Men are not the only ones who need to worry about low testosterone.
When you think of low testosterone, or “Low T,” you probably automatically think of men. But did you know that women’s bodies also produce and need testosterone? Just like men, as women get older, their production of testosterone decreases, and also like men, this reduction can negatively impact their health and quality of life.
Low T in women can affect mood, sexual wellness, and a recent study indicates that it can also increase a woman’s risk of cardiovascular disease. The research, which was conducted at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Göteborg, Sweden, found that low levels of androgens (male hormones) including testosterone were linked to an increase in obesity and heart disease in female mice.
The researchers found that female mice who were “androgen deficient” developed “obesity, high levels of fat in the blood and increased atherosclerosis.” They treated these female mice with what amounts to hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and they found that the body fat and atherosclerosis were significantly reduced.
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Åsa Tivesten, M.D., Ph.D., lead researcher on the study, said she hoped their conclusions lead to a better understanding of the problems of testosterone deficiency in women, and the potential benefits of testosterone replacement for women.
Other Problems with Low-T and Women
In addition to weight gain and increased risk of heart disease, there are other potential problems of low-T in women. Testosterone in women plays an important role in:
- Maintaining sex drive or libido
- Keeping bones healthy and strong
- Preserving cognitive function and preventing “foggy thinking”
- Pain management
Signs of Low Testosterone in Women
There are several signs that could indicate that you are suffering from Low T, many of these are the same as those for men with below-normal testosterone levels including:
- Poor sleep
- Unusual weight gain, particularly “belly fat”
- Low sex drive
- Loss of bone density and lean muscle
- Changes in your periods in pre-menstrual women
- Depression and/or anxiety
- Hair loss
Testosterone Therapy for Women
Women who have been diagnosed with Low T, often can benefit from testosterone optimization via bio-identical hormone replacement therapies (BHRT). Often women who are receiving BHRT for help with the symptoms of menopause, are already receiving testosterone therapy in combination with “female hormones.”
Such combinations have been proven to be the most effective way we currently have to deal with the most debilitating symptoms of menopause – hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings – as well as sexual wellness issues such as lack of libido. This current research may indicate that testosterone replacement therapies in women may also reduce the risk of heart disease, although there has yet to be a definitive human study to indicate that.
However, contrary to popular belief, today’s use of BHRT is safe and effective for most women, and may even prove to have additional benefits we have yet to discover.