Although testosterone is usually considered a "male" hormone, it is also possessed by women (albeit in lesser amounts). However, about 4-7% of American women produce too much testosterone in their ovaries, causing a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome. Excessive testosterone levels in women can result in infertility due to lack of ovulation, and a number of embarrassing symptoms such as acne, a deeper voice, and facial hair growth. Testosterone levels in women can usually be reduced using medication, although changing diet can also have a positive impact.
Part 1 of 2: Reducing Testosterone Levels with Drugs
Step 1. Consult a doctor
Go to the doctor if you feel something is wrong with your hormones. Hormone imbalance can be identified with a blood test. The classic signs that a person has too much estrogen are hot flashes and emotional outbursts. However, symptoms related to too high testosterone levels may be less noticeable and take a long time to develop. A number of unknown genetic and environmental factors can trigger certain glands (ovary, pituitary, and adrenal glands) to malfunction, causing the body to overproduce testosterone.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) usually occurs due to excessive testosterone production in women, which can be experienced at any age after puberty.
- PCOS develops because testosterone prevents the release of an egg from a follicle in the ovary. Because the follicle does not open, the egg and fluid will collect in the ovary and form something like a cyst.
- In addition to reduced menstruation and the appearance of PCOS, other symptoms that arise due to excessive testosterone production include hirsutism (excessive hair growth), increased aggression and libido, increased muscle mass, enlarged clitoris, acne growth, deepened voice, and skin becomes dark or thickened.
Step 2. Take control of your diabetes
A characteristic of type 2 diabetes is the reduced sensitivity of cells to the effects of insulin. Type 2 diabetes is often triggered by obesity which makes insulin produced in excess so that the ovaries will produce excessive testosterone. Therefore, obesity, type 2 diabetes (insulin resistance), high testosterone production, and PCOS often coexist in women when given the opportunity to thrive. Doctors can check insulin and blood glucose levels to determine whether you have or are at risk of developing diabetes or not.
- Type 2 diabetes can be prevented and even eliminated by losing weight, exercising regularly, and changing your diet (for example, by reducing your consumption of refined carbohydrates and harmful hydrogenated fats).
- Your doctor may prescribe medications to reduce insulin resistance, such as metformin (Glucophage) or pioglitazone (Actos). These drugs can normalize insulin and testosterone levels so that they can help restore normal menstrual cycles.
- High insulin levels, coupled with high testosterone levels, will increase the risk of hypertension (high blood pressure), blood cholesterol imbalances (too much "bad" LDL cholesterol), and cardiovascular disease.
- One study found that 43% of PCOS patients had metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a risk factor that arises when a person has diabetes. These risk factors include obesity, hyperlipidemia, hyperglycemia, and hypertension.
Step 3. Talk to your doctor about birth control pills
When PCOS develops due to chronic and high testosterone levels, the risk of uterine cancer increases when the menstrual cycle has stopped (in women entering menopause). Therefore, it is very important to try to keep the menstrual cycle normal so that the risk of cancer is reduced. This can be done easily, namely by taking progesterone pills or taking birth control pills that contain progesterone and estrogen regularly. Remember that a period that occurs while you are taking birth control pills cannot restore fertility (a person's ability to get pregnant).
- If you have PCOS, the benefits of taking birth control pills are obvious. However, you still have to ask your doctor for an explanation about the negative side effects that may arise. Some examples of possible side effects include decreased libido, mood swings, weight gain, breast tenderness, headache, and nausea.
- Women should use birth control pills for about 6 months if they want to see changes in the symptoms associated with high testosterone, such as reduced facial hair (especially above the lips) and acne.
Step 4. Try taking an antiandrogen medication
Another option for women who have chronic and high testosterone levels, especially those who don't have diabetes and don't like taking birth control pills, is antiandrogen medication. Androgens are a group of interrelated hormones (including testosterone) that function to shape the developmental characteristics of men. Commonly used antiandrogen drugs include spironolactone (Aldactone), goserelin (Zoladex), leuprolide (Lupron, Eligard, Viadur), and abarelix (Plenaxis). Your doctor may advise you to try a low-dose antiandrogen for 6 months to see how effective it is and any negative side effects.
- Antiandrogen drugs are also used by waria to reduce testosterone levels, especially those who choose to have sex reassignment surgery.
- Some other diseases and conditions that can cause high testosterone levels in women include ovarian cancer/tumor, Cushing's disease (pituitary gland problem), and adrenal gland cancer.
- The ovaries and adrenal glands (which are above the kidneys) in healthy women produce up to 50% of their total testosterone production.
Part 2 of 2: Reducing Testosterone Levels Through Diet
Step 1. Consume more soy products
Soybeans contain lots of phytoestrogenic compounds known as isoflavones (especially glycitein and genistein). These compounds mimic the effects of estrogen in the body, which can reduce testosterone production. Soy also contains a compound called daidzein. In the large intestine, this compound in some people can be converted into equol of antiandrogen compounds (the process requires certain good bacteria). Equol can reduce the production or effects of testosterone directly.
- Soybeans are processed into a variety of products and can be found in cereals, tofu, various beverages, breads, energy bars, and meat substitutes (eg hot dogs and veggie burgers).
- Soy is a phytoestrogen, or plant compound that also binds to estrogen receptors. This compound is "not" the same as estrogen produced by humans. Unlike human estrogens which act on alpha and beta receptors, plant estrogens only act on beta receptors. While there are rumors to the contrary, soy consumption is not associated with thyroid or breast problems (alpha estrogen receptor problems). Several clinical studies have also shown that soy is a healthy ingredient.
- However, soy has some real problems. One of them is related to genetically modified soybeans or GMO (Genetically Modified Organism), and the other is about the processing process. Acid hydrolysis of soybean protein in high temperatures which is often used to process soybeans will produce cancer-causing substances such as 3-MCPD and 1,3-DCP. Make sure you use sauces and powders made from soybeans that have not been treated at high temperatures. (Especially for soy/oyster/hoisin/teriyaki sauce, choose "naturally fermented" products, which take weeks, not hours.)
- Excessive consumption of soybeans can reduce collagen production because collagen will be disrupted by beta estrogen receptors.
Step 2. Consume more flaxseed (flaxseed)
Flaxseeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids (which have an anti-inflammatory effect) and compounds called lignans, which are estrogenic (stimulates estrogen production). Lignans can also lower the levels of total testosterone and free testosterone in the body, and at the same time prevent the conversion of testosterone to the stronger dihydrotestosterone. Keep in mind that flaxseeds must first be ground in order for humans to digest them. Sprinkle flaxseed powder on cereal and/or yogurt for breakfast. You can also buy whole grain breads that have been added with flaxseed at the store.
- Lignans work by increasing levels of sex hormone binding, which causes the testosterone molecule to become inactive as it binds to androgen receptors in the body.
- Among foodstuffs that are often consumed, flaxseed has the highest lignan content by far, while sesame seed ranks second.
Step 3. Limit fat consumption
Testosterone is a steroid hormone that requires cholesterol to be produced. Cholesterol is only found in saturated fat in animal products (meat, butter, cheese, etc.). Some cholesterol is needed to produce steroid hormones and almost all cell membranes in the body, but foods high in saturated fat tend to trigger higher testosterone production. In addition, foods high in monounsaturated fats (avocados, most nuts, olive oil, canola oil, safflower oil) can also increase testosterone levels. The only fats that can lower testosterone levels are polyunsaturated fatty acids or PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids).
- Most vegetable oils (corn, soybean, canola/rapeseed oil) are high in omega-6 PUFAs. However, you should be careful because consuming these foods in large quantities to lower testosterone levels can cause other health problems.
- Some examples of healthy PUFAs (a lot of omega-3s) include fish oil, fatty fish (tuna, salmon, mackerel, herring), flaxseeds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds.
- Foods high in saturated fat can also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, although foods high in omega-6 PUFAs are not better for the heart either. The key is to balance the consumption of natural fats, while avoiding hydrogenated fats.
Step 4. Don't eat refined carbohydrates
Refined carbohydrates contain lots of easily digestible sugar (glucose) which can increase insulin levels and trigger the ovaries to produce more testosterone. The process is almost similar to type 2 diabetes, but causes short-term, not long-term effects. Therefore, avoid refined carbohydrates (any food that is high in fructose corn syrup) and choose healthy carbohydrates such as whole-grain products, fresh berries and oranges, fibrous vegetables, leafy greens, and legumes. beans).
- Products high in refined sugar that should be avoided or reduced include candy, cookies, cakes, ready-to-eat baked goods, chocolate, ice cream, soda pop, and other sugary drinks.
- Foods high in refined sugar also increase the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
Step 5. Try using herbal remedies
Many herbs have antiandrogen effects (based on various animal studies), although their direct effects on women's testosterone levels have not been well studied. The most commonly used herbs with antiandrogen properties include saw palmetto, black cohosh, chaste berry, licorice, spearmint and peppermint teas, and lavender oil. Always consult your doctor before taking any herbs known to alter hormone levels.
- DO NOT take herbal supplements if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or want to become pregnant in the near future.
- Women who have a history of cancer (uterine, breast, ovarian) or other health problems related to hormones, should seek a doctor's supervision when taking herbal remedies.
- Women usually have about 1/10 of the amount of testosterone that men have, but with age, testosterone levels in women can increase proportionally.
- Not all side effects of high testosterone levels in women are undesirable, such as increased muscle mass and higher libido (sex drive).
- For better results with hirsutism, try facial hair removal or cosmetic laser treatment (electrolysis).
- Foods for vegetarians can usually reduce testosterone levels in the body, while foods that are high in saturated and/or monounsaturated fats tend to increase testosterone levels.
- Cardiovascular exercise for weight loss is a great option, but weight training in the gym can increase testosterone production in men and it can also happen to women.
- If you believe that you have hormonal imbalances, consult your doctor first before trying to change hormone levels. Dietary changes are usually safe to do, but they can make the condition worse if you don't know the cause of the symptoms.
- Consult in depth with your doctor about the side effects of the drugs he prescribes so that your testosterone levels can go down. Tell your doctor about any other conditions you have, as well as any medications or supplements you are taking.