Testosterone Myths: Female Edition

Last week, we promised in our most recent blog that we would include a full section on female-specific testosterone myths. Not being ones to disappoint, we rounded up some interesting facts and myths regarding testosterone hormone therapy for the more attractive gender. Some might be surprising, some might betray everything you know about hormones, and, heck, you might even learn something (I know I did). So without further ado, I present Testosterone Myths: Female Edition!

Take Off.

Female Testosterone Myth 1:

Testosterone is for men only.

By this point, I’m sure you’ve figured this out to be false, as testosterone plays an extremely important part in maintaining homeostasis and well being in all sexes’ bodies. While it is in much more quantities in circulation in males, testosterone is actually the most abundant biologically active hormone in the female body! Science!

Female Testosterone Myth 2:

Testosterone treatment in females isn’t well-established.

Super false. Despite many believing that hormone therapy is a relatively new concept, testosterone has been used to safely treat women as early as the 1930’s! Since then it has been established as an effective and safe treatment for women, with long term treatments recorded in up to 40 years of continuous therapy. As mentioned in our previous blog, most safety concerns from testosterone stem from the no-longer-used oral variant. All current forms monitored correctly, are reliable and harmless, even in the long term.

Female Testosterone Myth 3:

It will masculinize you.

This myth rests heavily on the current spotlighting of transgender males, or those born females who use testosterone treatments to appear more masculine. Results from these treatments include growing facial and body hair, fat redistribution, muscle definition, and enlargement of certain reproductive organs.

Okay, that sounds scary, right? What’s to remember is that in those cases individuals are taking massively larger doses of testosterone than, say, someone treated for standard HRT. And even so, in the event an individual experienced side effects, the dosage could simply be lowered or the effect treated. Additionally, lower doses introduced into female bodies have actually been shown to “increase femininity”. So outside of extremely large, abnormal doses, testosterone therapy can actually perform the opposite of masculinization!

Female Testosterone Myth 4:

It will permanently lower the pitch of my voice.

This myth also rests on the use of testosterone on transgender patients, but also on the notion that testosterone is a “male only” hormone.  While claims have been made about certain doses through questionnaires and various other reports, none have been substantiated medically or scientifically. In all actuality, there isn’t even a mechanism in which testosterone could be expected to affect the voice anyway. Simply put, there is no evidence to support voice changes in women who receive standard hormone replacement treatments.

Female Testosterone Myth 5:

It will make me lose my hair!

Many may be happy to know that this is also entirely false. While testosterone is prevalent in males, and males tend to lose their hair as they age moreso than women, that occurs for an entirely different reason than the loose connection that was just made regarding testosterone. Hair loss is caused by many factors (including genetics) and, honestly, isn’t very well understood overall because of how complicated it is. It is believed that Dihydrotestosterone (or DHT) is responsible for hair loss in males, not testosterone. Even so, there is no evidence that HRT with testosterone causes any kind of hair loss. Interestingly, women with low T levels who have experienced hair loss have actually seen scalp hair growth once treatment started!

Female Testosterone Myth 6:

It increases chances of getting breast cancer.

It has already been established for the better part of a century that breast cancer is estrogen sensitive. Essentially this means that large fluctuations of estrogen, especially more of it, can influence breast cancer. That being said, testosterone is actually breast protective and doesn’t itself increase the chances or environment for breast cancer to occur. Testosterone has such a beneficial effect on breast tissue in general that it’s actually being used to treat breast cancer survivors for androgen deficiency.

Female Testosterone Myth 7:

All the myths associated with males are still just myths with females, too.

Last week, and in our blog, we discussed some of the bigger myths associated with testosterone. They were mostly written with the male body in mind, but a couple actually works for both sexes. So the infamous increased aggressiveness and liver cancer? Those are myths for women just as much as men!

That wraps it up for our list of testosterone myths! If you can think of any we missed, feel free to comment (you guys know you can comment, right?). One last parting shot regarding testosterone and all hormones, for that matter: More common than an overproduction of hormones, is actually LOWERED hormone levels, by a long shot. Not only does it eventually occur to everyone as they age, it is much more responsible than these myths for the negative effects on the body that hormones can cause, especially big ones like testosterone and estrogen. That being said, it is imperative for us to keep track of our hormone levels as we age, but it’s never too early to be aware of where they are!

For all things hormones and to learn more about testosterone therapy, visit our website or call our office to schedule a consultation with our staff to discuss our programs and lab testing.

BATON ROUGE, LA:  (225) 960-1580

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