Although known as a man’s most faithful companion, testosterone is produced by the ovaries too! Though a woman’s body produces small amounts of the hormone, it is essential for the development of bone strength and female reproductive tissues. Having too much or too little of testosterone in the body can grossly affect your fertility and also other aspects of body functions. Apart from assisting bodily functions and development, testosterone also plays an important role in regulating the secretion of LH and FSH.
What Is Total Testosterone?
Testosterone is a sex hormone produced by the ovaries in women and also by the adrenal glands in small quantities. It belongs to a series of hormones called the androgens, which are responsible for the development of male characteristics. Testosterone can be tested in two ways namely:
- Total Testosterone : Measures the free and bound testosterone
- Free Testosterone : Measures only the free testosterone which is not attached to any molecule
Roughly, 98% of the hormone are found to be in bound form with either sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG), or albumin 1.In a nutshell, total testosterone is a grand total of the entire hormone level available in the bloodstream.
Role Of Testosterone
Present in much lower levels when compared to males, testosterone levels serves certain important functions in female which include:
- Notifies the body to make new blood cells
- Maintains bones and muscle strength during puberty
- Enhances sex drive (libido)
- Regulates the secretion of gonadotropins namely, Follicle Stimulating Hormone and Luteinising hormone, thereby, has a role to play in menstrual health
To summarize, testosterone is a crucial component of your fertility and must be kept under check.
About 4-20% of the women of reproductive age are found to be affected by PCOS worldwide 2. It is a condition that often results in irregular periods, excess androgen levels and enlargement of ovaries due to the presence of follicles (fluid - filled sacs) surrounding the eggs. This inturn leads to lack of ovulation (release of eggs during menstruation) affecting fertility. Weight gain, insulin resistance, oily skin and/or acne, and hair growth are all common signs of PCOS (usually in places like the face, chest, and back). Many women with PCOS are found to have hormonal imbalances, including elevated testosterone levels.
Should your test results indicate an elevated risk of PCOS, consulting your doctor and initiating treatment coupled with lifestyle changes can help you manage it effectively and efficiently.
When Can I Do a Testosterone Test?
Your Testosterone test does not require any special preparations. It can be performed anytime during the day.
What Can Differing Total Testosterone Levels Tell You?
1. Normal Testosterone Levels
Normal testosterone levels in females range between 0.10-0.90 nanogram/milliliter (ng/mL).
2. High Testosterone Levels
- Excessive hair growth on the body
- Irregular periods
- Balding (at the front of hairline)
- Weight gain
- Deepening of voice
- Increased muscle bulk
- Blood sugar problems
Increased levels of testosterone can also indicate PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and may experience difficulty in conceiving.
3. Low Testosterone Levels
In general, testosterone levels are low in women. But very low levels may affect a woman's overall health as this imbalance may negatively impact the functions performed by the hormone. Some common signs to look for are 5 6 :
- Diminished sex drive
- Irregular periods
- Low sex drive
- Vaginal dryness
- Changes in breast tissue
- Fatigue and weakness
- Depressed mood
Where Can I Get My Testosterone Levels Tested?
Curious to know more about your Total T levels and how you can manage your fertility better? We have got you covered.
Order your OvaScore kit and learn about all your reproductive hormones and the relevant insights from the comfort and privacy of your home.