Understanding Your Hormones: Testosterone

Understanding Your Hormones: Testosterone

Menopause brings a series of significant hormonal changes, leading to a variety of physical and emotional challenges. Understanding these hormonal shifts, particularly testosterone, alongside estrogen and progesterone, is essential for managing symptoms effectively. 

Although often overlooked, testosterone is crucial in maintaining libido, muscle mass, and overall energy levels in women. By gaining insights into how these hormones function and fluctuate during the stages of menopause, you can better understand the transition and take proactive steps to support your health and well-being.

What is testosterone?

Commonly labelled as the ‘male hormone’, testosterone is also produced in women, specifically in the ovaries and adrenal glands- in fact, before the menopause, women produce three times more testosterone than estrogen.  It is a vital hormone that significantly impacts women's health by driving various bodily function. In women, testosterone is responsible for maintaining a healthy sex drive, contributing to bone strength, preserving muscle mass, stabilising mood, and boosting energy levels. 

Key roles of testosterone in female physiology:

  • Sex Drive: Enhances libido and sexual satisfaction.
  • Bone Strength: Works alongside estrogen to maintain bone density, helping to prevent osteoporosis.
  • Muscle Mass: Influences muscle mass and strength, crucial for physical fitness and daily activity.
  • Mood Stabilisation: Supports emotional health, helping to regulate mood and reduce the risk of depression and anxiety.
  • Energy Levels: Maintains overall energy, ensuring women feel vigorous and active.
  • Brain Health: Influences several cognitive functions including concentration, clarity of thought, and memory.

    What happens to testosterone's during perimenopause and menopause?

    During perimenopause and menopause, women experience significant hormonal fluctuations, including changes in testosterone levels. These fluctuations can lead to a variety of symptoms that affect overall well-being. Understanding the impacts of these changes can help you better manage your symptoms. 

    Key impacts of testosterone fluctuations during perimenopause:

    • Decreased Libido: Lower testosterone levels can significantly reduce sexual desire and satisfaction, which is a common concern during perimenopause.
    • Fatigue: Due to declining testosterone, many women report feeling more tired and less energetic.
    • Mood Swings: Hormonal instability can lead to mood swings, irritability, and even depression, impacting emotional health.
    • Muscle Changes: Reduced testosterone can decrease muscle mass and strength, making physical activity more challenging.
    • Brain Fog: A  decrease in testosterone may lead to cognitive symptoms such as difficulties in focusing, memory lapses, and the feeling of mental cloudiness commonly referred to as brain fog.

      What is testosterone's role in post-menopause?

      In post-menopause, testosterone levels remain low, yet this hormone continues to play an important role in maintaining your health, including:

      • Bone Health: Testosterone, along with estrogen, helps maintain bone density, which is crucial for preventing osteoporosis.
      • Muscle Maintenance: It supports muscle mass and strength, aiding in overall mobility and physical activity.
      • Sexual Function: Testosterone contributes to sexual desire and satisfaction, even at lower levels, enhancing overall quality of life.

      What happens if I have too much testosterone?

      Excessive testosterone in women can lead to a variety of symptoms that may affect physical appearance, emotional health, and menstrual cycles.

      Symptoms of high testosterone:

      Your doctor or GP can help you address high testosterone levels by identifying the underlying cause and determining appropriate treatment options.

      What happens if my testosterone levels are too low?

      Currently, there are no definitive standards for defining ‘low’ testosterone levels in women. When diagnosing low testosterone, your healthcare professional will typically evaluate your symptoms and also perform a blood test to confirm the diagnosis. Here’s how low testosterone may affect you:

      Managing low testosterone levels often involves lifestyle changes and medical treatments, and your healthcare provider will provide the right action plan according to your needs.

      How can I help my testosterone levels?

      Maintaining healthy testosterone levels during menopause may mean adopting some lifestyle changes. These changes can naturally support hormonal balance and enhance overall well-being, too!

      Healthy diet:

      • Nutrient-rich foods: Consuming a diet rich in vitamins and minerals can help support hormone production. Foods high in zinc, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids are particularly beneficial, so try to incorporate leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fatty fish, and lean meats into your meals.
      • Balanced macronutrients: Ensure you have a balanced intake of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates to give your body the necessary building blocks for hormone synthesis.

      Regular exercise:

      • Strength Training: Weight-bearing exercises can help increase muscle mass and boost testosterone levels. Light weight lifting, resistance band exercises, warm water aerobics and body-weight workouts are all effective without being extreme.
      • Cardio Workouts: Incorporate aerobic exercises that raise your heart rate, such as walking, jogging, cycling, or swimming, to enhance overall fitness and cardiovascular health. Regular physical activity can help maintain healthy hormone levels—even taking the stairs instead of the lift can benefit you!

      Stress management:

      • Mindfulness Practices: Techniques such as meditation, yoga, and deep breathing can help manage stress levels. Chronic stress can negatively impact hormone balance, including testosterone, so try to add some mindfulness to your daily routine in a way that works for you.
      • Hobbies and Relaxation: Engage in activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Whether it's puzzling, gardening, or spending time with loved ones, find ways to unwind to keep your stress levels low and nurture your soul.

      Adequate sleep:

      • Sleep Hygiene: Establish a regular sleep routine by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Create a relaxing bedtime ritual to signal your body that it's time to wind down—reading a book, dimming the lights and introducing screen-free time before bed are all good ideas.
      • Restful Environment: Ensure your sleep environment is conducive to rest. Keep the room cool, dark, and quiet, and invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows.

      Can herbal supplements help with testosterone levels?

      Herbal supplements can play an important role in maintaining menopausal health and supporting your body through the changes, potentially influencing hormone levels, including testosterone. These include:

      • Ashwagandha: An adaptogen known to help reduce stress, boost energy and support overall hormone health, including maintaining testosterone levels. Ashwagandha root is an active ingredient in our Energy and Libido evidence-based formulas.
      • Tribulus Terrestris: Traditionally used to enhance libido and support healthy testosterone levels, Tribulus Terrestrishas been shown to be beneficial for hormonal balance and menopause symtoms, and is a key ingredient in our Libido boosting supplement.
      • Ginseng: A powerful adaptogen that helps reduce stress, improves energy and vitality, and supports overall hormonal health, potentially impacting testosterone levels - just some of the reasons why we've included it in our Energy support supplement.

      Before starting any new supplements, it’s crucial to consult with your healthcare provider first. They can provide guidance based on your individual health needs and ensure that supplements do not interfere with any existing conditions or medications.

      What about prescribed menopause medications?

      While lifestyle changes and herbal supplements are beneficial, if your symptoms are affecting your quality of life, you may need to explore prescribed medications to help manage them. Finding a healthcare provider you trust and who listens is important so they can properly assess your hormone levels and challenges, and recommend appropriate treatments or lifestyle modifications based on your individual needs.



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      This article has been reviewed by our expert advisory team.

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