Testosterone hormone therapy is beneficial for a wide variety of women’s needs, but there are a few myths surrounding the treatment. From fear of growing a beard and becoming manlier to the risk of cancer, the misconceptions surrounding the hormone therapy can keep women from living a healthy and fulfilling life.
According to a medical review1 Testosterone is the most abundant biologically active female hormone and is essential for physical and mental health in women.
The production of the essential hormone begins a slow decline after age 20, and by the time women enter menopause, they may be producing less than half the amount of testosterone they once did.
The review refutes 9 common myths and misconceptions, and provides evidence to support what is physiologically plausible and scientifically evident.
In this article Testosterone is referring to bioidentical Testosterone hormone, not synthetic. This article will not be referencing injected or orally administered Testosterone. For bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), please visit our BHRT page.
Myth 1: Women Do Not Produce Testosterone
Testosterone is the most active sex steroid in women throughout their lifespan. During pregnancy Testosterone levels increase 2.5 to 4 times the non-pregnant range.
The confusion may stem from the fact that medical publications refer to Testosterone as the “male” hormone. That’s because Testosterone levels in men is significantly higher than women. Testosterone performs a variety of functions within the female body.
Myth 2: Testosterone Therapy Is Not Safe
This is a myth that gained prominence through scandals associated with professional athletes and steroid doping practices in which Testosterone is ingested or injected. The testosterone utilized in hormone therapy is completely different than steroids. It is derived from botanical sources. The bioidentical testosterone used in replacement therapy is plant-based and contains no illegal substances or steroids.
The pellet method is the most popular and is a simple procedure with no down time. You’ll simply need to wear a bandage for a few days to ensure the area remains clean and dry and avoid swimming during that period of time.
Implants to stabilize testosterone in women have been utilized safely since 1938.
Myth 3: Testosterone’s Only Role Is For Sex Drive & Libido
Testosterone plays a role in sex drive, but it’s not the hormone’s only function. It’s necessary for building and maintaining muscle mass.
Testosterone can helps if you’re having difficulty losing or gaining weight, often feel tired after a full night’s sleep, or have low energy levels during the day.
If you don’t have appropriate testosterone levels, you may also experience cold hands and feet, have difficulty tolerating colder temperatures, and observe changes in your nails, skin and hair. A low testosterone level can easily be mistaken for hypothyroidism, making it essential that you consult with a specialist knowledgeable about hormone therapy.
Myth 4: Testosterone Makes You More Masculine
Women receiving the therapy will retain their feminine shape and some women experience a reduction in body fat. You may notice an improvement in lean muscle mass, muscle strength and faster recovery after a workout, but you won’t get big, bulky muscles.
The masculinity myth is a common misconception in part due to hormone therapy for transgender patients. The dose of testosterone administered to stabilize hormone levels is far different than that used for transitional therapy.
Myth 5: Testosterone Will Deepen Your Voice
Testosterone won’t result in hoarseness or changes in your voice, but insufficient levels of Testosterone can result in inflammation that may make your voice sound hoarse. The therapy doesn’t affect your vocal chords in any way and you won’t develop a baritone singing voice.
Myth 6: Testosterone Causes Unwanted Hair Growth Or Loss
Testosterone therapy won’t give you a beard and you won’t grow a pelt like a werewolf. If a women is given more testosterone than needed they may develop increased body hair in certain areas of the body. It can increase hair growth on the scalp for a fuller, more luxurious mane of hair but it not a treatment for women who are losing their hair. A certain amount of thinning and loss is common as you age, but testosterone therapy won’t make you lose your hair.
Hair loss is most often due to medical conditions such as diabetes or through the natural aging process. Obesity, stress, alcohol use, and a wide variety of medications also contribute to a loss of locks, but hair loss is due to genetic makeup.
Myth 7: Testosterone Makes You Aggressive
If you’re receiving hormone therapy, it won’t make you aggressive, hostile or violent. On the contrary, women with “low T” levels often experience feelings of anxiousness, irritability or mood swings that can make you feel like you don’t know yourself anymore.
As testosterone levels become more balanced, tendencies toward aggression, irritability and anxiety actually decrease. Your testosterone levels are carefully measured before any therapy begins and monitored throughout the entire course of treatment.
Myth 8: Testosterone Causes Heart Disease
The hormone does affect your heart and other organs – in a positive way. It may protect the heart by dilating blood vessels and increasing blood flow. It may also reduce risk of Type 2 diabetes by lowering insulin resistance.
Myth 9: Testosterone Therapy Damages the Liver & Causes Blood Clots
Adverse effects of Testosterone to the liver or increase blood clotting factors are extremely rare, even when high oral doses of synthetic Testosterone are taken.
Subcutaneous implants (pellets) and topical administration (creams, patches) bypass the liver. Since the liver is not needed to metabolize testosterone in this form there is reduced risk of blood clot formation.
Physical Benefits of Testosterone for Women
Balancing and stabilizing your testosterone levels has distinct advantages:
- You’ll feel more energetic
- It can restore your sex drive
- Helps address vaginal dryness
- Reduces symptoms associated with PMS
- Reduces incontinence
Testosterone is particularly important if you are post-menopausal, have had a hysterectomy, or if one or both of your ovaries have been removed. Osteoarthritis and bone loss is a very real concern for women who have gone through menopause. The therapy is equally beneficial for relieving painful menstrual cycles and alleviating hot flashes.
Deficiencies in testosterone levels have a significant impact on mood and cognitive functions. Females with low testosterone levels may experience migraines, depression and insomnia that exacerbate problems with mental clarity. Memory loss and difficulty concentrating is common with declining testosterone.
Are You A Candidate for Testosterone Therapy?
If you are experiencing any symptoms as described above, consult a medical professional experienced in hormone replacement therapy.
Hormone therapy replacement can be a safe and effective way to achieve a balance of testosterone within your body and improve your quality of life.