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Do women have testosterone?

Do women have testosterone?


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In a documentary on fitness I saw it was stated that women can't get big like men because of their low concentration of testosterone. If it is true that women have testosterone, where is it made? Why do some women, especially later in life, develop facial hair (though obviously not as much as men)? Do men also have "female" hormones in their body?


Yes, they do. The ovaries produce both testosterone and estrogen. Relatively small quantities of testosterone are released into your bloodstream by the ovaries and adrenal glands. Sex hormones are involved in the growth, maintenance, and repair of reproductive tissues [1].

The serum testosterone level in women with no acne, hirsutism, or menstrual dysfunction is 14.1 +/- 0.9 ng/dL (nanograms per decilitre) [2]. An average adult man has 270-1,070 ng/dL serum testosterone [3].

Men have female sex hormones too. For a prepubescent male, estrogen levels are expected to be between 1 and 3.7 ng/dL. During puberty, normal levels fall between 2.3 and 8.4 ng/dL. Levels for an adult male should be between 2.5 and 5 ng/dL [4].


References:

  1. WebMD, LLC. Normal Testosterone and Estrogen Levels in Women.
  2. Ayala C, Steinberger E, Smith KD, Rodriguez-Rigau LJ, Petak SM. Serum testosterone levels and reference ranges in reproductive-age women.
  3. Alexia Severson. Testosterone Levels by Age. Healthline Networks, Inc.
  4. wiseGEEK.com. What Are Normal Estrogen Levels in Men? (Measurements cited in picograms per millilitre, converted to ng/dL)

Healthy young males have estradiol levels in the area of 20-30 pg/ml. Also, estrogen is a group of hormones, including estradiol and estrone for example. You shouldn't think of any hormones as women hormones or men hormones really, as both genders have them all, albeit in different proportions, and generated often through different pathways/organs.

this link is the best i could find within a few seconds of a google search: http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/273153-overview it will really describe where and what hormones are created where and in what quantities, as well as how and where they can convert within the body into more potent steroids.


If You Have These 7 Personality Traits, You Might Have High Levels Of Testosterone

When we think of hormones, we tend to think about how they affect parts of our health such as our mood, our skin, or our energy levels. But hormones can also play a role in our personality, especially when it comes to testosterone. There are a number of personality traits that are linked to high levels of testosterone, and understanding this connection might help give you a better idea of the fascinating ways your personality can be shaped by your biology.

"Generally hormones, like testosterone, and other chemicals in our body can influence the way we perceive and then react to situations," licensed psychologist Ashley B. Hampton, PhD tells Bustle. They can affect people differently, and they can also manifest themselves differently in specific situations.

Although high testosterone levels are often linked to higher levels of less desirable traits such as anger or aggression, not all traits that result from the hormone are negative, and they can often work in your favor.

Not everyone who has these traits necessarily has higher levels of testosterone, but research shows that those who have more of the hormone tend to fall into these categories. Here are six personality traits that may indicate you have high levels of testosterone, according to experts.


Normal Levels of Testosterone in Women

As previously mentioned, assessing what is to be considered as acceptable testosterone levels in women is not always easy. There are no set national guidelines, and the fact that laboratories and medical centers can each have their own set of standards makes this type of diagnosis all that much more difficult.

Although the National Institutes of Health have placed the normal testosterone levels in women at 30 – 95 ng/dL, other reports from different laboratories state that it can be anywhere from 8 – 60 ng/dL or 15 – 70 ng/dL for total testosterone readings. This discrepancy can make it difficult for doctors who are not hormone replacement therapy specialists to know when and how to treat a female for Low T.


The Female Hormone Cycle

Below is a quick week-by-week guide that reveals a few of the many ways your hormones are impacting you throughout the four weeks of your cycle—spanning from the first day of your period through the day before your next period.

To get a fully-detailed view of how your hormones are impacting you all cycle long, get Gabrielle’s book, 28 Days: What Your Cycle Reveals About Your Moods, Health & Potential at Amazon.com. This is the book that launched the cycle-syncing movement!

You can also find out more about how your hormones impact you with Gabrielle’s free Hormonology Guides and free Hormonology eBooks.

And download her popular, groundbreaking Hormone Horoscope App from the App Store or Google Play.

Week 1 Day 1 (first day of period) to Day 7: Estrogen rises

During your Week 1, estrogen starts out at its lowest point and begins a steady climb. For the first day or so of this cycle week, the low level of this hormone combined with period-related aches and fatigue may make you a bit quiet and have you preferring to stay close to home.

However, as estrogen rises throughout this cycle week, this hormone will be boosting your mood, energy and patience and ratcheting up your desire for adventure and to socialize.

You become more and more optimistic and motivated, your verbal skills and memory improve and it’s easier to absorb new facts and learn new skills.

For some women, these hormone-fueled benefits kick in quickly for others it takes a few days or longer. It depends on your personal sensitivity to hormone fluctuations as well as if you’re eating enough iron-rich foods to make up for iron loss as you bleed during menstruation. (When iron dips, it can trigger fatigue, fogginess and a down mood. If you’re not getting enough iron in your diet, ask your healthcare provider if you can take an iron supplement.)

Some other effects to look forward to in your Week 1: You have more interest in romance and your libido climbs steadily. As a result, you may seek out ways to meet new people or spend more time with your current partner.

You’re also building more muscle and building it faster when you do resistance exercises, such as lifting weights or using resistance bands, due to rising estrogen.

Rising estrogen also has a slight appetite-suppressing effect, which makes it a bit easier to eat smaller portions and opt for healthier foods.

You may find that chronic or recurring health issues, such as asthma, eczema and irritable bowel syndrome, crop up at the start of your Week 1. This is because, even though your estrogen level is climbing daily, you still start out with a relatively low level of this hormone. However, as estrogen continues to climb throughout this week, symptoms generally lessen.

Week 2 Day 8 to ovulation (which is Day 14 in a 28-day cycle): Estrogen and testosterone rise till they peak

Estrogen continues to rise all throughout your Week 2 and, as it does, it revs all the positive effects you experienced during your Week 1: Your mood, energy and patience continue to increase, you crave adventure and new experiences and you’re happiest when surrounded by lots of people and engaged in conversation.

High estrogen also makes you braver, more confident and ready for a challenge. You’re thinking quickly and learning new facts and skills more easily.

During this cycle week, you’re more coordinated and have faster reaction times, your verbal skills peak and you’ve got a sharper memory.

High estrogen triggers a greater output of pain-masking endorphins in the brain, which means uncomfortable activities—such as going to the dentist or getting a flu shot—will hurt less this week than during other weeks of your cycle.

The high level of this hormone is also making you more self-assured about your appearance. In fact, estrogen is actually boosting your attractiveness by prompting subtle shifts in soft tissue that make your facial features slightly more symmetrical.

You tend to be a bit less hungry due to rising estrogen’s slight appetite-suppressing effect. During ovulation, research shows your appetite drops even further, leading to eating less than during any other time in your cycle. You’ll find it’s also easier to opt for lighter, healthier foods since estrogen increases willpower (boosting your ability to resist temptation) and revs your motivation to reach good-for-you goals.

You build more muscle and build it faster when you do resistance exercises during the first half of your cycle—your Week 1 and Week 2—compared to when doing them in the second half of your cycle—your Week 3 and Week 4—thanks to rising estrogen.

One other hormone that’s key in your Week 2 is testosterone, which rises during the latter part of this week. When that happens, it tends to make you more impulsive, daring and competitive. Your libido is high all during your Week 2, however, when testosterone spikes, it boosts you libido even higher.

One downside of your Week 2: Some women experience anxiety or greater stress during this cycle week due to high estrogen triggering excessive arousal in the brain. Meditation, yoga, moderate aerobic exercise (such as brisk walking) and chamomile tea all help reduce this hormone-fueled anxiety.

Week 3 Begins the day after ovulation and lasts 8 days (which is Day 15 to Day 22 in a 28-day cycle): Progesterone rises estrogen and testosterone drop the first half this week, then estrogen rises again

Your Week 3 is really a two-parter: During the first half, you can experience a “pre-PMS” phase. The symptoms are like a shorter, less intense version of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and may include irritability, fatigue and a down mood. Like PMS, this pre-PMS phase is also caused by plunging estrogen. While most women are aware that estrogen plunges once in their cycle—in the six days before their period—not many realize there are actually two estrogen dips every cycle (see chart above).

Luckily, by the second half of your Week 3, estrogen rises again, putting a stop to any annoying pre-PMS symptoms you’ve experienced, which helps level out your mood.

Progesterone rises throughout your Week 3 and, as it does, it slows you down and makes you quieter, more cautious and a bit foggy and physically fatigued. That’s because progesterone is a sedating hormone. If you’re sensitive to progesterone, this can be a cycle phase when you experience bouts of sadness or crying.

During your Week 3, progesterone has you craving favorite comfort foods that are high in fat and calories. Your appetite is also greater and you’re hungrier more often, so you tend to eat more at meals and snack more frequently. All this is because your body thinks you might have gotten pregnant during ovulation, so progesterone wants you to eat enough for two.

If you eat too little during this cycle phase (because you’ve skipped a meal or didn’t eat enough at a meal), you run the risk of experiencing a dramatic shift in mood that leads you to feeling angry or sad. That’s because many women are more sensitive to drops in blood sugar during this cycle week due to progesterone. Simply eating regularly and at the first signs of hunger pangs can help fix this and keep your mood stable.

Other side effects of progesterone: It can trigger constipation because it slows down digestion as a way to help your body absorb more nutrients from food in case you got pregnant. And, it prompts water retention, causing temporary bloating.

On the upside, you’re burning up to 30% more fat when you exercise thanks to the combination of estrogen and progesterone making your body more efficient at using fat for fuel. Bonus: Exercising reduces hormone-triggered water retention by helping you sweat out excess fluid.

Your libido tends to drop significantly as a result of progesterone. However, research shows this same hormone makes you feel emotionally closer to your mate, so you may crave more hugs and handholding.


Yes. Estrogen levels fall at menopause. This is a natural transition for all women between ages 40 and 55. The decline in estrogen can happen abruptly in younger women whose ovaries are removed, resulting in so-called surgical menopause.

Perimenopause is the period of transition before menopause. The first natural decline in estrogen levels starts during this phase. Other physiological changes also start. Women going through perimenopause may experience weight gain along with other menopause symptoms. For instance, there may be irregular menstrual periods, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness.

On average, menopause occurs at age 51. When it does, a woman's body produces less estrogen and progesterone. The drop of estrogen levels at menopause can cause uncomfortable symptoms, including:

Some women experience moodiness. That may or may not be related to the loss of estrogen. Lower levels of estrogen may also increase a woman's risk for heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis and fractures.


Another one of the causes of high testosterone in women is late-onset congenital adrenal hyperplasia. The adrenal glands cause your body to disrupt the delicate balance of hormones in your body, resulting in too much testosterone. A hormonal test by a medical professional may be enough to diagnose this issue.

Diabetes may also be one of the culprits behind your high testosterone levels. Diabetes is a complicated disease, and the connection between diabetes and obesity may be partially responsible for these fluctuations in testosterone levels. However, the symptoms of high testosterone are the same as the above diseases—Keeping your diabetes under control is one way to fight any symptoms you might be experiencing


The Biology of Relationship Infidelity

In the movie Unfaithful, which many consider the gold standard among films about infidelity, Diane Lane’s character seems to have it all: a nice house, kids, and a hunky, albeit slightly boring, husband (Richard Gere). Yet, following a chance encounter with an attractive younger man (Olivier Martinez), she finds herself being, well, unfaithful. Why would she risk the stability in her reasonably happy marriage by cheating?

There are lots of reasons why people would risk their relationship by committing infidelity. It could be something about the cheater (their personality or self-esteem), something about the relationship (not satisfying or unfulfilling), or something about the situation (the person just had the chance). However, there could also be underlying biological and hormonal factors that, at least partially, influence cheating behavior. (See this video on "The Science of Cheating")

Hormones

Research has identified a link between relationship status and men’s testosterone levels (Burnham et al., 2003). Specifically, men who were in a committed romantic relationship had testosterone levels that were 21% lower than men who were single. Similarly, a separate study found that men who had higher testosterone levels reported more interest in having sex outside of their relationships, which, assuming his partner does not condone, is essentially cheating (McIntyre et al., 2006).

In a 2019 study, researchers took saliva samples from 225 middle-aged European men and also asked about whether they had been faithful in their current relationship (Klimas et al., 2019). In the sample, 37.5% of the men reported that they had cheated. Researchers also found that those who had committed infidelity were also more likely to have higher testosterone levels compared to those who did not report cheating. These types of effects aren’t just limited to men: Research also suggests that women with higher levels of estrogen may be more likely to cheat (Durante & Li, 2009).

Now, in light of these findings you may wonder about your current partner’s hormone levels. Though it may be tempting to surreptitiously use a testing kit to detect a partner’s testosterone and estrogen levels, we don’t need to go to all that trouble there’s a much easier way to detect hormone levels. How? By listening to our partners’ voices (O’Connor, Re, & Feinberg, 2011). Men with deeper voices (e.g., Barry White, George Clooney, Morgan Freeman, and others) have higher testosterone levels, while women with higher voices (e.g., Taylor Swift or Katy Perry) have more estrogen. If voice pitch relates to hormone levels, it may link to cheating as well.

It seems we intuitively link infidelity and voice pitch. In one study, participants listened to audio clips of male and female voices that had been digitally altered to be higher or lower in pitch. Based on their voice, participants then indicated how likely each person would be to cheat. The results revealed that participants considered men with masculine deep voices and females with feminine high voices as more likely to cheat than men with high voices, or women with deep voices. Although deep male voices are typically more attractive, when women desire a long-term relationship, they tend to avoid the low-pitched male voices because of the male’s perceived potential for cheating (O’Connor et al., 2014). In contrast, when considering short-term relationships where cheating is less of a concern, women preferred men with more masculine voices.

Ovulatory Cycle

For women, their ovulatory cycle in another biological factor that may influence her likelihood of cheating (Pillsworth & Haselton, 2006). Specifically, women are more likely to cheat when they are most likely to get pregnant (i.e., when they are ovulating). Whoa: This seems like an absolutely terrible idea, so why would this be? Evolutionarily speaking, women should desire to obtain the best genes possible (think Channing Tatum, Jason Derulo, or Zack Efron) for their offspring. But such a sexy mate may not stick around to raise the child, so she needs to have a more stable partner who will provide security (think Phil from Modern Family)—which is why a woman may decide to cheat rather than abandoning her primary partner altogether. As a result, if a woman finds herself in a relationship with a lesser quality partner (think Napoleon Dynamite), she’ll cheat when she is most fertile so that her offspring will have the benefit of better genes. Of course, the hope here would be that old Napoleon wouldn’t figure it out.

These biological influences might make it sound like a person can’t help cheating because he or she is at the mercy of their hormones. However, that is not what the research shows. If biology were destiny, then every high-testosterone male and high-estrogen female would be a serial cheater, which clearly isn’t the case. Rather, hormones may make resisting harder, but people have the ability to be self-aware and self-reflective and thus should be held accountable for their own choices.

Interested in what type of person gets cheated on more? Click here.

To learn more about the psychology of relationships, see my new book Stronger Than You Think: The 10 Blind Spots That Undermine Your Relationship. and How to See Past Them. You can also follow me on Twitter.

Facebook image: fizkes/Shutterstock

Burnham, T. C., Chapman, J. F., Gray, P. B., McIntyre, M. H., Lipson, S. F., & Ellison, P. T. (2003). Men in committed, romantic relationships have lower testosterone. Hormones and Behavior, 44(2), 119–122.

Durante, K. M., and Li, N. P. (2009). Oestradiol level and opportunistic mating in women. Biology Letters, 5, 179-182.

Klimas, C., Ehlert, U., Lacker, T. J., Waldvogel, P., & Walther, A. (2019). Higher testosterone levels are associated with unfaithful behavior in men. Biological Psychology, 146.

McIntyre, M., Gangestad, S. W., Gray, P. B., Chapman, J., Burnham, T. C., O’Rourke, M. T., & Thornhill, R. (2006). Romantic involvement often reduces men’s testosterone levels–but not always: The moderating role of extrapair sexual interest. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91(4), 642-651.

O’Connor, J., Re, D., & Feinberg, D. (2011). Voice pitch influences perceptions of sexual infidelity. Evolutionary Psychology, 9, 64-78.

O’Connor, J. J. M., Pisanski, K., Tigue, C. C., Fraccaro, P. J., & Feinberg, D. R. (2014). Perceptions of infidelity risk predict women’s preferences for low male voice pitch in short-term over long-term relationship contexts. Personality and Individual Differences, 56, 73–77.

Pillsworth, E. G., & Haselton, M. G. (2006). Male sexual attractiveness predicts differential ovulatory shifts in female extra-pair attraction and male mate retention. Evolution and Human Behavior, 27(4), 247-258.


Symptoms of Testosterone Deficiency

Still, doctors continue to prescribe its usage off-label, and the pharmaceutical industry certainly hasn't discouraged them from doing so. Among the symptoms they cite are:  

  • diminished sexual pleasure
  • decreased sensitivity of breast and genital tissues
  • decreased orgasmic response
  • decreased libido
  • low energy
  • depression

If you have been experiencing any of these symptoms over a long span of time, and it has been causing you personal distress, you should certainly talk to your gynecologist or primary care physician. If they can't help, they may be able to refer you to another medical practitioner who specializes in female sexual functioning, or to another sexuality professional.

Testosterone replacement, however—available in oral estrogen-androgen combinations, injectable, and implantable forms, and in compounded testosterone creams – may not be the answer. And the truth is, there is no actual metric by which doctors can measure and determine whether or not your testosterone levels are "low."

Luckily, there are so many options these days. And the North American Menopause Society has even put together a free app called MenoPro that looks at a woman's health history and offers guidance for what women can do.

In the end, the best thing you can do is due diligence. Do your own research. Talk to your doctor. Consider all of the risks and benefits.


Sexuality, Gender and Justice

In February 2020, the families of three cisgender girls filed a federal lawsuit against the Connecticut Association of Schools, the nonprofit Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference and several boards of education in the state. The families were upset that transgender girls were competing against the cisgender girls in high school track leagues. They argued that transgender girls have an unfair advantage in high school sports and should be forced to play on boys&rsquo teams.

Conservatives around the country have jumped on the question. Attorney General Merrick Garland was pressed on the issue during his confirmation hearing last month. State legislators around the country are pushing bills that would force trans girls to compete on boys&rsquo teams. In describing the Connecticut case in the Wall Street Journal, opinion writer Abigail Shrier expressed a representative argument: when transgender girls compete on girls&rsquo sports teams, she wrote, &ldquo[cisgender] girls can&rsquot win.&rdquo

The opinion piece left out the fact that two days after the Connecticut lawsuit was filed by the cisgender girls&rsquo families, one of those girls beat one of the transgender girls named in the lawsuit in a Connecticut state championship. It turns out that when transgender girls play on girls&rsquo sports teams, cisgender girls can win. In fact, the vast majority of female athletes are cisgender, as are the vast majority of winners. There is no epidemic of transgender girls dominating female sports. Attempts to force transgender girls to play on the boys&rsquo teams are unconscionable attacks on already marginalized transgender children, and they don&rsquot address a real problem. They&rsquore unscientific, and they would cause serious mental health damage to both cisgender and transgender youth.

Policies permitting transgender athletes to play on teams that match their gender identity are not new. The Olympics have had trans-inclusive policies since 2004, but a single openly transgender athlete has yet to even qualify. California passed a law in 2013 that allows trans youth to compete on the team that matches their gender identity there have been no issues. U SPORTS, Canada&rsquos equivalent to the U.S.&rsquos National Collegiate Athletic Association, has allowed transgender athletes to compete with the team that matches their identity for the past two years.

The notion of transgender girls having an unfair advantage comes from the idea that testosterone causes physical changes such as an increase in muscle mass. But transgender girls are not the only girls with high testosterone levels. An estimated 10 percent of women have polycystic ovarian syndrome, which results in elevated testosterone levels. They are not banned from female sports. Transgender girls on puberty blockers, on the other hand, have negligible testosterone levels. Yet these state bills would force them to play with the boys. Plus, the athletic advantage conferred by testosterone is equivocal. As Katrina Karkazis, a senior visiting fellow and expert on testosterone and bioethics at Yale University explains, &ldquoStudies of testosterone levels in athletes do not show any clear, consistent relationship between testosterone and athletic performance. Sometimes testosterone is associated with better performance, but other studies show weak links or no links. And yet others show testosterone is associated with worse performance.&rdquo The bills&rsquo premises lack scientific validity.

Claiming that transgender girls have an unfair advantage in sports also neglects the fact that these kids have the deck stacked against them in nearly every other way imaginable. They suffer from higher rates of bullying, anxiety and depression&mdashall of which make it more difficult for them to train and compete. They also have higher rates of homelessness and poverty because of common experiences of family rejection. This is likely a major driver of why we see so few transgender athletes in collegiate sports and none in the Olympics.

On top of the notion of transgender athletic advantage being dubious, enforcing these bills would be bizarre and cruel. Idaho&rsquos H.B. 500, which was signed into law but currently has a preliminary injunction against its enforcement, would essentially let people accuse students of lying about their sex. Those students would then need to &ldquoprove&rdquo their sex through means including an invasive genital exam or genetic testing. And what happens when a kid comes back with XY chromosomes but a vagina (as occurs with people with complete androgen insensitivity syndrome)? Do they play on the boys&rsquo team or the girls&rsquo team? This is just one of several conditions that would make such sex policing impossible.

It&rsquos worth noting that this isn&rsquot the first time people have tried to discredit the success of athletes from marginalized minorities based on half-baked claims of &ldquoscience.&rdquo There is a long history of similarly painting Black athletes as &ldquogenetically superior&rdquo in an attempt to downplay the effects of their hard work and training.

Recently, some have even harkened back to eras of &ldquoseparate but equal,&rdquo suggesting that transgender athletes should be forced into their own leagues. In addition to all the reasons why this is unnecessary that I&rsquove already explained, it is also unjust. As we&rsquove learned from women&rsquos sports leagues, separate is not equal. Female athletes consistently have to deal with fewer accolades, less press coverage and lower pay. A transgender sports league would undoubtedly be plagued with the same issues.

Beyond the trauma of sex-verification exams, these bills would cause further emotional damage to transgender youth. While we haven&rsquot seen an epidemic of transgender girls dominating sports leagues, we have seen high rates of anxiety, depression and suicide attempts. Research highlights that a major driver of these mental health problems is rejection of someone&rsquos gender identity. Forcing trans youth to play on sports teams that don&rsquot match their identity will worsen these disparities. It&rsquos a classic form of transgender conversion therapy, a discredited practice of trying to force transgender people to be cisgender and gender-conforming.

Though this can be hard for cisgender people to understand, imagine someone told you that you were a different gender and then forced you to play on the sports team of that gender throughout all of your school years. You&rsquod likely be miserable and confused.

As a child psychiatry fellow, I spend a lot of time with kids. They have many worries on their minds: bullying, sexual assault, divorcing parents, concerns they won&rsquot get into college. What they&rsquore not worried about is transgender girls playing on girls&rsquo sports teams.

Legislators need to work on the issues that truly impact young people and women&rsquos sports&mdashlower pay to female athletes, less media coverage for women&rsquos sports and cultural environments that lead to high dropout rates for diverse athletes&mdashinstead of manufacturing problems and &ldquosolutions&rdquo that hurt the kids we are supposed to be protecting.

Are you a scientist who specializes in neuroscience, cognitive science, or psychology? And have you read a recent peer-reviewed paper that you would like to write about? Please send suggestions to Mind Matters editor Gareth Cook. Gareth, a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, is the series editor of Best American Infographics and can be reached at garethideas AT gmail.com or Twitter @garethideas.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)

Jack Turban is a fellow in child and adolescent psychiatry at the Stanford University School of Medicine, where he researches the mental health of transgender youth. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and more. Follow him on [email protected]_turban.