Although it belongs to a class of androgenic hormones, testosterone is not a just for males only. This steroid hormone, which forms the basis of the male characteristics such as facial hair, deep voice and large muscles, is also produced by the female body. After long believing that it is useless to women, scientists have recently discovered that testosterone plays a key role in the female body. Below we discuss the basic functions of testosterone in women.
Testosterone production in women
During puberty and adolescence, 50% of the testosterone circulating in the blood is produced in the interstitial cells of the ovaries. Adrenal glands and other adipose tissues produce the rest. Like male testes, a woman’s ovaries are stimulated to produce testosterone by signals of luteinizing hormone. Women produce much less testosterone than men, but this is no less important for them.
After puberty women experience cyclical fluctuations in testosterone levels. They begin to grow in the first half of the cycle and reach their highest level in the middle of the menstrual cycle. Just like men, the production of testosterone is age dependent. It begins to decline from the age of 20 and continues to decline until menopause. For example, a 40-year-old woman has about half of the testosterone levels she had during puberty.
The role of testosterone in women
Although further research is needed to determine the exact function of testosterone in women, it is clear that testosterone plays an important role in the female body.
Essential element for the production of estrogen
Testosterone is a direct precursor of estradiol, a hormone from the estrogen group. Maintaining appropriate levels of testosterone in women is therefore important for maintaining the production of estrogen, a basic female hormone that regulates many reproductive functions such as ovulation, and is essential for women’s health, youthfulness and well-being.
All testosterone produced by the female body is converted into estrogen. Parts remains in the blood and binds to globulin or albumin. The biologically available testosterone can be used by the body’s cells by interacting with androgen receptors.
An indispensable factor for sexuality
Testosterone plays an important role in regulating female sexual functions, including sexual desire, excitement and orgasms. Estradiol is a byproduct of testosterone metabolism, which together with estrogen regulates many female sexual and reproductive functions, including menstruation, vaginal lubrication, and possibly sexual arousal.
There is also evidence that testosterone plays an important role in regulating desire and sexual response in women. Studies have shown a correlation between low testosterone levels and decreased orgasmic capacity, lack of sexual pleasure and decreased libido.
Many studies have shown an improvement in sexual function in postmenopausal women taking testosterone supplements. These women with very low testosterone levels have experienced an increase in their libido, as well as an increase in the number of orgasms and the intensity of the sexual drive.
A key role in the functioning of the reproductive system
There is also evidence that testosterone directly affects the functioning of the female reproductive system. Testosterone levels in women affect the clitoris, uterus, mammary gland, vagina and ovaries. This hormone has been shown to play an important role in sexual arousal, a process characterized by increased blood flow to the genitals and is the basis of female genital lubrication.
An essential hormone for a healthy body
Just like men, women need testosterone to build muscle mass. Many studies have shown that overweight women lose weight more effectively by taking testosterone supplements. Testosterone is also essential for bone health. Reduced testosterone levels are associated with lower bone mineral density and an increased risk of osteoporosis.
Testosterone in women increases energy, improves cognitive health and helps combat stress. Fluctuations in testosterone can cause anxiety, depression or nervousness. Research suggests that testosterone deficiency leads to an increased risk of heart problems in women who have had a hysterectomy.