Women and Testosterone during Menopause

January 25, 2014

Women and Testosterone during Menopause

Hormone balance is crucial to physical and emotional health. However, perceptions of hormones are often limited by gender. Discussions of male hormones are dominated by testosterone, while estrogen and progesterone are female buzzwords.

While each sex produces hormones to different degrees, a limited focus can further symptoms of imbalances. This can be most seen during life changes, such as menopause. Depression, body changes, sexual disinterest and low energy are all tied to testosterone loss in women.

How Healthy Testosterone Levels Benefit Women:


Menopause can take a toll on relationships. Symptoms such as depression and low sex drive may create emotional distance between partners. A spouse may feel unattractive or neglected during periods of hormone change.

Low testosterone is correlated with low sexual energy and enjoyment. Testosterone helps restore sensation in the clitoris and nipples for sexual arousal, which may facilitate female orgasms.

Menopausal treatments often focus on treating physical symptoms, such as hot flashes. Unfortunately, estrogen and progesterone do little to restore libido that drops during menopause. Prescriptions that do not consider testosterone can increase these imbalances.

Body Image:

During menopause, women of all fitness levels can experience changes to body composition. Those with fit lifestyles may notice declines in endurance and drops in strength. Menopausal women may have lower results from workout routines.

Reduced muscle tone and increases in underarm fat could affect self-image. Testosterone is crucial to building lean muscle mass and reducing body fat.  There are effects beyond cosmetic issues that can also plague women with low T.

Bone strength may decline with age and increase the risk of osteoporosis. Testosterone strengthens bones to reduce the threat of breaks.

Causes of Low Testosterone in Women:


The aging process is the most common cause of low testosterone in women and men. Testosterone levels in women may begin to fall in pre menopause years and accelerate after age 40.

Many ‘manopausal’ men turn to testosterone boosters with maca root or gamma oryzanol to enhance their testosterone and mood. Women should use discretion is choosing testosterone supplements and work with a health professional.

Oral testosterone supplements may cause drops in HDL cholesterol that limit heart benefits from estrogen replacement. Taking too much testosterone could produce masculine effects in some women.

Possible Options:

Diet and Exercise may be tweaked for better hormone balance. Low fat diets may lack the cholesterol needed to produce testosterone and improve heart health, as cholesterol is converted into T in the ovaries.

HDL cholesterol is needed to clean arteries of plaque buildup for better cardiovascular health.  Women may consider a handful of almonds or fatty oils for essential fatty acids (EFAs) to help restore hormone levels, including testosterone.

EFAs are not produced by the body and must be consumed. Drizzling walnut oil over a salad with Brazil nuts is an example of a hormone friendly meal.

Workouts that strain the body are needed to produce a hormone response. Adjusting exercise to include more compound movements can generate testosterone. Squats and bench presses are examples.

You may also consider High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). This approach adds short bursts of intense activity into your routine. Adding short bursts of sprinting in your jog uses HIIT principles. Women can also change the order of exercises or weights used to shock their bodies.

Ovarian Surgery:

Female testosterone is mostly produced in the ovaries. Regardless of age, women who have had their ovaries removed are prone to low T.

Solution: Working with a medical professional is advised.

Stress and Lifestyle:

Cortisol is a stress hormone that can crowd out other hormones. Menopausal women with high levels of stress may see drops in testosterone.


Managing stress is crucial to overall health. Women should set aside time each day to close their eyes and reflect. Basic meditation or yoga classes offer effective relief with other health benefits.

Using cue words can help redirect focus during stressful times. A cue word helps direct focus to current tasks. For instance, ‘focus’ can be a cue word to fight the brain fog associated with menopause.

Hormone Replacement Considerations:

Individual factors will determine the extent of testosterone replacement for each woman. Therapies may add testosterone for otherwise healthy women. Women who have had their ovaries removed may require special considerations.


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