What Causes Women to Have High Testosterone Levels?

When you're a young girl, your testosterone levels start to increase. These levels fluctuate according to your menstrual cycle and peak during your early twenties. Then, as a woman ages, her levels naturally drop and plateau. Some of the symptoms of high testosterone in women are polycystic ovary syndrome may be a warning sign that you have an abnormally high testosterone level. Your doctor may recommend a gynecological exam if you've noticed acne, weight gain, or a missed period.

Congenital adrenal hyperplasia

Congenital adrenal hyperplasia affects the adrenal glands, which sit on top of the kidneys. They produce hormones that control body weight, blood pressure, and stress responses. However, because of a genetic mutation, adrenal glands cannot produce enough cortisol, which regulates energy and salt levels. So instead, the glands produce a higher concentration of precursor steroids, similar to the male hormone testosterone. This excess testosterone in the body leads to the development of male characteristics, such as early puberty.

Usually, children switch off the production of sex steroid hormones during childhood. However, untreated congenital adrenal hyperplasia produces too much testosterone, resulting in rapid growth in boys and early virilization in girls. The effects of this hormonal imbalance on the body may range from premature puberty in boys to the fusion of bones in girls.

Type 2 diabetes

A recent study found that low testosterone can increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Although the study did not specifically link low testosterone levels to diabetes, it suggests that testosterone levels in fat tissues may be a risk factor. In addition, low testosterone levels have been linked to cardiovascular disease, and men with diabetes have an increased risk for heart disease. As a result, some men choose to address low testosterone levels through medical treatments. Hormone therapy is one such treatment.

Moreover, plasma cFT showed an inverse relationship with the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and the correlation grew incrementally from the lowest to the highest quartile. While this association was not significant in women with higher testosterone levels, it could suggest that testosterone may play a role in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes in young women. However, more studies are needed to understand the exact position of testosterone in insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes risk in women.


In a recent study, researchers discovered that high testosterone levels in women are linked to increased risks of metabolic syndrome, coronary heart disease, and insulin resistance. The researchers studied 344 women aged 65 to 98 and assessed their total and free testosterone levels using ultrasensitive assays. These two measures correlated with each other and with insulin resistance. Women in the top quartile of testosterone levels had a three-fold more significant risk of coronary heart disease and metabolic syndrome than those in the bottom quartile.

The increased testosterone levels found in women are often a symptom of polycystic ovary syndrome. This syndrome is strongly associated with an increased risk of diabetes. In addition, in men, insulin-resistant men are usually prescribed androgen deprivation therapy, which lowers testosterone levels and increases the risk of diabetes. In women, however, insulin resistance may not contribute to high testosterone levels.

Polycystic ovary syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a multifactorial endocrine disorder characterized by abnormal hormone levels. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, helps move glucose into cells, broken down to provide energy. Insulin resistance occurs when the body's tissues are resistant to insulin. To compensate for this, the body produces more insulin than usual. High insulin levels cause the ovaries to have too much testosterone, which interferes with follicle development and regular ovulation.

A blood test can help diagnose PCOS. Women with high testosterone levels often have irregular menstrual cycles. In addition to infertility, high testosterone levels can lead to several health problems, including an increased risk of heart disease and infertility. However, many women don't even realize they have PCOS until years later. In addition, women with PCOS are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease or diabetes if they have high levels of this hormone.

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