Testosterone is known as "the male hormone", but women do produce small
amounts throughout their lives -- about one-seventh the amount per day that
In women, testosterone is produced half in the ovaries and half in the adrenal
glands. After menopause, testosterone production decreases gradually by one
third of premenopausal levels (unlike estrogen production which decreases
dramatically). In women who have had their ovaries removed, testosterone
levels drop by half.
Women on estrogen replacement therapy have further reduced testosterone
In women, testosterone helps maintain muscle and bone mass and contributes
to the libido (sex drive).
Benefits of testosterone supplementation in women with "low testosterone"
include increased bone mass; increased muscle mass; increased strength; increased
libido; and improved quality of life ("I just feel better").
Side effects of testosterone in women include acne; increased facial hair
growth; head hair loss; and decreased HDL ("good" cholesterol).
Who may be a candidate for testosterone blood level testing? Menopausal
women with complaints of decreased libido; women who have had their ovaries
removed; women who have lost pituitary function (as a result of surgery or
certain medical problems); and menopausal women with advanced osteoporosis.