When you hear the word testosterone you may visualize a big muscular man in the gym lifting weights, but testosterone is an important hormone for women too.
Progesterone is responsible for helping the body produce testosterone so when progesterone is low testosterone is also low. Women do not need a large amount of testosterone in their bodies however; more women than you may think have low testosterone.
This is more common in women over 40, but just like low levels of estrogen it can happen to women of any age. Low levels of testosterone leads to a slow metabolism, fatigue, low libido, mood swings, trouble losing fat and/or gaining muscle.
Why do women have low testosterone? Well the reasons are very similar to why women have estrogen dominance: birth control, large amounts of soy in the diet, medications for depression, blood pressure, antibiotics and sleeping pills. Obesity and chronic lack of exercise can also have an affect on a woman’s levels of testosterone.
Again, just like estrogen a lot of these hormone imbalances can be corrected with diet and exercise. Women think the way to weight loss is cardio, cardio, cardio - well it’s not. I will go into this more in a later blog, but lifting weights will not only boost your testosterone, but it also burns more calories than steady state cardio.
The idea that women will get bulky from lifting weights couldn’t be further from the truth. It is not in a women’s genetic make-up to get bulky, and women who are bulky are promoting that through things like steroids. Not only does your body benefit from lifting weights, but also mentally it gives a boost of confidence, which can also have a positive effect on testosterone.
Another thing that can boost testosterone is your diet. Are you taking in too much soy? Also, are you eating a well balanced diet and getting enough sleep. These plus the exercise can help to combat obesity, which again can mess with testosterone levels.
You may also need to rethink your birth control. Being on an oral contraceptive reduces the production of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone and taking birth control for a long period of time can throw off the body’s ability to produce these hormones naturally.
Some women have to be on birth control for medical reasons, but if you don’t have a medical reason then you may want to think twice about it. This doesn’t just affect your testosterone, but your estrogen.
Getting your hormones tested is always a good idea if you seem to have any symptoms related to hormone imbalance. Diet and exercise should always be the first place to start. People underestimate the effect these two things have on the human body. Our bodies are not meant on be on drugs, especially long term to fix problems. Very few try diet and exercise first, so give it a shot and you may be pleasantly surprised by the results.
I hope my series of blogs on hormones and weight have provided you with some useful info and some suggestions. If you missed any of them you can find them in my blog section.