Side Effects of Low T in Women
While women don’t typically produce as much testosterone as males do, there’s still an amount present that women depend on for a number of bodily functions. When this already small amount of testosterone lowers even more, energy levels can decline, sex drives and moods can change haphazardly, and other bodily functions could be negatively affected.
How Low is Too Low in Women?
Emitted from ovaries and adrenal glands, testosterone in women naturally increases production during puberty and pregnancy, tapers off in adulthood and decreases with the onset of menopause. Normally, women produce from 15 nanograms per deciliter to 70 ng/dL. A majority of testosterone production happens in adolescence, but the body maintains this level until a woman reaches mid-adulthood.
Now, because women normally produce a very small amount of testosterone, when that level drops even lower, many symptoms can arise.
Sometimes, women experience the effects of low testosterone before menopause, usually signaled by a sudden drop in energy levels (even when getting good rest), weight gain, sleep apnea and other symptoms.
Can’t Get Out of Bed
When testosterone levels in women drop, energy levels do too. If you’re feeling drained of energy throughout the day, you suddenly find it difficult to get out of bed, or your usual physical activities have become too hard for you to finish, anything could be the culprit. One of the biggest signs that this fatigue could be related to low testosterone levels is if it cannot be helped with sleep.
If you’re getting plenty of rest and still find yourself tired all the time, the underlying issue could be a hormone deficiency, or low testosterone. Go see your doctor to get a real diagnosis, as many medical conditions can cause fatigue, and your doctor can help rule them out.
Can’t Stay in Bed
Conversely, if you can’t sleep throughout the night, have insomnia or sleep apnea, you may have low T. While disruptions in sleep patterns can be a result of just about anything, if you haven’t gotten a decent night’s rest in over a month, you should definitely see your doctor to figure out why.
Sleep apnea is the most serious of the symptoms, as it can increase the risk of heart problems and should be diagnosed and treated. Why does reduced testosterone cause sleep disturbances in women? Scientists aren’t completely sure yet, but the theory is lowered T causes imbalances in other hormones that regulate and promote healthy sleep.
Unexpected Weight Gain
If you’ve experienced an unexpected drop in muscle mass and an increase in fat, especially around the abdomen, low testosterone might be the culprit. Often misconstrued as typical body changes as a woman ages, researchers believe that lowered testosterone is one of the most common causes of weight gain in women mid-life.
Low T in women also changes bone density and muscle tone, which significantly changes a woman’s appearance and body character. Unfortunately, most women accept this as a part of life, when really they should just see their doctor, as these symptoms are treatable and oftentimes even reversible.
Depression (Mood Changes)
Often misdiagnosed and mistreated with antidepressants, low T in women can cause mood changes, depression and other emotional issues that can be difficult to otherwise explain. While testosterone regulates libido and energy levels, it also has a big hand in mood stabilization and mental focus. When testosterone is low, neuropsychiatric symptoms like a lack of motivation and loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities can occur.
Women may not have much testosterone in their bodies, but the small amount that female bodies do produce is valuable. Responsible for mood changes, sex drives and libidos, and even energy levels, testosterone is incredibly important to women too. Low T in women can be treated and many symptoms of low T are reversible if you catch them in time. If you’ve been feeling sluggish lately, or have gained weight unexpectedly, give your doctor a call and ask about testing your hormone levels.
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