Although it’s known as a male hormone, women also produce testosterone naturally. It’s important for many functions in the body and is believed to influence sexual function, muscle mass, energy, bone density, cognitive function, mood and the production of red blood cells. One study set out to dispel the myths of testosterone’s effect in women:
Its only role is libido
A deficiency (which occurs with aging) is known to cause anxiety, irritability and depression; lack of well-being; physical fatigue; bone loss; muscle loss; memory loss; insomnia; hot flushes; rheumatoid complaints; pain; breast pain; urinary complaints; and incontinence as well as sexual dysfunction.
Testosterone’s used to treat women who are undergoing a sex change, but the dosages used for treatment in any other case are simply not high enough to truly masculinize women. It’s dose dependant and any side effects can be swiftly dealt with by adjusting the dose.
A hoarse voice is actually common and more prevalent in women; it’s due to inflammation, allergies, infectious or chemical laryngitis; overuse of your voice; vocal cord polyps; to name a few. But there’s no evidence that testosterone causes hoarseness.
Just because men experience hair loss more than women do and they have naturally higher levels of testosterone, it doesn’t mean testosterone is to blame (in fact, dihydrotestosterone, which can be converted from testosterone, is thought to be the cause of male pattern balding).
There is a link between heart disease and anabolic or oral, synthetic steroids. But, testosterone is actually heart-protective and has been used to treat and prevent heart disease and diabetes.
High doses of oral, synthetic androgens can adversely affect the liver, non-oral testosterone (transdermal cream, implants or a patch) actually bypasses the liver.
Anabolic steroids (synthetic testosterone types) have been shown to increase aggression and rage; however, testosterone therapy actually decreases aggression, irritability and anxiety in over 90% of women treated for androgen deficiency.
It’s been established that testosterone actually decreases the risk of hormone-related breast cancer and can be seen as breast-protective.
Not tested for safety in women
There’s long-term evidence that testosterone is safe for women – in fact, even with the high doses used for gender changes (woman to man), there have been no reports of increased death, breast cancer, heart disease or other major health problems.