Not Just for Men, Why Women Need Testosterone, Too!

Testosterone is most abundant hormone in women. Lower percentage compared to men but still ultimately important. For instance, healthy male ranges in a 2022 pub med study stated 300-1000. In women they’re 15-70ng/dL though Centers for Disease Control list 8-49 ng/dL as healthy. The importance of this differential is this: are you focused on optimal ranges or on norms? And choosing a conservative governmental guideline or anyone quoting them, if you don’t feel good may leave out missing peer-reviewed evidence that other information exists. Remember it takes almost 2 decades, an average of 17 years for research to make it into mainstream. It takes longer to change a position statement or governmental guideline. Recently, while experimenting with ways to stabilize levels of hormones overall, my testosterone level was well below 15, once at a 6! Not a great way to boost lean muscle mass. 

And I knew it.

Where once I was lifting X lbs, I was struggling with X- [purposefully, leaving numbers out.. There should be no comparison of what weight I lift to what what you lift. Heavy for you is reaching fatigue and the number of repetitions you should be reaching fatigue. The point… what was normal and challenging just a few months ago was suddenly not doable. So, 

I knew.

Other Signs Testosterone Levels are Low:

  • Low sex drive 
  • Bone density 
  • Vaginal dryness 
  • Low muscle mass 
  • With low muscle mass- increased fat/belly fat

Too High Testosterone in Females: 

  • Acne 
  • Excess hair on face, back, chest 
  • Oily skin
  • Irregular periods

In females, most testosterone converts into the sex hormone estradiol. In females ovaries produce testosterone and the adrenals produce a small amount of testosterone. 

While it’s most known for sex drive and libido, then for muscle, it’s also important for bone and mental health and maintaining balance in other hormones. 

Testosterone’s Role in the Human Body:

  • Blood cells 
  • Body fat distribution and use
  • Bone density 
  • Muscle strength 
  • Sex drive 
  • Breast health
  • Mental health 

The most common testing reveals total testosterone. That’s a measure of both testosterone attached to proteins in the body and those not, that is referred to as free testosterone. It’s less commonly tested but measures the available testosterone in your body. A test for bioavailable testosterone is also available and you’d be working with a physician who deemed a need to deep dive if you were doing that.  

How to Support Your T Levels: 

Lifting weights with intensity (with adequate recovery)

HIIT (may not elevate much but will not harm T) 

Adequate protein levels (it’s more than you think)

What Kills T Levels:

  • Endurance exercise 
  • Sugar
  • Alcohol
  • stress
  • Low protein 

It’s not just normal menopause or stress decreasing testosterone levels. Hormone disruptors are everywhere and can impact your testosterone levels (as well as other hormones). These hormone disruptors decrease testosterone production, or reduce use of testosterone by your body or reduce “free testosterone.” 


  • The plastics used everywhere. 
  • Don’t store food in them. Avoid heating in them. 
  • Avoid plastic water bottles. Use glass and and stainless steel
  • Avoid the paper receipts 
  • Avoid BPA-lined cans 


  • A no-shoes policy in your house 
  • Choose organics when possible
  • Wash produce before consuming 

Forever chemicals

  • Avoid farm-raised fish and meat
  • In many dairy products
  • Keep paints, and toxic products in garage away from kitchen and living areas 


  • Read personal care labels carefully 
  • Buy plant-based, organic when possible 


My Guest:  

Anna Cabeca, DO, OBGYN, FACOG, is bestselling author of The Hormone Fix and Keto-Green 16 and MenuPause. Dr. Anna is triple-board certified and a fellow of gynecology and obstetrics, integrative medicine, and anti-aging and regenerative medicine. She holds special certifications in functional medicine, sexual health, and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. She lectures frequently on these topics throughout the world to large audiences and is known nationally as The Girlfriend Doctor and is host of The Girlfriend Doctor show. She has personally developed natural products to help women balance hormones and thrive through menopause including the highly acclaimed Julva® cream for the vulva and MightyMaca® Plus, a powerful superfood blend. She now lives in Dallas with her daughters, horses and dogs.

Questions We Answer in This Episode:

  • As time passes, many women think – may be even led to believe by influencer memes – that forgetfulness, mood swings, and loss of desire are just a normal part of the aging process. What do you have to say about that?
  • Are there elements that make it worse? And can we make it better?
  • How key is cortisol for you in your experience treating patients with menopause symptoms? 
  • What key stressors have you seen most impact cortisol?
  • If we take HRT off the table so we’re inclusive of every woman listening… How can listeners regulate hormones with diet and lifestyle and lead a healthy, vibrant and sexually active life at ANY age?



Other Episodes You Might Like:

The Effects of Hormones on Lean Muscle (4 Studies):

It Takes More Than Hormones to Fix Hormones:

6 Ways Exercise Hurts or Helps Midlife Hormones:



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