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Signs & Symptoms of Low Testosterone Levels in Women

By Cydney Walker ; Updated August 14, 2017

Testosterone has been thought of as only being important for men because women secrete a very small amount of testosterone for normal body function. Males do produce larger amounts than females, but women need small amounts of testosterone to maintain their libido, prevent fatigue, maintain healthy body fat levels and reach orgasms. Testosterone is as important to the function of women’s bodies as estrogen.

Low Libido

Testosterone plays a critical role in maintain sexual desire. Many women don’t have normal circulating levels of testosterone in their bodies and stress can play a role in decreasing your level, according to nurse practitioner Marcelle Holmes and Dixie Mills, M.D. of Women to Women. When you are under lots of stress, your progesterone levels turn into stress hormones rather than testosterone. Your body makes testosterone from your ovaries and adrenal glands. When you live with high levels of stress, your body switches to making more cortisol to handle the stress load of your life.

Lack of Orgasm

Testosterone helps to improve sensitivity of the clitoris in women, according to Dr. Vivienne Cass in “The Elusive Orgasm: A Woman’s Guide to Why She can’t and How She Can Orgasm.” Testosterone helps to maintain tissue strength of the vulva and clitoris. Along with strengthening tissues in this area, blood flow increases making it easier to achieve orgasms. The clitoris is an erectile tissue, much like the penis of the man. Low blood flow to the genitals of women leads to decline in function and tissue health to promote sensation in the clitoris and the reflex response or orgasm to stimulation of the clitoris and vagina.

Energy Changes

Increased feelings of fatigue and tiredness are associated with low testosterone levels. This fatigue is not relieved by getting 8 to 9 hours of sleep. Women with low testosterone levels often don’t feel refreshed after a full night’s sleep, according to Lawley Hormone Solutions in “Testosterone for Women.” Testosterone improves fat utilization for energy and with declining or low levels; your body doesn’t produce energy as efficiently. This leads to increase accumulation of body fat, especially around the waist and organs. In addition, testosterone participates in recovery during sleep. Your testosterone levels reach their peak when you are in REM -- rapid eye movement sleep. When you reach REM sleep, your body releases testosterone to repair muscles and tissues, this allows your body to recover from your daily activities and wake up feeling refreshed.

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