Normal Testosterone Levels in Men and Women
Testosterone is a hormone primarily associated with the development of male sexual characteristics. However, it is important for both men and women, playing a crucial role in maintaining bone density, levels of red blood cells, a sense of well-being, and sexual function.
Understanding what constitutes normal testosterone levels in men and women is critical in identifying hormonal imbalances and determining the need for treatment.
Testosterone in Men
A "normal" testosterone level for a healthy, physically active male is typically between 270 to 1070 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL), with an average level of about 670 ng/dL.
In men, testosterone is produced mainly in the testes. Its production is regulated by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in the brain. The hormone plays a significant role in the development of male reproductive tissues like the testes and prostate. It also promotes secondary sexual characteristics such as increased muscle and bone mass, and body hair growth.
The normal range for testosterone levels in men varies depending on the age, time of day, and the laboratory that analyzes the results. As a general guide, testosterone levels are typically at their highest in the mornings. It's important to note that these levels decrease with age, dropping about 1% per year after age 30.
Testosterone in Women
The "normal" testosterone level in women is significantly lower than in men. Typical levels are between 15 to 70 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL).
In women, testosterone is produced in smaller amounts, with the ovaries and adrenal glands being the primary sources. Testosterone in women contributes to bone strength, brain function, and the development of lean muscle mass. It is also involved in a woman's sex drive and menstrual cycle.
Just like in men, women's testosterone levels may decrease with age, particularly after menopause.
Implications of Abnormal Testosterone Levels
Abnormal testosterone levels in both sexes can lead to a variety of health issues. In men, low testosterone (hypogonadism) may contribute to reduced muscle mass, mood changes, decreased libido, and fatigue. In extreme cases, it can lead to osteoporosis.
On the other hand, high testosterone levels in women can result in a condition called virilization, causing symptoms like excessive body hair (hirsutism), acne, an enlargement of the clitoris, and changes in the menstrual cycle. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common cause of elevated testosterone in women, which can also lead to infertility and other complications.
Testosterone plays a critical role in both men's and women's health. While levels vary significantly between the sexes, maintaining a "normal" range is key to ensuring overall well-being.
If you have concerns about your testosterone levels, the first steps are adjusting the lifestyle factors that can negatively impact testosterone levels. View our guide on naturally boosting testosterone levels.
Of course, it is always advised to consults your healthcare provider regarding your hormone levels.