One of the most debilitating hormone deficiencies out there is low testosterone in women, symptoms of which range much more widely than you probably think.
Testosterone has long been used to help women with a particular set of symptoms associated with a particular problem—sexual dysfunction following menopause or surgery.
While sexual dysfunction is certainly a common symptom of low testosterone, it doesn’t tell the whole story. When it comes to low testosterone in women, symptoms can affect almost every organ in the body (though today I’ll focus on a chosen few).
Low Testosterone in Women: Symptoms You Need to Know About
Here is a short list of the symptoms of low testosterone in women:
- Decreased libido
- Less frequent sexual activity
- Fewer sexual fantasies
- Less masturbation
- Reduced concentration
- Decreased pleasure from orgasm
- Less satisfaction from sex
- Less desire for or interest in sex
- Vaginal dryness
- Hair loss
- Mood swings
- Weight gain
- Weight retention
- Deterioration of bone strength
As you can see, your sex life is powerfully influenced by your testosterone levels (and not just your estrogen levels).
Many studies support this idea—this study found that women with higher levels of testosterone found masculine features more attractive, while this study found that women who underwent testosterone replacement therapy found improvements in almost every aspect of their sex lives, from frequency of sexual intercourse and pleasure of orgasm to increased masturbation and sexual fantasies.
Another study found that women with lower levels of testosterone generally had lower libidos than their counterparts with normal levels of testosterone. Using the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI), researchers found that desire, arousal, lubrication, and orgasm were statistically significantly higher in women with higher levels of endogenous (natural) testosterone.
Yet another study found that supplementing women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder with testosterone improved both their distress with having little sexual desire and their sexual desire itself.
Convinced yet? These are probably the most noticeable symptoms when it comes to low testosterone in women, symptoms that both you and your partner will notice right away.
But they’re not the only ones.
Low Testosterone in Women: Symptoms Associated with Your Mood or Your Body
Even if your sex life isn’t taking a hit, low testosterone can wreak havoc on the rest of your body (not to mention your mind)
One study found women suffering from depression had a marked increase in mood after being put on testosterone replacement therapy and that women who took testosterone had higher levels of overall well being.
Bone density also seems to be affected by low testosterone. In another study, conducted over a 2 to 8 year period, researchers found that low testosterone levels were closely associated with loss of bone mass in both premenopausal and postmenopausal women.
Even your blood may be affected, depending on your age. Yet another study found anemia was associated with low testosterone levels.
Even if you’re experiencing few symptoms, having low testosterone can potentially be detrimental—a recent German study found that women with low testosterone had a higher risk of cardiac events. In fact, their mortality rate was just generally higher than the rest of the population.
No Matter Your Symptoms, the Only Way to Be Certain is to Get Your Levels Tested
If you think you might have low testosterone, you need to see a medical professional to be sure. A simple blood test can determine where exactly your levels lie, though determining whether you need testosterone replacement therapy depends on much more than just your testosterone levels.