling in the feet or legs
- Unintended weight gain
Men who take too much testosterone can experience some serious mood swings. The classic side effects of high testosterone are that a person can be more impatient and irritable.
They are more likely to make rash decisions and can have depressive highs and lows. Their behavior changes from their usual self, which can have a major impact on a man’s social life.
In contrast, the symptoms of lower testosterone are different. Men with low T levels can experience:
- Increased body fat
- Drop in hemoglobin
- Mild anemia
- Decrease in body hair
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Signs and symptoms of high testosterone in women
Symptoms of high testosterone are associated with numerous physical changes. Some of the symptoms of high T in women are similar to those in men.
The classic signs of high testosterone in women include:
- Increase in body hair (particularly facial hair)
- Deeper voice
- Increased muscle mass
- Reduced breast size
- Enlarged clitoris
- Menstrual cycle irregularities
- Reduced sex drive
- Mood changes
Acne, for example, is one of the most classic signs of high testosterone in women. One study found that women with severe comedonal acne had drastically higher testosterone and DHEA-S levels.
What happens when your testosterone increases?
What does increased testosterone do to the body?
In men, T levels naturally increase in response to sex or arousal. Those who experience testosterone spikes typically have increased sexual activity. Older men require better testosterone production to manage their erectile function and sex drive.
But, some men also take testosterone to increase their energy and muscle mass and control their body weight.
When there is a lowering of testosterone in males, patients can benefit from testosterone treatment. This can increase strength and muscle mass, and curb fat mass.
When a woman experiences the effects of increased testosterone on the body, she can have missing periods, balding, increased muscle mass, and oily skin.
The increase in testosterone, followed by a progesterone drop, can worsen sleep difficulties. That’s why many women with high testosterone report sleep disturbances.
What are the complications of too much testosterone?
Too much testosterone in men and women can cause various problems. This includes infertility, aggression, and excessive body and facial hair.
Men tend to experience high testosterone because of frequently using steroids or too many testosterone supplements.
Symptoms of testosterone overdose include blurry vision, slurred speech, and headaches. It can also cause a sudden inability to speak and weakness in the leg or arm on one side of the body.
In women, the symptoms of excess testosterone are usually the result of an underlying medical condition, like hormonal disorders.
Taking too much testosterone can make a person more irritable and aggressive. They can develop oily skin or make their sleep apnea worse.
Symptoms of too much testosterone include:
- Fluid retention
- Reduced sperm count and testicle size
- Oily or acne-prone skin
- Prostate swelling
- Increase in red blood cells
When to see a doctor
If your testosterone levels are too high, you might experience chest pain, trouble breathing, and dizziness.
Contact a healthcare provider if the high T production is causing:
- Trouble sleeping
- Abnormal changes in good (HDL) cholesterol
- Swelling in the legs or hands
- Trouble speaking
- Stroke-like symptoms
If a person is sensitive to testosterone, they can develop acne, high blood pressure, increased appetite, and liver or heart problems.
It’s important to manage the side effects of increased testosterone early on. These side effects include increased aggressive behavior, reduced sperm count, increased urination, fluid retention, and acne.
Causes of high testosterone in men and women
Hormonal disorders and different ailments can affect T levels. Some of the most profound causes of high testosterone in men and women are:
When a person uses more than the recommended amount or prescribed dose, they can experience side effects.
Many athletes and bodybuilders try to use bigger doses to get faster results. But this can do more harm than good.
Anabolic steroid abuse
Fitness enthusiasts often abuse steroids to boost their physical performance and get more muscle mass.
Testicle and adrenal tumors could lead to excess testosterone levels.
Applying the gel alongside supplements and steroids can also increase T levels.
Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
Untreated CAH can trigger excessive T hormone production. This can result in the rapid growth of both girls and boys.
Polycystic ovary syndrome
Between 4-7% of women have too much testosterone in their ovaries. These women have a pattern of symptoms called PCOS.
This is a hormonal ailment in women that leads to growing unwanted hair. Mainly on the chest, face, and back. It can make testosterone levels skyrocket.
The treatment option will vary based on what’s causing the problem. Doctors often recommend medication and lifestyle changes.
In order to decrease testosterone, it’s important to use supplements in the right doses. Talk to a doctor about how to decrease testosterone.
For women, doctors can recommend Progestin for improving fertility and regulating their periods. If there is unwanted facial hair, then products like Eflornithine can help.
If diabetes is causing unstable testosterone, then patients could take metformin. To block excess testosterone in women, patients may take oral contraceptives (birth control pills). But, consult a specialist to find the best treatment that will work for you.
There are also natural ways to keep testosterone in tip-top shape. This includes:
- Exercising regularly to maintain a healthy body weight.
- Nourishing the body with a healthy dose of vitamins, proteins, and minerals.
- Avoiding processed foods and excessive alcohol intake.
- Reducing cortisol and stress levels.
- Establishing healthy sleeping patterns.
It depends on how high testosterone affects your body. For example, if you experience increased sexual desire, muscle mass, strength, energy, and endurance, then you may see the high T levels as good for the body.
Increased testosterone can be a good boon for those who want to get bigger, faster, and stronger. But, when the excess testosterone is causing you health problems, such as liver problems, acne breakouts, high blood pressure, low sperm count, or prostate enlargement, then it can have a negative impact on your overall health and well-being. Talk to a doctor if your testosterone is causing you problems.
Masturbation has a minor effect on testosterone. It doesn’t cause any negative or long-term impact on T-levels.
Testosterone can increase when masturbating but decline to normal levels after an orgasm or ejaculation. After masturbation, T-levels do not plummet below baseline levels.
Foods that can reduce testosterone levels are vegetable oils (such as corn, soybean, and canola oil), nuts and seeds, fatty fish, red reishi mushrooms, and tea (such as spearmint tea, marjoram, and green tea).
These foods and teas may be useful for women and men with very high testosterone levels.
Yes. High testosterone in women can cause weight gain around the abdomen and insulin resistance. As women get older, they need testosterone to help them manage their weight.
So, excess testosterone can interfere with normal body processes, which is why it can contribute to weight gain.
Yes. Higher levels of testosterone can tighten up the abdominal wall and cause bloating. Constipation and bloating are more likely to happen in women than men, though.
Yes, it can. One study evaluated the impact of too much testosterone on sleep quality. Both high and low T levels can affect sleep.
Based on the results, short-term administration of high-dose testosterone makes a person sleep fewer hours. It also worsens their sleep apnea.
Yes. Testosterone sweating, or night sweats in men, often happens because of low testosterone levels.
No. Even though sexual thoughts can make you more aroused, they don’t change testosterone levels. Sexual thoughts are not enough to change testosterone in men.
Decreased sexual activity or desire can lead to a drop in serum testosterone in older men. Over 2 years, men with plummeting serum concentrations of testosterone have higher odds of experiencing a notable decrease in sexual desire and activity.
In older men, lack of sex can be a cause – not an effect – of reduced circulating testosterone.
Throughout the day, testosterone levels can swing up and down. As long as you keep it within a normal range, you have nothing to worry about.
But, in some cases, the T levels can go well over the normal threshold and cause a range of problems.
If you recognize the signs of high testosterone in a man or woman, it’s best to talk to a specialist. They can suggest the ideal course of action that can mitigate your particular health problem.
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