Testosterone Levels

I am a woman; do I need to have my testosterone levels tested?

Women’s bodies produce testosterone but in small amounts. It is needed for hormonal balance and to help women’s bodies to function normally. If your body is producing too much testosterone, you may have more body hair than average, have abnormal or no menstrual periods, or be infertile. A testosterone test, in conjunction with measuring other hormone levels, can help your health care practitioner understand what is causing your symptoms. Low testosterone   in women symptoms are also related to hormone levels in the woman’s body. Testosterone production in a woman is about 10% of the amount typically made by a man. Testosterone is produced primarily in a woman’s ovaries and adrenal glands. Along with the two other vital hormones — progesterone and estrogen — testosterone production declines as a woman ages. Low testosterone women may experience certain symptoms, the most notable symptom being low libido. However, low testosterone in women can also contribute to depression and osteoporosis.

What is Total Testosterone? 

Testosterone (the blood test more commonly authorized) tells how much testosterone is in the bloodstream all together. Some of that testosterone is bound to molecules such as SHBG (sex hormone binding globuline). When it’s bound, it does not create a physiologic sense of sexual desire. So, we also want to know about the free testosterone.

What is Free Testosterone?

Free testosterone is just that — free. It is not bound and therefore does provide some of the momentum for sexual desire based on hormones. So, knowing the free testosterone can lead the way to assessing the possible benefit of supplementing with testosterone. A woman receiving testosterone supplementation should always monitor levels with follow-up blood tests.