By Robin Nielsen, NC, BCHN
Higher levels of testosterone in women, known as androgen excess, cause an imbalance in the delicate male to female hormone ratio causing many symptoms of hormone imbalance that can be quite unpleasant and eventually lead to disease.
Women need testosterone to thrive, but it’s the more inflammatory way it’s metabolized, and the amount in comparison to estrogen and progesterone, that causes the sometimes devastating symptoms.
But it’s not hard to change this around once you understand what’s going on.
If you’ve been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) then you know that you most likely have high testosterone/DHEA levels, also known as androgens. The hormone DHEA fits into this category as well.
Just where do we make testosterone and DHEA in the body? Testosterone is made in three places: one quarter of the total testosterone your body makes is made in the ovaries, one quarter is made in the adrenal glands, and half is made in peripheral tissues throughout the body. DHEA is made in the adrenal glands and can go on to make testosterone and estrogen.
How do you know if you have high testosterone or DHEA levels?
You can test through blood through a blood draw center, or through urine using a test like the DUTCH test, but you can also look at your symptoms. In fact, symptoms are really what matter most.
See how many of these apply to you:
- Dark coarse hair growth on your chin, upper lip, upper stomach, upper thigh, upper arms or back
- Noticeable hair loss on the head – hair thinning
- Irritability or aggression
- Increased body odor
And according to Jessica Drummond of the Integrative Women’s Health Institute, with higher testosterone levels you may also notice:
- Nocturia (getting up at night to urinate)
- Pelvic pain
- Painful sex
- Bladder pain
IF YOU SUFFER from one or more of these symptoms then you most likely have PCOS, or post-birth control pill hormone imbalance.
PCOS is a metabolic dysfunction condition, so it is important to understand what is driving these higher, more potent, androgenic pathways that cause these symptoms.
Insulin resistance is one of the main causes of higher androgen production, and also inflammation. But what is causing the insulin resistance?
There are many factors that play a role in higher insulin levels and poor blood sugar regulation. Many women with the symptoms listed above don’t know that they suffer from insulin resistance, so be sure to ask your doctor for the fasting insulin blood work test.
Your goal is to get your fasting insulin levels below 5.4 to begin to reduce these symptoms.
It takes a comprehensive approach to healing these symptoms, but you can do it!
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