High testosterone can cause changes in mood, body hair, and more. A doctor can help determine the best course of treatment, which may include medications and lifestyle changes.
Testosterone (T) is a crucial sex hormone that’s most well known for
T has a role in numerous processes around the body, including the maintenance of bone and muscle mass and the storage and metabolism of body fat.
T typically occurs in much higher levels in people with penises, but it’s also present in the bodies of people with vulvas in much lower concentrations. And having balanced T levels is necessary for optimal health and growth, regardless of sex.
Let’s get into how you can recognize the signs of high T levels in people with penises and people with vulvas, how it’s diagnosed, and what to do about it.
Because testosterone is involved in the production and secretion of oil, it
Changes in hair growth —
Let’s start with an overview of the common symptoms of high T levels in people with penises:
2. Blood pressure changes
3. Sexual health
Changes in your sexual health could be a sign of abnormal T levels. This
- trouble getting or keeping an erection, also called erectile dysfunction (ED)
- a reduced desire to have sex
lower than typicalsperm count
However, ED and reduced sexual desire are signs of low T — not high T. If you experience them, you may still want to get your T levels tested.
4. Body hair
You might also
You could also
Other signs of high T in people with penises can include:
- pain in your chest
- having trouble breathing
- slurred or difficult speech
- polycythemia vera, caused by an overproduction of red blood cells
- lower levels of HDL (good) cholesterol
- heart attack
- hand or leg swelling (peripheral edema)
- benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
- sleep apnea or other sleep disorders that make it hard to breathe when you’re sleeping
- deep vein thrombosis, a blood clot in a vein in your body
- pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in your lungs
Now, let’s get into the symptoms of high T levels in people with vulvas:
1. Body hair
2. More muscle
You may notice
3. Irregular periods
4. Sexual health
Because testosterone can influence sexuality, you may notice changes in your sexual health if you have high testosterone levels, including a reduced sex drive, vaginal dryness, or difficulty getting pregnant.
People with vulvas may also notice changes in their mood. These can include:
Other signs can include:
- abnormal episodes of acne
- larger clitoris than is typical for you
- reduction in your breast size
- voice getting deeper than usual
- having trouble conceiving (infertility)
- gaining weight without any changes in diet or activity
Common causes of high T levels in people with penises include:
- Tumor growth near hormonal glands,
such asyour adrenal gland or your testicles.
- Using anabolic steroids to build muscle mass or enhance athletic performance.
- Taking T supplements or T replacement therapy (TRT) for abnormally low T levels. In this case, a doctor will closely monitor your T levels to make sure they don’t get too high.
- Accidentally touching testosterone gel. This
can causeit to absorb into your skin and make your T levels spike.
Common causes of high T levels in people with vulvas
Though some people believe that masturbating can
In fact, though more research is needed on the long-term effects of masturbation and testosterone levels, most studies have found that masturbation could actually cause a temporary increase in testosterone levels.
For instance, a 2021 study found that increased masturbation frequency was associated with
However, researchers also noted no significant change in the ratio between free testosterone, total testosterone, and cortisol, a type of stress hormone.
Keep in mind that most available research is older and focused primarily on people with a penis.
Therefore, additional studies are needed to understand how masturbation frequency may affect testosterone levels in the long run for all people.
There are two primary methods a doctor may use to diagnose high T levels:
- Physical examination: A doctor will ask questions about your overall health and look closely at any physical symptoms of high T, such as body hair growth and sex organ size (breasts, testicles, etc.)
- T blood test: A doctor will take a sample of your blood using a hypodermic needle and send it to a laboratory for analysis. This gives you a definitive measurement of T in your blood to confirm high T levels. This test is usually done in the morning when T levels are at their highest.
Treatment for high T levels depends on the cause.
Treatments for people with penises
Eliminating any external source of high T levels is often the first line of treatment for high T caused by medication or steroid use.
Stop taking anabolic steroids immediately and consult with a doctor to monitor any changes in your T levels. If you’re on T supplements or TRT, talk with a doctor about how your T levels might respond if you’re taken off those medications.
You may just want to treat the symptoms of high T levels. Keeping unwanted excess hair shaved or using facial cleaners for acne may help control your symptoms.
Making lifestyle changes can also help if you’ve been receiving T supplementation because you have low T.
Getting regular exercise and eating a diet of whole, nutrient-dense foods can help you
If a tumor is causing your T levels to spike, a doctor may recommend surgery to remove the tumor. If the tumor is cancerous, a doctor will discuss the next steps with you to determine the best course of treatment.
Treatments for people with vulvas
Treating your symptoms may be an easy initial way to reduce the effects of high T on your body.
You may decide to shave or bleach any unwanted hair or use a facial cleanser for acne to help reduce breakouts.
Exercise and a moderate diet can also help lower your T levels and
Try exercising regularly with about 30 minutes of light to moderate daily exercise. Also, try eating whole, nutrient-dense foods to lose weight or ensure you get the nutrients you need.
A doctor may recommend medications to lower your T levels, including:
- low doses of oral contraceptives (birth control pills)
- metformin (Glucophage, Glumetza, Riomet)
- spironolactone (Aldactone)
Birth control pills are known to block T levels from getting too high. Some common birth control pills used to treat high T levels include desogestrel, gestodene, and norgestimate.
Low dose contraceptives aren’t recommended if you’re planning to get pregnant.
You should also see a gynecologist before you start taking any birth control to see if there are any risks of side effects or complications from the changes that contraceptives cause in your hormones.
See a doctor as soon as possible if you experience any of the following symptoms that may mean you have high T levels:
- chest pain
- difficulty breathing
- having trouble speaking
- fainting episodes
- abnormal changes in your HDL (good) cholesterol
- having a stroke
- having a heart attack
- swelling in your hands or legs
- having trouble sleeping or breathing while you sleep
High T levels can be an issue for both people with penises and people with vulvas.
Talk with a doctor if you notice any symptoms of high T. The cause is usually treated easily, and catching it early minimizes the risk of any complications from T imbalances.