Testosterone Production in Women

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Dr. Kathy Maupin and Brett Newcomb discuss how testosterone is produced in women and how that process differs before and after menopause.

The common thought is that supplements provide the same benefit for any person despite their sex, age, race, or menopausal status. This common belief, of course is not true. In this week’s podcast, Brett Newcomb and I discuss one such supplement known as Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA).

The effects experienced with the administration of DHEA before menopause, or age 40, are no longer experienced by women after menopause. There is a very logical reason for this difference. At menopause, the ovaries stop producing all hormones—including testosterone. DHEA is made in the adrenal gland and is the precursor to testosterone—as well as to estrone and dihydrotestosterone—but the transformation from DHEA and the testosterone takes place in the ovary. The other two are made in the adrenal gland. DHEA makes testosterone while it is actively making hormones, before menopause. Just administering DHEA does not help post-menopausal women to make testosterone. This is because these women do not possess the “ovarian factory” that they had before menopause. Without the ovary, these two hormones make us feel old and cause belly fat to increase. These are the opposite of the expected results. Experiencing weight gain, muddled thinking, and fatigue typifies the symptoms that post-menopausal women report after taking DHEA. When they are taking testosterone pellets, these symptoms of DHEA can overshadow the positive effects.

Men don’t experience the negative effects of DHEA that women do. This is due to to the fact that men’s testicles usually don’t stop working completely as they age. When men who are not taking testosterone take DHEA, they feel like they have increased testosterone levels.

I have recently been seeing more men below the age of 45 in my office with very low testosterone who have a very poor quality of life. This condition has been referenced in several research studies. It has been attributed to various plastics, pesticides, heavy metals, and other environmental toxins. This certainly is a probable factor. But, many of these young men have also had sports-related head injuries, or they have used anabolic steroids for building up their muscle mass and strength. Sadly, a large portion has experienced infertility from the adrenal steroids that they used. Whatever the reason for their low testosterone production, they are miserable and require replacement testosterone. Their quality of life is returned to how it was before the loss of their testosterone. Even though they are not able to procreate, they are able to lead a normal life with the help of testosterone pellet replacement. Men don’t usually need testosterone until their 50’s. And, by taking DHEA they can extend their libido whereas women cannot.

The age discrepancy between men and women in when their testosterone decreases is proportionate to the when their sex drive disappears. Once women hit the age of infertility, society (not nature) doesn’t have the same need for them as it once did. The role they play is no longer one that contributed to the continuation of society, and, therefore, they are more-easily dismissed as functional, contributing members. This cultural ideal has not kept up with the changes in medicine and life expectancy, and the need for productive, mature women in current society. Testosterone replacement can give men and women over 40 a new lease on life, whether society recognizes the possibilities or not.

This is the journey that we are on. Many women are out-living their reproductive capacities. These women, myself included, are learning how to contribute to the world and to their/our families and communities. We have learned that by replacing the lost testosterone, we can be as vibrant and productive as we ever were. We can love and be loved in ways that women before us were never able to experience at our age.

If you are interested in learning how you can become one of these women who are post-menopausal yet still contributing to your families and to your culture, or if you are a woman who would like to have an active love life and a strong and passionate relationship, then listen to our podcast and get our book, The Secret Female Hormone and find the answer that can change your life.

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