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  • Michael Frey, MD

Elevated Testosterone

Testosterone is a hormone produced mainly in men. But women also produce testosterone in the ovaries, fat cells, and adrenal cortex. Although considered a male hormone, testosterone plays an important function in a woman's reproductive cycle and general health. Both men and women make testosterone but in varying amounts.

Signs of high testosterone in women

  • Oily skin

  • Aggression

  • Decreased breast size

  • Increased muscle mass

  • Menstrual abnormalities or absence of periods

  • Excess body hair, specifically hair growth on chin or upper lip

  • Acne especially around jaw or chin

  • Male pattern baldness

  • Enlarged clitoris

  • Deepening of the voice

  • Low sex drive

  • Infertility

What Causes High Testosterone in Women?

2. Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH)

3. High Insulin & Blood Sugar Levels

4. Thyroid disorders

5. Stress

6. Tumors of ovaries or adrenal glands

7. Medications - Danazol (used to treat endometriosis), corticosteroids, fluoxetine

How To Treat High Testosterone

  • During menopause due to reduced estrogen levels, testosterone levels may rise. These are best treated with hormone therapy (HT).

  • In the case of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the treatment is primarily based on the treatment of symptoms such as acne, hair growth, or irregular periods. Usually, birth control pills are the best choice. Spironolactone is a diuretic that helps regulate water and salt levels in the body. It is often used to reduce excessive female hair growth. It does this by slowing down the production of androgen sex hormones, including testosterone. Metformin is used to treat diabetes and is commonly used in women with PCOS. It helps with high testosterone by lowering blood sugar and regulating insulin levels.

  • If the high testosterone is due to congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), glucocorticoids are used to treat the low cortisol production and the corresponding increase in production of androgens by the adrenal glands.

  • Making certain lifestyle changes such as regular exercise or weight loss is also beneficial.

  • Cosmetic procedures such as bleaching facial hair, shaving, using products such as benzoyl peroxide to manage oily skin, or advanced procedures such as electrolysis and laser therapy are preferred by some women.

  • Herbal remedies such as licorice, saw palmetto, and black cohosh have anti-androgenic properties.


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