“Is my testosterone too high?” might be the wrong question.
In fact, you might have the opposite problem—your testosterone might be too low.
It sounds crazy (and it is in a way), but let me explain.
One of the most common misdiagnoses I see is associated with a woman’s testosterone levels. Your medical care provider misses the mark with hormone testing and reaches the wrong conclusion:
Your testosterone is too high.
This can happen for a variety of reasons—maybe they only looked at your total testosterone (and didn’t consider your free testosterone). Maybe they did look at your free testosterone, but they ordered the wrong study.
Maybe they just made a mistake.
Regardless, the result is the same—you get told that your testosterone is too high, and treatment aimed at lowering your testosterone begins (when it’s too low already).
You can see how this could be detrimental.
Well, actually, you might not, and that’s ok—although most people are able to easily understand how low testosterone is a problem with men, not everyone can wrap their head around the idea that low testosterone is a problem for women too.
But it is absolutely is—women have testosterone in their bodies, just like men. And just like men, if your testosterone drops too low, your health will suffer.
Is My Testosterone Too High? How Women’s Bodies Differ From Men’s Hormonally
Just as men have a small amount of estrogen in their bodies, you have a small amount of testosterone in your body—about 10 times less than what a man might have. This is low in comparison, but it’s still significant.
Your testosterone isn’t just floating around doing nothing—it’s involved in many different processes in your body. From sexual desire and sleep to maintenance of bone and muscle mass, testosterone has a lot of different jobs in your body.
And losing your testosterone is a problem.
Now, if you’ve gotten your tests back and you’re wondering, “Is my testosterone too high?” You might want to get a second opinion—nothing could be worse for your low testosterone than to try to lower it further.
You see, the hormones in your body have to be kept in balance—all of them. If you’re already below normal, pushing it even lower can be nothing but detrimental (and exacerbate the symptoms you’re already having).
But what could cause this imbalance? Well, the failure to look at a calculated free testosterone test (and definitely not an analog or “direct” free T test) can loom large. In short, the only portion of your total serum testosterone that is active is your free testosterone.
Almost all of your total testosterone is soaked up by albumin and a blood globulin called SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin), rendering it effectively useless as it just floats through the bloodstream (instead of doing its job in the tissue).
These levels, or sizes, of these “sponges” can vary. Namely, your SHBG may be far too high; this is often the case if your have naturally high estrogen levels or if you are being treated with estrogens.
Keep in mind that almost every birth control preparation has estrogen in it.
So, the unbound and active testosterone that’s left over could be too little, even if your total is deemed “too high” by a lab test. And, it may be your prescribed medications influencing the issue.
This is where the misdiagnosis is likely to occur.
Unfortunately, a lot of people get lumped into a single category—PCOS.
Is My Testosterone Too High? Being Diagnosed with PCOS Regardless of Symptoms
Here’s another major problem that comes with hormone imbalances of any sort. A provider sees that your hormones are out of whack and decides that you have PCOS—without any further investigation.
You don’t have to be in the medical profession to understand why the wrong diagnosis of any disease or disorder is a problem.
This would all be fine if PCOS was the only possible cause of hormone imbalance.
You may have already guessed that it’s not.
While PCOS is one possible cause of hormone imbalance, it’s certainly not the only cause. There are many different potential causes of low testosterone in women that should be investigated before settling on PCOS as the culprit.
So, if you’re sitting there wondering, “Is my testosterone really too high?” Then it might be time to get a second opinion.
Is My Testosterone Too High? Get a Second Opinion
Low testosterone is horrible enough as it is—the last thing you want to do is make it worse through inappropriate therapy.
If you think low testosterone might be the real problem, then click here to learn more about the symptoms of low testosterone in women.
And make certain you’ve got the right diagnosis.