Most people believe testosterone is merely a male sex hormone (androgen), but in actuality, it’s not true.
However, male testosterone levels are generally 20-25 times more than female.
Females also need testosterone for optimal body functioning (Fabbri et al., 2016).
Testosterone is the hormone involved in increasing bone density, stimulating the growth of muscle mass and body hair.
In females, testosterone is produced primarily by some ovaries-specific theca cells.
Although testosterone is essential on its own, it is also converted to the primary “female” hormone, i.e., estrogen (Barbieri, 2019).
Low Testosterone Level in Women
In women, low testosterone levels can result in a lack of sexual drive, depression, and obesity, among other problems.
Women’s ovaries and adrenal glands produce testosterone, with levels peaking in their twenties and subsequently declining.
When testosterone levels fall, women are susceptible to weight gain and the associated health risks (Bianchi et al., 2021).
On the other hand, the relationship between testosterone and weight gain in women is more complicated than in men.
Symptoms of Low Testosterone in Women
Stress and age can significantly diminish women’s testosterone levels.
Menopause is generally referred to as the third stage of aging. The initial step is testosterone deficiency.
While symptoms of low testosterone are frequently attributed to aging, a doctor’s appointment may be necessary if they persist.
Symptoms include fatigue and lethargy, sleep disruptions, weight gain with difficulty losing weight, painful intercourse due to vaginal dryness, and decreased sexual drive.
Reasons behind Easy Weight Gain in Women
More than 80% of testosterone in women binds to sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), resulting in substantially lower amounts of free testosterone in the bloodstream (Fabbri et al., 2016).
Women gain weight more quickly than men due to their increased estrogen levels. As women age, the sex hormones progesterone and estrogen begin to vary, and estrogen gradually takes over.
This may result in weight gain. Another factor is that women with low testosterone levels may reduce muscular mass.
Since muscle tissue burns more calories than fat and helps maintain the metabolism working smoothly, muscle tissue loss may result in additional weight gain.
Women with a low T feel exhausted and lazy, and hence they gain weight quickly.
Low Testosterone and Weight gain
Metabolism cannot work effectively unless testosterone levels are within a particular range.
Low T levels are linked to an increase in body fat, particularly around the middle section of the body.
Many studies have shown that women with low testosterone have a more significant body fat percentage than those with higher testosterone levels.
According to recent studies, low testosterone is not the primary cause of weight gain in men.
Obesity has also been linked to decreased testosterone levels.
Relationship between Body Fat and Testosterone
Insulin resistance, or an inability to process carbs, can be caused by low testosterone levels.
This typically means that when carbs are consumed, they are transformed into fat tissue (Tsai et al., 2004).
An enzyme in body fat called aromatase converts testosterone into estrogen, the primary sex hormone in women.
Reduced testosterone production occurs due to an increase in estrogen levels in the body. Studies have shown a connection between excess body fat and low testosterone levels.
Having more body fat means having more estrogen, which means less testosterone. Obese people are more likely to experience a decline in testosterone levels.
One side effect of obesity is a decrease in testosterone levels. On the other hand, Reduced testosterone facilitates fat storage, and hence these two feed one another in a vicious cycle.
Testosterone, Fat loss, and Bodybuilding
Testosterone is unquestionably an essential hormone in muscle building.
Moreover, anabolic drugs, which dramatically enhance testosterone levels, have been demonstrated in studies to cause muscle growth and fat loss in even young, healthy males without any exercise.
Hence it’s pretty reasonable to assume that when our testosterone levels grow, we will gain more muscle mass and become leaner (Silvestro Richa, 2021).
Losing Weight on Testosterone
Low testosterone levels can be addressed using three possible approaches, i.e., a supplement strategy, a pharmaceutical strategy, or a lifestyle strategy.
Testosterone replacement therapy is prescribed by the doctor only and is done under doctors’ supervision. It’s available as a supplement, lotion, skin patch, or an injection.
There is some evidence that testosterone replacement therapy can aid in weight loss in obese women with testosterone deficiency.
As a result, raising testosterone and decreasing estrogen can help reverse muscle loss. However, estrogen levels must be reduced concurrently to get the benefits of increased testosterone.
Additionally, boosting zinc intake and completing muscle-building routines might help boost testosterone levels.
Maintaining a regular exercise routine might help boost your metabolism and testosterone levels.
Muscle-building workouts too assist in increasing testosterone levels. In addition, you can lower your stress levels by sleeping more.
Incorporating more fiber-rich foods into your diet will also help in losing weight. The length of time it takes for a woman to lose weight is determined by her level of exercise, initial weight, and other medical issues.
Modifying the testosterone injection doses and regulating them with other hormones also aids in weight loss. In 56-week research, testosterone injections resulted in a 6.4-pound (2.9-kg) weight loss in 100 obese men on a low-calorie diet, compared to those who did not get treatment.
Both groups lost muscle mass and fat mass on a low-calorie diet, but testosterone encouraged significant muscle rebuilding during the weight maintenance phase. It stimulated muscle growth, increasing calories expended and aiding in weight loss.
Additionally, it may help alleviate fatigue, increase motivation, and promote increased physical activity. All of which directly or indirectly affect weight loss (Ng Tang Fui et al., 2016).
- Barbieri, R. L. (2019). Steroid hormone metabolism in polycystic ovary syndrome. In P. J. Snyder, W. F. Crowley, & K. A. Martin (Eds.). Retrieved on March 3, 2021, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/steroid-hormone-metabolism-in-polycystic-ovary-syndrome
- Bianchi, V. E., Bresciani, E., Meanti, R., Rizzi, L., Omeljaniuk, R. J., & Torsello, A. (2021). The role of androgens in women’s health and wellbeing. Pharmacological Research, 171, 105758.
- Fabbri, E., An, Y., Gonzalez-Freire, M., Zoli, M., Maggio, M., Studenski, S. A., … & Ferrucci, L. (2016). Bioavailable testosterone linearly declines over a broad age spectrum in men and women from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biomedical Sciences and Medical Sciences, 71(9), 1202-1209.
- Ng Tang Fui, M., Prendergast, L. A., Dupuis, P., Raval, M., Strauss, B. J., Zajac, J. D., & Grossmann, M. (2016). Effects of testosterone treatment on body fat and lean mass in obese men on a hypocaloric diet: a randomised controlled trial. BMC medicine, 14(1), 1-11.
- Silvestro, S., & Richa, C. (2021). High testosterone in women. Women’s health.
- Tsai, E. C., Matsumoto, A. M., Fujimoto, W. Y., & Boyko, E. J. (2004). Association of bioavailable, free, and total testosterone with insulin resistance: influence of sex hormone-binding globulin and body fat. Diabetes care, 27(4), 861-868.
“I have the metabolism of a sloth and a body that hates putting on muscles. This curse motivated me to study weight loss and nutrition. I want to share my experiences and knowledge to help you achieve your ideal body.”— Christian Tanobey