What happens if you have too much testosterone?

You and Your Hormones

Alternative names for testosterone

Testo (brand name for testosterone formulations); 4-androsten-17β-ol-3-one

What is testosterone?

Testosterone is produced by the gonads (by the Leydig cells in testes in men and by the ovaries in women), although small quantities are also produced by the adrenal glands in both sexes. It is an androgen, meaning that it stimulates the development of male characteristics.

Present in much greater levels in men than women, testosterone initiates the development of the male internal and external reproductive organs during foetal development and is essential for the production of sperm in adult life. This hormone also signals the body to make new blood cells, ensures that muscles and bones stay strong during and after puberty and enhances libido both in men and women. Testosterone is linked to many of the changes seen in boys during puberty (including an increase in height, body and pubic hair growth, enlargement of the penis, testes and prostate gland, and changes in sexual and aggressive behaviour). It also regulates the secretion of luteinising hormone and follicle stimulating hormone. To effect these changes, testosterone is often converted into another androgen called dihydrotestosterone.

In women, testosterone is produced by the ovaries and adrenal glands. The majority of testosterone produced in the ovary is converted to the principle female sex hormone, oestradiol.

How is testosterone controlled?

The regulation of testosterone production is tightly controlled to maintain normal levels in blood, although levels are usually highest in the morning and fall after that. The hypothalamus and the pituitary gland are important in controlling the amount of testosterone produced by the testes. In response to gonadotrophin-releasing hormone from the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland produces luteinising hormone which travels in the bloodstream to the gonads and stimulates the production and release of testosterone.

As blood levels of testosterone increase, this feeds back to suppress the production of gonadotrophin-releasing hormone from the hypothalamus which, in turn, suppresses production of luteinising hormone by the pituitary gland. Levels of testosterone begin to fall as a result, so negative feedback decreases and the hypothalamus resumes secretion of gonadotrophin-releasing hormone.

What happens if I have too much testosterone?

The effect excess testosterone has on the body depends on both age and sex. It is unlikely that adult men will develop a disorder in which they produce too much testosterone and it is often difficult to spot that an adult male has too much testosterone. More obviously, young children with too much testosterone may enter a false growth spurt and show signs of early puberty and young girls may experience abnormal changes to their genitalia. In both males and females, too much testosterone can lead to precocious puberty and result in infertility.

In women, high blood levels of testosterone may also be an indicator of polycystic ovary syndrome. Women with this condition may notice increased acne, body and facial hair (called hirsutism), balding at the front of the hairline, increased muscle bulk and a deepening voice.

There are also several conditions that cause the body to produce too much testosterone. These include androgen resistance, congenital adrenal hyperplasia and ovarian cancer.

The use of anabolic steroids (manufactured androgenic hormones) shuts down the release of luteinising hormone and follicle stimulating hormone secretion from the pituitary gland, which in turn decreases the amount of testosterone and sperm produced within the testes. In men, prolonged exposure to anabolic steroids results in infertility, a decreased sex drive, shrinking of the testes and breast development. Liver damage may result from its prolonged attempts to detoxify the anabolic steroids. Behavioural changes (such as increased irritability) may also be observed. Undesirable reactions also occur in women who take anabolic steroids regularly, as a high concentration of testosterone, either natural or manufactured, can cause masculinisation (virilisation) of women.

What happens if I have too little testosterone?

If testosterone deficiency occurs during fetal development, then male characteristics may not completely develop. If testosterone deficiency occurs during puberty, a boy’s growth may slow and no growth spurt will be seen. The child may have reduced development of pubic hair, growth of the penis and testes, and deepening of the voice. Around the time of puberty, boys with too little testosterone may also have less than normal strength and endurance, and their arms and legs may continue to grow out of proportion with the rest of their body.

In adult men, low testosterone may lead to a reduction in muscle bulk, loss of body hair and a wrinkled ‘parchment-like’ appearance of the skin. Testosterone levels in men decline naturally as they age. In the media, this is sometimes referred to as the male menopause (andropause).

Low testosterone levels can cause mood disturbances, increased body fat, loss of muscle tone, inadequate erections and poor sexual performance, osteoporosis, difficulty with concentration, memory loss and sleep difficulties. Current research suggests that this effect occurs in only a minority (about 2%) of ageing men. However, there is a lot of research currently in progress to find out more about the effects of testosterone in older men and also whether the use of testosterone replacement therapy would have any benefits.

Last reviewed: Feb 2018




Thyroid stimulating hormone

What causes high testosterone in women?

The treatment recommended for high testosterone will depend on its underlying cause.

Typically, a doctor will recommend both lifestyle changes and medication. Some treatments may also be used to control unwanted hair.


High testosterone in women and associated conditions can be treated with the following medications:

  • Eflornithine, a cream applied directly to the skin that slows the growth of new facial hair.
  • Glucocorticosteroids, a type of steroid hormone that reduces inflammation in the body.
  • Metformin, a treatment for type 2 diabetes.
  • Progestin, a hormone that may regulate periods and improve fertility.
  • Spironolactone, a diuretic that helps regulate water and salt levels and reduces excessive female hair growth.

Oral contraceptives may also be prescribed, as this treatment helps to block excess testosterone. The best types of oral contraceptives for high testosterone and hirsutism are ones that contain low doses of norgestimate, gestodene, and desogestrel.

However, oral contraceptives may not be suitable for women who are trying to get pregnant, and they can also cause adverse side effects.

Hair removal treatments

Share on PinterestLaser therapy may help to control unwanted hair.

Both electrolysis and laser therapy may be used to control unwanted hair. However, these treatments will not resolve an underlying hormonal imbalance.

  • Electrolysis. This involves inserting a tiny needle into each hair follicle. A pulse of electric current travels through the needle and damages the follicle so that it cannot grow new hair. Multiple treatments may be required.
  • Laser therapy. During this treatment, laser light is applied to the hair follicles to damage them. Again, multiple treatments may be required.

Note that these hair removal treatments can cause adverse reactions, and they may have other associated risks.

Anyone with a hormonal imbalance should speak to a doctor before trying medical treatments for excess hair growth.

Lifestyle changes

Some of the following lifestyle changes can reduce high testosterone in women, while others simply manage symptoms.

Achieve and maintain a healthy weight

Achieving a healthy weight may help with the symptoms of a hormonal balance. Losing even 5 to 10 percent body weight may improve PCOS symptoms, reduce testosterone levels, and help prevent complications, including infertility.

Manage unwanted hair

Some women choose to treat their facial and body hair growth by plucking, shaving, waxing, or using chemical depilatories. Others bleach their hair to make it less visible.

Beware – too much testosterone could kill you!

A new study found that men who live the longest are those who have medium testosterone levels. High or low testosterone levels are linked to reduced mortality. Testosterone is a key male sex hormone involved in maintaining sex drive, sperm production and bone health. Physicians have long known that low testosterone levels can signal health problems, but the new study found men may not fare better when levels of the hormone rise too high.

‘Older men who had testosterone in the middle range survived longer than their counterparts who had either low or high levels of the hormone,’ the study’s lead author, Bu Beng Yeap, MBBS, FRACP, PhD, of the University of Western Australia, based in Fremantle Hospital, Western Australia, said. ‘When the body metabolizes testosterone, it produces dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is tied to a lower risk of dying from ischemic heart disease. Having the right amount of testosterone and higher levels of DHT might indicate these men are in better health overall, or it could help them maintain good health as they grow older,’ the researcher said.

The population-based cohort study analyzed the mortality rate in a group of 3,690 community-dwelling men between the ages of 70 to 89 in Perth, Western Australia. Participants’ testosterone and DHT levels were measured between 2001 and 2004. Researchers analyzed the group’s survival rate as of December 2010.

Researchers divided the men into four groups based on their testosterone levels. Men with the lowest testosterone levels had the highest cumulative mortality rate, followed by the men with the highest testosterone levels. Men with circulating testosterone levels in the 9.8 to 15.8 nmol/L range tended to live longer. ‘Sex hormones are an important predictor of mortality in older men, but we haven’t determined if treatments to change testosterone and DHT levels can alter these outcomes,’ Yeap said.

The research is set to be published in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

What we’ve learned about testosterone till now?

We don’t get enough testosterone

More than 25 percent of urban Indian males have low testosterone hormones due to unhealthy lifestyles. However, lack of awareness means that many patients go undiagnosed, doctors say. ’Male Hypogonadism’ affects 26.1 percent of the working population of Indian men and is caused by unhealthy lifestyle, including smoking, consuming alcohol and junk food, high stress levels etc. The hormone plays a key role in masculine growth and development during puberty.

According to doctors, symptoms include decreased libido, impaired erectile function, muscle weakness, fatigue and depression. ‘It is an established clinical condition in medicine and in India the numbers are rising drastically over the years. However, many patients with this disorder go undiagnosed,’ Ajit Saxena, senior consultant urologist and andrologist, Apollo Indraprastha Hospitals, told IANS. ‘There is a clear need to increase the awareness of hypogonadism with the rising evidence suggesting a rise in the prevalence of the disorder in working population of Indian men,’ he added. Sadly, not many general physicians are aware of this disorder.

Testosterone keeps depression at bay

Testosterone, the primary male sex hormone, also keeps depression at bay. Now scientists have figured out how. Nicole Carrier and Mohamed Kabbaj of the Florida State University have found that a specific pathway in the brain’s hippocampus, involved in memory formation and stress response regulation, plays a major role in mediating the testosterone’s effects. Carrier and Kabbaj performed multiple experiments in neutered adult male rats. The rats developed depressive behaviour that was reversed with testosterone replacement, the journal Biological Psychiatry reports. They also ‘identified a molecular pathway called MAPK/ERK2 in the hippocampus that plays a major role in mediating the protective effects of testosterone’, said Kabbaj, according to a Florida statement.

It could be used as a male contraceptive

A hormonal gel combo applied daily to the skin showed promise as a male contraceptive by reducing sperm production, say US scientists. About 89 percent of men using the new combo of skin gels enriched with testosterone and a new synthetic progestin called Nestorone, reported very low sperm counts.

‘This is the first time that testosterone and Nestorone have been applied to the skin together to deliver adequate amounts of hormones that suppress sperm production,’ said principal investigator Christine Wang, professor at the University of California’s Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute.

‘Men can use transdermal (skin) gels at home – unlike the usual injections and implants, which must be given in a health care provider’s office,’ added Wang, according to a California statement. Prior studies of male contraceptives that combined testosterone and progestin used progestin pills, implants or shots, according to Wang.

To read more: http://health.india.com/news/beware-too-much-testosterone-could-kill-you

The Myth of Too Much Testosterone

“When it comes to inappropriate higher levels of testosterone, there are underlying conditions that need to be ruled out,” says Dr. Lucille. “The first that come to mind are hyperthyroidism, adrenal or testicular tumor, or precocious puberty.”

The medical conditions that cause excess testosterone are rare, argues Drincic. “Many people mistake the symptoms of anabolic steroid abuse with symptoms of high testosterone,” he says. Anabolic steroids, which are sometimes abused by athletes and body builders, are synthetic versions of the male hormone testosterone. They can cause behavior and mood changes that include rage, paranoia, irritability, and poor judgment.

RELATED: 9 Natural Testosterone Tuneups

“The long-term effect of anabolic steroids is to,” Drincic explains. “These drugs shut down the production of natural testosterone. You can tell these men by their big muscles and tiny testicles.”

High-Testosterone Symptoms

“By far the most common cause of excess testosterone is testosterone replacement therapy,” Drincic says. “With all the attention on low testosterone, some men are being over-treated today.”

Side effects seen with testosterone replacement include:

  • Acne or oily skin
  • Prostate swelling
  • Breast enlargement
  • Worsening of sleep apnea (trouble breathing while sleeping)
  • Fluid retention
  • Decreased testicle size
  • Decrease in sperm count
  • Increase in red blood cells

“The reason you see symptoms like shrunken testicles and breast enlargement is because a lot of excess testosterone is converted to the female hormone estrogen,” Drincic says. “The only behavior symptoms I have seen from treating with too much testosterone are mood swings, which is only with testosterone injections.”

One way to avoid excess testosterone is to avoid testosterone replacement therapy unless you really need it. “I am seeing a lot of 30-year-old men who have been placed on testosterone for no good reason,” Drincic says.

If low T is your initial concern, lifestyle changes may help. “Dietary and exercise changes, particularly limiting sugars, especially fructose, eating healthy saturated fats, and engaging in high-intensity exercises may relieve symptoms of low testosterone,” Lucille says. “Strength training, reducing stress, and optimizing vitamin D levels can also be very effective at boosting testosterone levels naturally.”

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 26, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Supplemental testosterone and related anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) can cause heart attacks, personality changes and infertility, and are easily abused, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns.

The agency said Monday that labeling on all prescription testosterone products — which are approved to treat men with low testosterone due to certain medical conditions — will be revised.

Millions of American men currently use testosterone pills, gels or get injections in hopes of boosting their physical health or libido.

Anabolic steroids are synthetic variations of testosterone and are legally prescribed to treat conditions such as delayed puberty and diseases that cause muscle loss, such as cancer or AIDS.

But “testosterone and other AAS are abused by adults and adolescents, including athletes and body builders,” according to an FDA news release.

“Abuse of testosterone, usually at doses higher than those typically prescribed and usually in conjunction with other AAS, is associated with serious safety risks affecting the heart, brain, liver, mental health and endocrine system,” the agency added.

According to the agency, “reported serious adverse outcomes include heart attack, heart failure, stroke, depression, hostility, aggression, liver toxicity and male infertility. Individuals abusing high doses of testosterone have also reported withdrawal symptoms, such as depression, fatigue, irritability, loss of appetite, decreased libido and insomnia.”

THURSDAY, March 7, 2019 (HealthDay News) — High testosterone levels can drastically increase a man’s risk of heart failure and stroke-causing blood clots, a new study reports.

Men with a genetic predisposition to high testosterone levels have a nearly eightfold increased risk of heart failure and twice the risk of thromboembolism (blood clots that can block veins or arteries leading to the brain or lungs), researchers found.

Although the study focuses on men with naturally high testosterone, it has implications for aging men who are taking testosterone supplements to boost their energy levels and improve their sex drive, experts said.

Testosterone sales increased 12-fold globally between 2000 and 2011, particularly in the United States, the researchers said in background notes.

“This study serves as a big, red stop sign, a warning that higher circulating levels of testosterone can lead to an increase in cardiovascular events, which are all associated with an increased risk of death,” said Dr. Guy Mintz. He is director of cardiovascular health and lipidology at Northwell Health’s Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y.

For the study, an international research team, led by C. Mary Schooling from the School of Public Health and Health Policy at City University of New York, analyzed genetic variants that predict testosterone levels, and then assessed whether those variants appeared to influence a person’s risk of blood clots, heart failure or heart attack.

The researchers found the testosterone genes by using data from 3,225 men, aged 50 to 75, who were participating in a worldwide prostate cancer prevention trial. The investigators checked the men’s levels of testosterone, and then looked to see if those with the highest levels had any shared genetic variants.

Next, the researchers compared these genes against medical data on more than 392,000 British men and women, to see if people carrying these genetic variations had an increased risk of blood clots, heart failure or heart attacks.

One testosterone-boosting gene in particular, the JMJD1C gene, was found to double the risk of dangerous blood clots in men and increase their risk of heart failure by 7.8 times.

Causes and Symptoms Of High Testosterone In Men

Testosterone plays many important roles in males, from maintaining the density in bones and muscle mass to regulating sex drive and sperm production. By itself, high testosterone does not necessarily mean problems or that you need to be tested and treated; it all depends on how high the levels are and the state of your health otherwise.

There are several medical conditions and factors such as steroid abuse that can increase testosterone levels.

What Does High Testosterone do to Men?

Just like other hormones that your body produces, having too much or too little will produce noticeable side effects.

Physical Effects & Signs

Testosterone is responsible for how physically “masculine” males appear. This means that the more testosterone you have, the more “masculine” you look.

Stronger and more pronounced jawline

There is evidence that shows high testosterone levels shape your face to be more strong and edgy. Men who have above average testosterone levels tend to have a more pronounced jawline.

Wider facial area

Besides affecting your jawline, high testosterone levels also result in a wider and ‘bonier’ facial area. This means a wider face, sharper cheekbones, and a strong chin.

Larger Adam’s apple and deep voice

During puberty boys experience surges in testosterone levels. Testosterone surges result in the deepening of the voice which is cause by developing muscle and cartilage in the laryngeal area.

Higher bone density

Men with high testosterone levels will develop a higher bone density, which makes their frame larger.

Lots of facial and body hair

The ability to grow a full beard is a sign of high testosterone levels. Testosterone and its other derivatives are responsible for accelerating facial hair growth.

Longer ring finger

A study shows that is a man has high testosterone levels while in the womb, his ring finger will be longer than average.

Increase strength

High testosterone means more muscle mass and that means more strength.

High metabolic rate

Testosterone plays a large role in how the body uses and stores energy, with higher levels your body metabolizes food quicker.

Increased sex drive

Testosterone is a sex hormone. Which means the more you have of it the higher your sex drive will be. In contrast, low testosterone levels can cause a profound decrease in sex drive.

Aggressive behavior

In general, men tend to be more aggressive than women. Testosterone plays a major role in this trait. When a person gets angry, their body produces more testosterone to prepare for a fight-or-flight situation. So therefore having excess testosterone can cause a man to be more prone to rage, picking fights, and physical violence in general.

What causes high testosterone?

Adrenal Disorders

Disorders that involve the adrenal glands, small organs above the kidneys, can cause the body to produce too much testosterone. Congenital adrenal hyperplasia is a condition that some people are born with and that can be passed down genetically. People who suffer from this disorder can’t produce other hormones therefore leading to too much testosterone in the body.


The AACC, American Association for Clinical Chemistry, explains that various types of cancers can create abnormal levels of testosterone in the body. Tumors that appear on organs that help regulate hormones in they body such as adrenal glands and ovaries/testicles may cause the body to produce high levels of testosterone.

Early-Onset Puberty

Hitting puberty earlier than normal is a big sign in having too much testosterone. Puberty is a stage when young males develop pubic, underarm, and facial hair and experiences growth in their genitals and a deepening of the voice. Puberty is considered early if it happens before a boy is nine years old.

Drug Use

Using illegal or illicit steroids for non-medical uses can cause high testosterone levels in the body.

Get Tested

Although high testosterone levels don’t necessarily mean serious health issues it is important to get tested and know if symptoms you are experiencing are due to high testosterone. The only way to know and therefore diagnose it to get tested today.

Subscribe to Alpha M. on YouTube
Testosterone is the magical hormone that makes men super alpha! In this video men’s style, grooming, fitness and lifestyle expert, Aaron Marino of IAmAlphaM, AaronMarino, Pete & Pedro , and Ollie asks if you know how what level of testosterone you have.

Clues You Are Coursing with the ‘T’

  1. Long ring finger — as tall or taller than the middle finger
  2. Deeper voice or more pronounced Adam’s apple
  3. Acne, zits, and pimples as an adult
  4. Body body hair (chest, stomach, back, butt) + full beards
  5. Premature hair loss — more testosterone = more DHT
  6. Strong structured jaw
  7. Crazy high sex drive
  8. Strong — more muscle mass
  9. Wide shoulders + small waist (upside down pyramid)
  10. Super freakin’ aggressive — frequently pissed off & ready to fight

Elevated Testosterone Causes THIS!?

Yep, elevated testosterone can cause premature hair loss due to more DHT, and combined with male pattern baldness and genetics, it’s all over the board. So what can you do about it? When you have a toothache, you go to the dentist. When your eyesight needs correcting, you go to the ophthalmologist. When you have hair loss at any stage, Bosley is your hair doctor. Whether you’re losing a few strands, receding a little, or completely bald, Bosley has a solution for you. The sooner you identify the fact that you’re losing your hair, the sooner treatment can be started. And it’s easier to maintain and manage hair.

Their guide ‘The Complete Guide to Hair Restoration’, which is completely free, discusses the various options and details — and while you’re at it, get the $250 Gift Card (also for free) to use toward one of their procedures. Make an appointment to talk to a Bosley counselor about the various options. Hair loss can suck and can be a confidence killer, and if you’re not ready to lose your hair, sit down with Bosley to see what can be done about it.

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *