11 Symptoms of Low Testosterone in Women
If you’re a woman and experiencing one or more of the following symptoms, you might be suffering from low testosterone:
- Fatigue and exhaustion
- Mood swings, depression, and/or low mood
- Difficulty concentrating
- Short-term memory loss
- Decreased interest in sex and difficulty climaxing during intercourse
- Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
- Loss of muscle mass
- Changes in bone density
- Hair loss or thinning hair
- Dry or thinning skin
Let’s look at these symptoms in detail and discuss how they manifest.
1. Fatigue and Exhaustion
Testosterone plays a big part in the energy levels of both men and women.
Decreased testosterone levels may contribute to feeling exhausted and drained. If you’re constantly tired, even when you’re able to obtain a full night’s sleep, you could be experiencing one of the most visible and annoying symptoms of low testosterone. In women, low testosterone can be just as physically debilitating as in men.
You may even find it difficult to sleep through the night. Disrupted sleep is another common symptom for women with low testosterone. A healthy hormonal balance is key to achieving consistent, restful sleep.
2. Mood Swings, Depression, and Low Mood
In addition to controlling energy levels, testosterone and other hormones play important roles in mood regulation — hormone imbalances can play havoc with how a woman feels on any given day.
Even if you are not experiencing severe depression, you may still be having unpredictable mood swings, or even just a general “low” feeling that we often refer to as low mood as a result of low testosterone.
Here’s something important you may want to consider — if you’re leaning towards antidepressants as an option to deal with your depression, then you may want to talk to your doctor first about the possibility that your testosterone is low. It might be possible to treat the source of the overall problem (hormone levels), rather than simply improving a single symptom.
If you are a woman experiencing symptoms related to unusual mood regulation, talk to your doctor about the possibility of low testosterone.
Another possible symptom of abnormally low testosterone levels in women is anxiety. Although anxiety caused by low testosterone is usually mild, it can possibly cause panic attacks.
Mood-related symptoms that women experience due to low testosterone, like anxiety and depression, occur because hormonal fluctuations often cause changes in brain chemistry that affect mood and neuropsychiatric regulation.
If you suddenly experience bouts of anxiety, especially if you have never had anxiety issues in the past, then you may want to talk to your doctor about being tested for low testosterone.
4. Difficulty Concentrating
If you find that you are having difficulty concentrating on normal tasks, especially when you have always been able to concentrate easily on the task at hand, then you may be suffering from low testosterone.
One of the difficulties in detecting low testosterone in women is that the symptoms, like difficulty concentrating, often mimic the classic signs of aging.
Always check with your doctor before starting testosterone replacement therapy to make sure you are not suffering from the normal symptoms of aging or some other more serious disease, like heart disease, diabetes, or cancer.
5. Short-Term Memory Loss
A related symptom that can be mistaken for the aging process is confusion or difficulty with short-term memory.
The severity of memory difficulties can vary widely. In minor cases, women may feel more overloaded and have more difficulty managing a busy schedule that they used to handle with ease.
Some people suffer so severely from this symptom that they start worrying about Alzheimer’s or dementia.
If you are concerned about serious memory deficits, consider that Alzheimer’s patients typically suffer from some or all of the following:
- Difficulty communicating or finding words
- Inability to plan ahead
- Frustration when organizing daily tasks or events
- Loss of some motor function and coordination (such as walking or reaching for items)
- Socially inappropriate behavior
In other words, if you’re experiencing symptoms of mild or moderate memory loss or difficulty concentrating without the more serious signs of Alzheimer’s, consider the possibility of a hormone imbalance and check with your medical provider.
6. Decreased Interest in Sex and Difficulty Climaxing During Intercourse
Just like in men, testosterone affects sexual arousal in women. The effects of low testosterone can affect women’s sex lives in a few different ways:
- Women may experience reduced sex drive or “libido”
- Women may experience vaginal dryness, which causes painful intercourse
- Women may experience a general lack of interest in sex
- Women may experience a decrease in the ability to climax during sexual intercourse
Because all of these symptoms are often associated with low estrogen or other hormone imbalances, as well as other types of illnesses, make sure you talk to your doctor before you begin testosterone treatments.
7. Weight Gain or Difficulty Losing Weight
Many women experience progressive weight gain as a symptom of low testosterone, and low testosterone levels can even lead to obesity.
That extra body fat can produce excess estrogen, which, if your testosterone is already low, can lead to a more severe hormone imbalance.
We often see a vicious cycle — extra fat leads to extra estrogen which, in turn, drives testosterone levels even lower.
Once this cycle has started, it can be very hard to break. Getting hormone levels back to normal is the best way to get your body functioning properly again.
Many women will chalk up this weight gain to getting older, but that’s often not the case. If the root cause is a hormone imbalance or deficiency, that weight gain may be slowed or stopped, or even reversed.
8. Loss of Muscle Mass
Much as it does in men, testosterone affects muscle mass production in women. One symptom women with low testosterone often experience is a loss of muscle mass and muscle tone. They also stop seeing the results they expect when they lift weights.
Data collected by the North American Menopause Society in a study on 71 postmenopausal women who had undergone a hysterectomy supports this conclusion. The women received supplementary testosterone over a 12-week period, and gains in lean mass, chest-press power, and loaded stair-climber power were observed.
If you’re seeing a physical decline and loss of muscle mass, talk with your doctor and have your testosterone levels checked. It may be a form of “aging” that you don’t have to live with.
9. Changes in Bone Density
Testosterone works together with a form of estrogen known as estradiol to promote healthy bone growth and bone healing.
As women go about their daily activities, bone is worn away. New bone tissue is generated to repair the damage and keep the skeletal structure strong and healthy.
When these key hormones become unbalanced, this regrowth process short circuits or becomes inefficient, and the result over time is a loss of bone density.
In severe cases, this is known as osteoporosis, a condition where bones become brittle and easily damaged.
Staying active and adjusting your diet are crucial to maintaining a healthy hormonal balance and fighting a loss of bone density in general.
It’s recommended that you adjust your diet to contain less fat, and you might also consider increasing fiber by eating more fruits, vegetables, and calcium-rich foods. Also, consider talking with your doctor about calcium and vitamin D supplements.
Regular exercise—even light workouts or walking—can help stabilize hormones and resist the bone density loss that can as a result of low testosterone.
10. Hair Loss or Thinning Hair
Hair loss is one of the more visual symptoms of low testosterone, and it can drastically affect women’s self-esteem and sense of wellbeing.
Testosterone supports healthy hair production and maintenance, and an imbalance can result in patchy hair on the head, or even baldness in women.
Although hair loss from low testosterone will be most obvious on the head, hair loss on other areas of the body may also occur, though it’s typically less noticeable, particularly in women who regularly shave their legs and armpits.
If you notice that you’re not having to shave your legs or armpits as often as you normally would, or if you notice that your hair is getting patchy, you may be suffering from low testosterone.
Hair loss is one of the more obvious symptoms of low testosterone, so keep an eye out for any significant hair loss.
11. Dry or Thinning Skin
The balance between testosterone and estrogen in both men and women helps determine their skins’ thickness and texture.
Men’s skin is roughly 20% thicker than women’s, so it holds more moisture and contains more collagen.
That means women’s skin is significantly more fragile and more susceptible to thinning or losing its youthful quality as a result of low testosterone.
Premature aging due to changes in the skin’s quality is another symptom of low testosterone that can negatively affect women’s self-image and appearance, but it’s also one that could see significant improvement through treatment.
Low Testosterone in Women Is Often Misdiagnosed
Women experiencing symptoms of low testosterone often mistakenly worry more about having high testosterone, but it’s possible your “high testosterone” is actually low testosterone that’s been misdiagnosed.
Hormone imbalance is a difficult problem to pinpoint on your own, and it will likely require blood testing to identify the source of the problem and determine the proper treatment.
If you’re experiencing any of these common symptoms, it may be time to consult with a medical professional who can check your hormone levels and help you determine the best course of action.
What If My Symptoms Are Only Minor?
Many women will experience only mild or occasional symptoms of low testosterone.
In some cases, women’s hormones naturally hover very near the bottom of the “normal” range, and levels can dip into the “low” range due to any number of health factors.
If you’re one of those women, you may experience one or more of these symptoms when levels dip, and yet feel mostly fine at others.
It can be confusing to feel normal and then find yourself suffering.
In these cases, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your diet and exercise. Without the proper nutrition and maintenance, your body will not operate properly, and hormone production can easily be disrupted.
We have a few suggestions that may help you support your body’s efforts to stay above that line where the symptoms of low testosterone begin to manifest in women.
Eat Healthy Fats
Unsaturated fats are good for the body, and they help with the regulation of hormone production. To support your testosterone levels, eat foods rich in essential fatty acids, including these:
- Whole milk (fortified with vitamin D)
- Eggs (with the yolk)
These foods also contain other essential vitamins and minerals that keep your body’s complicated machinery running properly.
Cut Back on Sugar and Watch Your Alcohol, Opiate Consumption
We all know that moderation is key to maintaining our body’s proper function.
Abstaining from sugar or alcohol (which is essentially liquid sugar) isn’t required, but keeping an eye on your intake can make a difference over any significant period of time.
Reducing sugar and alcohol consumption can also be helpful if you’re struggling with weight fluctuation.
All that said, if you’re suffering from more severe or chronic low testosterone, it’s unlikely small changes to diet and exercise are going to have enough impact to relieve your symptoms.
What Do I Do If I’m Experiencing More Severe Symptoms?
Women’s bodies are complex machines with many different mechanisms all working to keep up with the busy pace of life.
These systems can malfunction for many different reasons, but an imbalance like low testosterone can lead to serious symptoms that affect women’s quality of life.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, the next best step is to consult with your doctor or book a free consultation at one of our DFW locations. We’ll discuss your symptoms, check your levels and determine if Testosterone Replacement Therapy is right for you.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy Isn’t Just for Men
These symptoms are severe. They can affect how you feel, how you look, and how happy you are going through life.
You don’t have to live that way.
Get started on the path to getting well.