Hormones are a series of substances produced by the endocrine glands and have numerous functions in the body. One of the best known is testosterone , a predominantly male hormone, but which is also synthesized in women.
Despite being one of the most studied hormones, there are many activities of the body in which it is involved, as well as its health benefits and the differences between men and women when exercising its action.
What is testosterone and what is it for?
Testosterone is a sex hormone, classified as a steroid, traditionally associated with the male sex. Although this substance constitutes the main male hormone and is produced mainly in the testicles, the ovaries also have the ability to manufacture it in very small quantities.
This hormone, present even before birth, is responsible for male sexual development , promoting the growth of the male sexual organs, the growth of the musculature, the appearance of body hair and the development of voice severity.
Once man has fully developed, once he reaches the adult stage, testosterone maintains its activity, being involved in a multitude of processes and body functions. This includes, from the mechanisms most evidently related to it such as sexual capacity, desire and sperm formation ; to others in which its role is traditionally less known.
These activities of the body in which testosterone is involved include
- Helps develop muscle toning and facilitates recovery after aerobic and anaerobic exercise.
- It boosts red blood cell production.
- Supports memory processes .
- Improves kidney function.
- It prevents the development of diseases such as osteoporosis.
- Increases bone mineral density.
How does testosterone work in women?
As previously mentioned, testosterone is a mainly male hormone, with its plasma concentration being ten times higher in men than in women. However, the female sex is much more sensitive to the effects of testosterone.
Broadly speaking, the effects of testosterone on women are related to certain aspects of behavior and physical appearance. As in men, testosterone is highly involved in levels of libido and sexual desire, to the point of qualitatively improving sexual relations.
On the other hand, this hormone also cooperates in the development of the bones, providing a stronger bone structure and a robust and resistant muscle mass.
However, there are many other female body functions and dynamics in which testosterone is involved, and more and more empirical studies are trying to establish these associations.
For example, one such study conducted by the University of Florida revealed data in support of the hypothesis that in many cases when women unconsciously perceive that other women are ovulating , their testosterone spikes increase, increasing levels of sexual desire and causing more intense orgasms. This fact contains an evolutionary component, whereby when a woman noticed that another woman was in a fertile state she became a rival when it came to reproduction, so the increase in testosterone facilitated sexual relations with the men in the group.
Finally, other studies related to human sexual behavior have found a number of associations between high levels of testosterone and an increase in masturbation, as well as an increase in behaviors considered risky.
All of this means that the influence of testosterone on sexual and other non-sexual behaviors in both men and women is evident. However, there is still a lot of research to be done before this can be conclusively established.
Your health benefits
Throughout the article it has been commented, on several occasions, that the effects of testosterone go beyond those related to sexual desire and performance. Furthermore, it also has a great influence on physical performance, fat production and distribution and cardiovascular function .
1. Physical energy and fatigue
Testosterone levels are directly related to the physical sensation of fatigue and tiredness, so the lower the levels of testosterone in a person, the greater the feeling of tiredness.
2. Body fat distribution
Numerous studies have established evidence linking low testosterone levels to increased body fat , which tends to accumulate mostly in the abdomen. Thus, a high body mass index, coupled with an equally high abdominal contour may be synonymous with altered testosterone production.
3. Muscle mass
Testosterone is included in the group of anabolic hormones, so the consumption of free testosterone promotes the genesis of muscle proteins, which enhance the development of muscle volume.
4. Cardiovascular function
Traditionally, low levels of testosterone have been considered a risk factor in developing hypertension. Similarly, optimal testosterone levels promote triglyceride control and regulate cholesterol problems.
What happens when too much of this hormone is produced?
High levels of testosterone can cause a large number of physical and behavioral changes in both men and women.
1. Consequences on men
Elevated blood testosterone levels in men may be due to diseases such as hyperthyroidism, a tumor of the adrenal gland or as a consequence of excessive consumption of alcohol, tobacco and steroids.
As a result, the following symptoms may develop:
- Enlarged prostate and urinary problems.
- Increased body fat production.
- Acne problems.
- Increased body hair growth.
- Fertility problems due to a decrease in sperm production.
- Mood swings and mood swings
- Aggression and violent behavior .
- Increased risk of developing prostate cancer
- Cardiovascular problems.
2. Consequences on women
Similarly, abnormally high levels of testosterone in women, or hyperandrogenism, organs due to conditions such as polycystic ovaries or adrenal diseases can also trigger a series of physical and health disorders . These include
- Alterations in the menstrual cycle such as oligomenorrhea.
- Acne and skin problems.
- Hirsutism, or increased body hair
- Hair loss or alopecia .
- Symptoms of virilization such as enlarged clitoris, deep voice, or breast atrophy