How to Interpret Your Testosterone Level

Adequate levels of testosterone are key to building and maintaining muscle mass.
Adequate levels of testosterone are key to building and maintaining muscle mass. (Image: John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

For men and women, different levels of testosterone can mean different things. Although both men and women produce and need testosterone for normal body function, they need this hormone in differing levels. Those who have low testosterone levels according to sex can undergo testosterone replacement therapy, and those who have levels too high can undergo hormone therapy to restore the correct balance. Natural measures such as improved diet, resistance training and certain supplements can also restore hormone balance; talk to you physician if you're concerned about your testosterone levels.

A normal testosterone level for men is anywhere between 200 and 1200 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dl), with the average being about 750 for men 15-24. For every 10 years gained in age, the average testosterone level decreases by about 50.

Men who have low levels of the male hormone may experience low libido, excess fat, fatigue and a higher susceptibility to infectious diseases. Testosterone replacement therapy can restore hormone levels and improve quality of life.

Men who have too much testosterone may experience premature baldness, irritability and a short temper. However, the general health of men with overly high levels of testosterone is much better than the health of men with low testosterone.

For women, normal testosterone levels can be anywhere between 15 and 80 ng/dl. As with men, testosterone level decreases with age and menopausal women have half the levels that they had in their 20s.

Women with low testosterone experience many of the same symptoms as men with low testosterone, particularly a decreased libido. Women with low testosterone may also have low hormone levels all around, including low estrogen and progesterone. Some women can benefit from hormone replacement therapy.

Women with high levels of testosterone may experience thinning hair on the scalp and increased hair on the rest of the body. If high male hormone levels are caused by PCOS, there may also be decreased levels of estrogen.

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