Exploring the Link between Testosterone Levels and Hair Loss in Women
We’re diving into the fascinating topic of elevated testosterone levels in women and its connection to hair loss. Don’t worry, we’re here to provide a warm and friendly perspective on this important issue.
Determining the “Normal” Range: Let’s start by clarifying that defining a precise cutoff for normal testosterone levels isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation. We need to hear the full story from you! How did the symptoms appear, and are you experiencing other signs like hair loss, acne, or increased hair growth on your face? Don’t worry, we’ll cover everything—from menopause to menstrual cycles, weight changes, pain levels, and even fatigue.
Causes of Elevated Testosterone Levels in Women: Now, onto the causes. If you’re concerned about high testosterone levels, it’s essential to schedule an appointment with your trichologist. They will take a thorough history, conduct a comprehensive examination, and may require additional blood tests. Testosterone levels can fluctuate, so repeating the test and measuring in the morning is often advisable.
The Top 10 Causes of Elevated Testosterone: Let’s explore the top 10 culprits behind elevated testosterone levels in women:
- Just a normal level for you
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (one of the most common causes)
- Ovarian hyperthecosis
- Medication-induced (such as androgen replacement or anabolic steroids)
- Cushing syndrome
- Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
- Ovarian tumors
- Adrenal tumors
Rare Cases: Adrenal and Ovarian Cancers: Adrenal gland cancers are incredibly rare, with only about two new cases diagnosed per one million people each year. Ovarian cancer, although more common, is still a rare occurrence. Less than 1% of patients with signs like hirsutism (increased facial hair growth) and other hyperandrogenism symptoms have an ovarian or adrenal tumor. Nevertheless, early diagnosis is crucial for effective treatment.
Understanding Testosterone Concentrations: Generally speaking, if your plasma testosterone concentration is three times above the normal level (8.7 nmol/L or 200 ng/dL) with a normal DHEAS level, it raises the suspicion of an underlying benign or malignant ovarian cause for your symptoms. Similarly, a plasma testosterone concentration three times above the normal level (8.7 nmol/L or 200 ng/dL) with an elevated DHEAS level (above 16.3 umol/L or 600 ug/dL) suggests an underlying benign or malignant adrenal cause. Remember, it’s essential to conduct a full workup when levels fall within this range.
Further testing and evaluation may be recommended depending on the extent of hormone elevation and the presence of related signs and symptoms. We want to ensure we have a comprehensive understanding of your unique situation.A comprehensive hormonal panel will be conducted, encompassing tests for free and total testosterone, DHEAS, LH, FSH, estradiol, SHBG, prolactin, 17 hydroxyprogesterone, and TSH. Other tests like AFP (alpha feto protein) and B-hCG may also be ordered. For women with significantly elevated levels, a pelvic ultrasound or CT scan might be recommended. If needed, further stimulation and suppression testing will be arranged upon referral to an endocrinologist.
In Conclusion: There are multiple factors that can contribute to elevated androgens in women. When accompanied by increased facial hair growth, irregular menstrual cycles, acne, or hair loss, it is often an indication of elevated androgen hormone levels. Common conditions associated with this include polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and ovarian hyperthecosis. However, women with significantly elevated androgen levels, especially three times above the normal range, should undergo a comprehensive evaluation that may involve consulting endocrinology, radiology, and gynecology specialists.