When it comes to testosterone, many people understand the important role it plays for men. Not as well known is that testosterone is critically important for women too. Yes, you read that right! Women produce testosterone. In fact, women produce more testosterone than estrogen, and the production of estrogen comes from testosterone. As a female CEO, your hormone levels can play a key part in your overall performance as the leader of your company – it’s just as important to monitor your hormone levels as it is for male CEOs.
When women hit their forties and fifties, regardless of their health, many start to feel a wide range of symptoms like fatigue, anxiety, depression, low libido, weight gain, trouble sleeping, lack of motivation, and even marital issues. If you see a general practitioner or therapist with these concerns, unfortunately their best solution is to prescribe you some sort of antidepressant: prozac, lexapro, or fluoxetine. Overall, these medications are just a bandaid, and they aren’t going to get to the root cause of your symptoms – the fact that your hormones are all out of whack.
If you’re in your late 20’s or 30’s, and you’re also feeling some of these symptoms, don’t go down the rabbit hole of WebMD to diagnose your medical condition. The reality today is that hormone disruption is happening earlier and earlier due to a number of factors: the seed oils that nearly all of our food is cooked in, BPA and other toxic chemicals, and hormonal birth control that is prescribed to girls in their early teens. As mentioned in our blog from last week, if you start to feel these symptoms, you need to get your hormone levels assessed, especially as a woman. While testosterone naturally declines with age the same way it does for men, the standard level of testosterone for a female is 15 to 70 ng/dL or 0.5 to 2.4 nmol/L.
So what is the purpose of testosterone? Testosterone plays the same role that it does for men for women (women just have smaller amounts). Normal, sustained female testosterone levels support the maintenance and healthy growth of bone tissue, increase and maintain muscle mass, supports cardiovascular health, decreases the amount of fat storage (particularly in post-menopausal women), and promote a healthy libido. Testosterone for women is more than just a “sex hormone” – it plays an integral role in overall good health and longevity.
If you get your hormones tested, and you do in fact have low levels of testosterone, it’s essential to start by making lifestyle changes. You can naturally increase your testosterone levels with a healthy diet, minimizing stress that decreases the load on your adrenal glands, a regular exercise routine (HIIT, yoga, pilates, weight lifting, walking), supplements, prioritizing sleep, and avoiding exposure to toxins like BPA, parabens, etc. If you make these changes, and you’re still feeling the symptoms of low testosterone, perhaps it’s time to consider testosterone replacement therapy.