Understanding the Cause and Symptoms of Androgen Deficiency in Women
Androgen Deficiency is the medical term that is associated with low levels of testosterone in women. Androgens are hormones that are produced by both men and women that contribute to the reproductive cycle. However, androgen production tends to slow as the woman ages.
The two main types of androgens are testosterone and androstenedione. Although men have much higher levels, they are still important in women as well as they have over two hundred functions. The androgens are also converted into estrogens, which are known as the female hormones. Since androgens help prevent bone loss and regulate organ functions, a deficiency can have negative consequences on a woman’s overall health.
Symptoms of Androgen Deficiency
Some of the most common symptoms of androgen deficiency include:
- Depressed emotional state and mood swings
- Lack of motivation
- Constant feelings of fatigue
- Loss of muscle strength
Since the symptoms don’t usually reflect any type of serious illness and are commonly exhibited through non-life threatening symptoms such as fatigue, recognizing the signs and getting a proper diagnosis can be difficult. This is one of the main reasons why this condition often goes undiagnosed. However, women who fail to seek treatment may have an increased risk of bone disease. Although low androgen levels usually affect women nearing menopause due to reduced production, the illness can affect women of all ages.
How Androgen Deficiencies are Diagnosed and Treated
Although some testosterone tests are now available, androgen deficiencies can be difficult to diagnose. The reason for this is that the symptoms usually mirror those associated with other illnesses such as autoimmune disease and depression. In addition, blood tests are not often considered a reliable method of measuring testosterone levels because they are usually very inaccurate at measuring low levels.
Although the evidence is mixed, some researchers believe that estrogen and testosterone medications are an effective way of increasing the libido and treating other symptoms such as a lack of energy and lethargy. These medications can either be injected or taken orally in pill form. Although there are many different forms of testosterone therapy, it is dangerous for women to use these products without consulting a physician because the levels of testosterone contained may be too high. In fact, physicians will often recommend that it be used with some form of estrogen therapy as well to offset the high levels of testosterone.
It is important to note that there are also dangers that are believed to be associated with testosterone and estrogen therapy such as an increased risk of developing breast cancer and negative effects on the blood cholesterol level. However, due to a lack of research on this condition, the negative side effects are often disputed.