6 Causes of High Testosterone in Women

6 Causes of High Testosterone in Women + How to Lower your Levels

Weight gain, acne and hair loss - are you experiencing any of these symptoms?

These are only a few of the symptoms of high testosterone in women, but the real question is this:

Why do women have high testosterone, to begin with... and what can you do to lower it?

Unfortunately, many Doctors may tell you that you have high testosterone but rarely ever will they offer any advice on how to lower your levels to help you feel better.

That's why it's important to have an understanding of what is going on in YOUR body so you can figure out how to get back to normal. 

The important thing to realize about high testosterone is that usually (95% of the time) it is caused by something ELSE like another hormone imbalance.

So the way to fix the problem is by tackling and reversing the issue causing your high testosterone...


Symptoms of High Testosterone in Women

Before we jump into the causes of high testosterone and the treatment, we really need to understand the symptoms of high testosterone. 

Symptoms are very important because each person is different in terms of how much is TOO much for their body.

I have seen plenty of women with "high normal" ranges of testosterone but ALL of the symptoms.

In these patients it's obvious they have too much testosterone, but their numbers make them look relatively "normal" but they still benefit greatly from treatment.

Use this list below to help guide you...

Symptoms of High Testosterone in Women:

  • Weight Gain or inability to lose weight (especially if weight gain is unexpected)
  • Hair loss (especially if thyroid function and other hormones are normal and if the hair loss is "male-pattern") 
  • Acne, changes in complexion or very oily skin (deep cystic acne is also common with high androgens usually in the jaw-line)
  • Changes in mood including depression, irritability or anger 
  • Imbalances of other hormones including Estrogen/progesterone ratio, other androgens like DHEA and thyroid hormone
male patterned baldness

As you will probably notice many of these symptoms are non-specific. 

Meaning that there will be some crossover with other hormone imbalances in your body.

For instance: thyroid issues can cause weight gain and hair loss, but it usually isn't male patterned baldness.

Thyroid issues can also lead to acne, but it usually isn't cystic or on the jawline.

Using these specific clues can help you determine WHERE exactly your hormonal issues are coming from.

But, because there is a crossover I always recommend you ALSO test your serum levels.

Testosterone Lab Tests

Ok so let's talk about what abnormal testosterone tests look like. 

First, let me show you an example and then explain:

Below you have example #1 which is a female with high FREE testosterone and high "normal" total testosterone.

high testosterone example

From this example, you can see that only the "free" is marked as high but in reality, this patient definitely has high testosterone levels. 

How do I know?

Because she presented with hair growth on the face, acne and weight gain.

I want to take a second and explain that this pattern is VERY common and one of the most commonly missed forms. 

You see:

Free testosterone is the ACTIVE form of testosterone, so this particular patient has high levels of ACTIVE and FREE testosterone floating around causing all of the symptoms listed above.

In her case, it was caused by insulin resistance, and by treating that problem her testosterone levels (and therefore symptoms) went away.

Here is example #2:

high free testosterone example

Again, you can see that her free testosterone is HIGH but her total testosterone is within the "normal" range. 

This patient was missed by conventional Doctors because she presented with very slight hair growth, slight weight gain but with very prominent mood swings and irritability.

This is why it's so important to match symptoms to lab tests to make sure you don't miss the diagnosis.

Lab tests showing HIGH testosterone examples. 

I also wanted to show you an example of LOW testosterone:

Low testosterone and low DHEA

Above you can see the serum testosterone levels are off the chart low (<3) and I also included in the picture her Hgb A1c which shows this patient with insulin resistance as the main cause of her issue. 


High levels of insulin can cause BOTH high testosterone and low testosterone - it just depends on the patient.

You can read more about the causes and treatment of low testosterone in this article.

So now that you know HOW to diagnose high testosterone levels and what symptoms to watch out for the next step is to find out HOW to treat it...

6 Causes of High Testosterone in Women

In this section, I'm going to go over the most common causes of high testosterone. 

It's important to remember that this list is NOT the complete list, it's just the most common presentations that I have seen in my practice and the most commonly missed diagnoses.

I also want to spend some time on each to help you determine if you actually have these abnormalities because most Doctors tend to gloss over each of them.

When it comes to high levels of hormones in the body it can be difficult to treat because it requires some digging to find the "root cause". 

Compare this to LOW levels of hormones, which usually can just be "replaced" to achieve symptomatic relief.

High hormone levels require more knowledge and more advanced treatment plans.

1. Insulin Resistance

As I mentioned previously in this article the link between insulin resistance (1) (high blood sugar) and testosterone is VERY strong. 

High insulin levels cause both LOW testosterone and HIGH testosterone.

In men insulin resistance typically causes low testosterone, but in women, it can cause both.

But, what is the best way to determine how it's affecting your testosterone?

Simply check both your Hgb A1c and fasting insulin levels in addition to free and total testosterone.

If you have high testosterone levels + high levels of insulin then insulin is certainly contributing to your hormone imbalance. 

Elevated insulin and CRP

(Example of elevated insulin in the serum, your fasting insulin should be < 5) 

Women who tend to get HIGH testosterone levels with insulin resistance fall on the PCOS spectrum (2).

Meaning that as insulin increases, testosterone increases, estrogen increases and progesterone decreases.

Some women can get away with some mild hair growth on the face, while others face serious symptoms like darkening of the skin, abdominal/visceral fat deposits and extreme mood swings.

Generally, the higher your fasting insulin levels are the worse your symptoms will be. 

2. Estrogen/Progesterone Imbalances (PMS/PMDD, Estrogen dominance)

high testosterone in women

ALL hormones in your body interact with one another. 

Think of them like a spider web - you can't pill a string in isolation. Moving one strand of the web will move the entire web to some degree.

The same concept is true with your hormones.

They all play together, so when one hormone is imbalanced it will ultimately drag down (or up) other hormones in the body.

This concept is true for sex hormones in women (estrogen and progesterone).

The exact mechanism isn't clear, but there is definitely a correlation between progesterone/estrogen and testosterone.

Take for example women with PMS and PMDD - conditions caused by elevated estrogen levels (AKA Estrogen dominance). 

These patients have been shown to have increased levels of both DHEA and Testosterone (3).

Compare this to Menopause (a complete lack of progesterone with low levels of estrogen) and women generally end up with LOW testosterone levels. 

One thing is clear:

Changes to estrogen/progesterone somehow affect testosterone levels.

3. Lack of Exercise (especially weight training)

think of exercise as an extra way to help prevent your body from developing high testosterone levels. 

So lack of exercise doesn't directly cause high testosterone levels, but exercising does help PREVENT high levels, to begin with. 

This is most likely due to the effects of exercise on insulin levels (4).

Exercise helps lower insulin levels by sensitizing your cells to insulin. 

Low insulin = normal testosterone levels

High insulin = high testosterone levels

It's also worth pointing out that exercising can actually balance testosterone (5) levels to boost libido and muscle mass. 

Exercising can also help prevent the abnormal fat distribution that comes with high/low testosterone levels (fat in the upper body and upper arms area).

4. Adrenal Disease (High DHEA Levels)

This condition is less common, but anything that cranks up adrenal production can ultimately lead to high testosterone levels. 

To understand you need to see how testosterone is created in the body:

high testosterone from high DHEA

Using this diagram below you can see that testosterone can be created from precursors like DHEA, pregnenolone, progesterone, and androstenedione. 

Anything that increases any of these hormones (even if you take these as supplements!) can increase your total testosterone.

There are also several medical conditions which can lead to elevated DHEA and testosterone through this pathway including Adrenal hyperplasia, high stress (adrenal fatigue), excess supplementation of progesterone/pregnenolone/DHEA and insulin resistance (6).

Obviously, the most common causes of high DHEA include increased demand for adrenal production (high cortisol and high DHEA levels) and excess supplementation (which can be a big problem as well). 

For this reason, it's a good idea to always check serum levels of DHEA in addition to cortisol levels when evaluating testosterone levels.

Remember that hormones do NOT operate in isolation, altering one will also alter others. 

5. High Leptin Levels (AKA Leptin Resistance)

Leptin is the hormone that just may be making it impossible for you to lose weight and keep it off. 

If you aren't familiar with leptin please read this article which outlines how exactly it causes weight loss resistance

But briefly here is the story:

leptin resistance and high testosterone

Leptin is a hormone secreted by fat cells and it's supposed to control your appetite, metabolism and tell your brain to burn fat.

When you have leptin resistance guess what happens?

Your brain doesn't get the signal and instead of doing all of those things it instead causes the EXACT opposite.

That means your metabolism slows down, your brain makes you think you are constantly hungry and your body refuses to burn fat. 


In addition to causing weight loss resistance, high levels of leptin are also associated with high testosterone levels (7).

High leptin levels also are seen in women with PCOS (8) and many women with leptin resistance also have insulin resistance (which further worsens testosterone levels by itself). 

So high insulin levels = high leptin levels = high testosterone levels

High insulin and leptin levels make it impossible to lose weight and high testosterone levels cause all of the side effects listed above.

6. Weight gain or Obesity

It turns out that excess fat (9) can also cause high testosterone levels by itself. 

Fat cells themselves actually increase levels of androgens in females. 

Studies show that this is caused by the upregulation of an enzyme known as 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 5 (10).

Forget the long name of the enzyme and just focus on the fact that fat cells themselves increase testosterone levels. 

BUT, in addition to fat cells increasing testosterone levels...

Fat cells also increase insulin resistance which also leads to further androgen excess (high testosterone).

The moral of the story here is that you need to lose weight in addition to adding the other therapies above to normalize testosterone levels. 

And don't let that freak you out because the next section is all about treating high testosterone levels...

How to Lower Testosterone in Women

When attempting to lower your testosterone levels it is critical to know WHY you have high levels, to begin with. 

This is because there are multiple "treatments" for the condition, but the theme is always the same: treat the root cause. 

Below I'm going to go over some ways to treat high testosterone levels if you have the conditions listed above...

If you have high insulin levels AND high testosterone levels then consider the following treatments:

Treatment for high Testosterone levels due to insulin resistance

  • Add in high-intensity interval training or weight training - building muscle mass sensitizes tissues to insulin levels
  • Decrease carbohydrates (especially refined carbs like sugar/bread/pasta/etc.) - consider diets like Nutritional ketosis
  • Consider the use of T3 hormone to boost thyroid function and sensitize cells to insulin levels
  • Consider insulin-sensitizing medications: SGLT-2 inhibitors, Metformin, GLP-1 agonists, alpha-amylase inhibitors
  • Consider supplements to lower insulin levels: Berberine (1,000-2,000mg per day), Alpha lipoic acid (600-1,200mg per day), Magnesium, Chromium, and PGX fiber - all of these supplements have been shown to reduce blood sugar and insulin levels
  • Note: Treating insulin resistance WILL take more than 1 treatment as indicated above. I also find that insulin resistance is VERY common among women with weight loss resistance (and problems losing weight). Do not ignore this hormone and make sure you get properly evaluated. 

Treatment for high Testosterone due to Estrogen & Progesterone imbalances

  • Ensure that your thyroid is functioning optimally - hypothyroidism causes estrogen dominance and low progesterone levels
  • Ensure your excretion and metabolism of estrogen is optimal - that means proper liver function and optimal methylated B vitamins and nutrients
  • If menopause consider using bio-identical hormone replacement, especially if symptomatic (Bioidentical progesterone and estradiol/estriol combo in the form of biest work particularly well)
  • Consider supplements to help estrogen metabolism: Vitamin B12 (preferably methylcobalamin), 5-MTHF, DIM or Indole-3-carbinol, Milk thistle, MSM, bio-identical progesterone (20-40mg transdermally on days 14-28 of your cycle) 
  • Note: The best way to check for estrogen/progesterone imbalances is through DUTCH testing, NOT serum levels. If you feel you have estrogen dominance but "normal" serum labs, then make sure to check via DUTCH (urine testing). Also, put special attention on thyroid function because imbalances in thyroid hormone can cause both low progesterone and high estrogen levels. 

Treatment for high Testosterone due to Adrenal related issues

  • Increase consumption of salt (Himalayan pink salt or Celtic sea salt)
  • Manage stress levels with relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, spiritual prayer, time outside or in nature, etc. (see audio clip below for more info)
  • Cut caffeine and alcohol consumption way, way down
  • Avoid other stimulates like amphetamine-based medications (Adderall, Concerta, Phentermine, etc.)
  • Get 8 hours of sleep per night and avoid high energy tasks late at night, avoid taking naps during the day
  • Consider the following supplements: Adrenal adaptogens, Adrenal glandulars, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, and low doses of melatonin (if you are having issues with sleep)
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/281548831″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/232694921″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
  • Note: Adrenal related issues can be very complex to treat, so if you suspect adrenal issues are playing a large role in your high testosterone levels you would likely benefit from seeing a practitioner to help guide you. It's also worth noting that the best way to test for cortisol/cortisone levels is again with a series of 4 urine tests throughout the day (DUTCH urinary testing). 

Treatment of high Testosterone due to Leptin resistance

  • Consider intermittent/prolonged fasting program
  • Cut carbohydrates and fructose consumption (both make leptin levels worse)
  • Treating underlying thyroid resistance and insulin resistance if present (use steps above) -> if you don't balance these hormones treating leptin resistance will be almost impossible
  • Add high-intensity exercise + weight training
  • Consider leptin sensitizing medications: Byetta, Victoza, Bydureon or Symlin. 
  • Consider supplements (there are no specific supplements to treat leptin resistance that work consistently): Insulin-sensitizing supplements (above), Fish oil, Zinc, and Leucine
  • Note: Leptin resistance can be very difficult to treat and in order to treat it you must treat conditions that also make it worse (like insulin resistance and thyroid resistance). In my experience treating leptin resistance usually requires the assistance of medication (as listed above) and, when used correctly, weight loss and other hormone balancing effects can be profound. 

Bottom line: 

Treating high testosterone levels is possible but it requires the right approach - treating the underlying cause.

If you are able to properly diagnose and treat the underlying cause you should be able to reduce your symptoms dramatically!

Most causes of High testosterone are due to 1 or more of the following: Insulin resistance, leptin resistance, imbalances in estrogen/progesterone, imbalances in adrenal function, and poor diet/lifestyle.

If you are serious about treating your high testosterone levels make sure you find a Doctor who understands hormone balancing and is willing to do some digging to get to the cause of your problem. 

Now it's your turn:

Do you have high testosterone levels? 

What have you done to treat it? 

What has worked for you?

Leave your comments or questions below! 

References (Click to Expand)

what causes high testosterone in women?

Dr westin childs photo

About Dr. Westin Childs

Hey! I'm Westin Childs D.O. (former Osteopathic Physician). I don't practice medicine anymore and instead specialize in helping people like YOU who have thyroid problems, hormone imbalances, and weight loss resistance. I love to write and share what I've learned over the years. I also happen to formulate the best supplements on the market (well, at least in my opinion!) and I'm proud to say that over 70,000+ people have used them over the last 6 years. You can read more about my own personal health journey and why I am so passionate about what I do here.

P.S. Need more help? Check out my free thyroid downloads and resources.

205 thoughts on “6 Causes of High Testosterone in Women + How to Lower your Levels”

      • Pretty much any physician can “treat” PCOS the conventional way, what you want is someone who look past the conventional treatment and try to reverse the conditions. Someone with an understand of hormone imbalances beyond OCP, metformin, etc.

  1. Dr Childs: I have a feeling my high testosterone is caused or at least enhanced by insulin levels. Problem is that I’m a T1D and can’t get away from taking insulin. I eat a relatively low carb diet to begin with and don’t eat much/any dairy or gluten. Just not sure the best way to go about treating this, and I don’t have an endocrinologist that “believes” any of this. I do have a fabulous functional MD though. How do I go about unravelling this?

    • Hey Jennifer,

      There are certainly ways to influence insulin sensitivity in the body to control for insulin resistance in type I diabetics. You can even augment this process using medications + lifestyle changes + botanicals + HIIT which will help lower insulin resistance and improve testosterone levels (assuming your levels aren’t coming from your adrenals).

  2. Hi Dr. Childs,

    I am 51 and had blood work done due to what I thought was onset of menopause. Believe it or not my Estrogen, Progesterone and FSH levels are normal. What brought me to the MD was weight gain, lethargy and difficulty sleeping so I assumed it was menopause. My blood work did show a high Testosterone level of 47, low vitamin D level of 21 and a low insulin assay level of 1.4L. I found your article very interesting as its one of the few that addresses high testosterone levels in women and how to treat it. I just can’t find the correlation how high testosterone and low insulin. Am I correct in assuming the high testosterone is what has caused my sudden onset of weight? and is lowering it what I should focus on?. I have always been able to control my weight and that changed in May of this year when I gained 14lbs in a little over a month and have not been able to lose it since. Thanks Eileen

    • Hey Eileen,

      High testosterone is rarely the cause of weight gain, but usually secondary to other hormone imbalances that do cause weight gain. It’s a warning sign generally of other problems. You most likely won’t be able to drop the testosterone without addressing the other hormones.

      • You didn’t really answer Eileen ? Like you answered the others, I found her ? Interesting being she laid out a few good areas of issues

        • Hi Kamika,

          I do my best to answer all of the questions I can, but sometimes I am unable to answer them due to time constraints or other reasons. For instance this morning I woke up to 30+ comments on the blog and 20+ emails, I wish I could answer them all but unfortunately I’m not able to.

  3. Hello Dr. Childs,
    I am 21 and have been having problems with high testosterone and DHEA since I was 17 years old. My main issue is sleep problems, and hair loss. Can you suggest any supplement that lowers DHEA levels or Testosterone levels, besides birth control , steroids, and Metformin? Also if you have any information on general about how to lower my levels, please let me know.
    Thank you so much for your time,
    Paige Campbell

      • Hey Gina,

        Thanks for the insight. Vitamin B5 is helpful in reducing insulin resistance but I have never seen anyone reverse their insulin resistance, lose weight and normalize their testosterone levels with B5 alone.

      • Hi Gina

        my daughter was sick with high testosterone, eventually led to social withdrawal, then we found Pyroluria is a defeciency of b6 and zinc and b3 and with that and more b vitamins it helped. Praise be to God. It seems like a lack of B vitamins is the cause of many illnesses including diabetes. I think vitamins are needed to make hormones and progesterone, insulin, etc are all hormone. I would agree with you that B5 is a better substitute for metformin.

  4. Hello! 33 Yr old female. Had anxiety for almost 9 years. Just dealt with it, and recently tried some supplements, exercise and counseling but got way out of hand. Finally broke down and accepted lexapro. Doc also suspected low progesterone. She was right. She’s and estrodol both seemed about right. Testosterone was high and so was cortisol. My bedtime level was off the bell curve.

    When she originally suspected the low progesterone she planned to have me take bioidentical progesterone. Oillnsonce inhave kids and she didn’t want them touching it somehow.

    What are your thoughts? Diabetes does run in my family. Had no issues with either pregnancy. But so sometimes feel shaky and weak of info too long without eating.

    • Hey Nikki,

      Sounds like metabolic issues related to glucose metabolism, I would look into fasting glucose/insulin and hgb A1c.

  5. Hi Dr. Childs!

    I see a wonderful naturopath due to food, low thyroid and recurring low adrenal issues. I am 52.
    Recently had a hormone saliva panel done and my testosterone was through the roof (way outside the normal range). I am 5’4″ and have been in fairly good shape, and aside from the items above, tests usually always come back great.
    I have put on weight (maybe 10 lbs, which is a lot for me and not normal). I have a major issue with chin hair – essentially I grow mans stubble overnight and have to shave it every morning….this is very distressing.
    We are not completely sure the cause at this moment, but my naturopath is thinking my adrenals may be the culprit. However, for the testosterone issue, at the moment we are trying Saw Palmetto twice a day and I take a 7-keto once a day. Next month we are re-testing but I’m certain it must still be high. There is no change in my weight and my stubble is the same or even possibly worse.
    I know it’s difficult not knowing everything, but was wondering if you have any thoughts….???

  6. I was being exposed to the testosterone jell from my boyfriend. I went to the obgyn who checked my hormone levels and my testosterone levels was 641 and I’ve gained weight feel irritated and sluggish and dizzy. She said that he needed to change how he uses it and he has but she didn’t explain how long it would take for my levels to come down or how it would effect me. I keep feeling dizzy and nauseous and keep getting migraines. Can you help me understand what I need to do and if this level is dangerous. And if I need any further treatment. I’m 48 and I’m not in menopause my levels were fine with that. Thanks in advance for any help and info.

    • Hey Robyn,

      I can’t give you any specific information, but in general and assuming you don’t have any other hormone imbalances your body should metabolism the testosterone over time – but, again, I don’t know your situation so I can’t really help you much. I would recommend you take these questions to your personal doctor.

  7. Hi Dr westin Childs

    My daughter is 19 and suffers from high testosterone due to adrenal. she is not very social and does not want to see a doctor. she rarely has any conversation with the family. the last time we saw the doctor her pcos can was unremarkable and her sugar levels are good, no diabetes . her iron and vt D were low. How can i help her. Also how is it possible to make an appointment to your clinic. I live in New York.

    • Hey Fadia,

      I’m not currently accepting any patients but you should have her see a specialist who understands hormone imbalances (not an endocrinologist). If her problem is adrenal related, as in adrenal hyperplasia, then it depends on where her enzymatic problem is. Most of the time something else is contributing to the problem and making it worse (this is where a specialist can help the most).

      • Dear Dr Westin Childs

        thanks for your reply. Can you say what causes social withdrawal when an individual does not socialise with the household as she did before, and is very calm and quiet. sometimes she may pet the cat.

        • Hi Bob,

          Someone with post-graduate training in HRT such as integrative medicine, functional medicine or anti-aging medicine. You can learn more about it here: https://www.restartmed.com/thyroid-doctor/

          In residency (which is where most physicians receive training), doctors are not taught about hormone replacement therapy with the exception of insulin for diabetes. So, in order for a doctor to be knowledgeable on this topic post-residency, they must do their own research and take extra courses.

          • Hi there, my 17-year-old daughter was just diagnosed with NCAH,-acne, weight gain, irregular periods, which has lead to confidence issues, etc. A specialist in endo /dietician can not help, they keep saying they just don’t know what to do. 3 months have passed and still no plan. How do we figure out the enzymatic problem?

  8. I’m a 20 year old female who has struggled with acne since age 12, but it got significantly worse right before I turned 18. all signs point to high testosterone– deep cystic acne, high inflammation, mostly on cheeks and jawline, acne on chest and back, and irregular (if not absent) periods. However, my blood test results show that I am in the “completely normal” range for testosterone and free testosterone. is it possible that what is normal for me just isn’t normal according to the textbook definition? I’ve had blood tests 3 different times by 3 different doctors and all say everything is normal but SOMETHING has got to be the cause of all this since I follow all the “acne rules” (like consistently washing my face, not touching my face, changing pillowcases often, drinking enough water, etc….) and have tried everything topically on my skin one could think of.

  9. I’ve read your article but I cannot figure out how I fit in. I have a lot of facial hair growth. To gain perspective I pluck for one hour every single day on my upper lip and around my jawline and now down my neck area. This has been happening for a total of 5 to 6 years and recently has gotten worse as I have seen a natural path and have been supplementing with bio identical hormone progesterone. Out of all of my tests, progesterone was the lowest at .5, testosterone was 31, and he did not test free testosterone, and my estrogen was 31. My thyroid is normal, my glucose is 94, I have slightly high total cholesterol and low vitamin D at 27.9. I have been supplementing both vitamin D and Progesterone for approximately two months now. I also take B 12,K2, magnesium, B complex, C, and E. He did not test my insulin but did IGF – 1 factor which came in normal at 1.59. The one thing that I thought was interesting is my FSH serum is at 47.3 which shows me in a post menopausal phase and I am only 48 years old. I have had a tubal ligation. And finally my DHEA is not high but it is near high at 234.9. Please if you can figure this out, let me know because I can’t seem to pinpoint my issue and I’m tired of plucking. Thinking of becoming a man or going to a transgender doctor to get my gender back! Oh and I have gained 40 pounds in the last 2 years. I have lost 3 inches around my waist since taking D3 and progesterone. Please help.

    • Hey Shaun,

      You should have both your leptin and fasting insulin levels checked. You should also have free testosterone levels checked. Until you get these tests it’s hard to figure out what is going on.

  10. For the past year I have had hair thinning and hair loss. The thinning started right after my doctor put me on BIEST for atrophy. I took that for about 9 months, then was put on 12 mg of DHEA and hair loss increased drastically. I was on the DHEA for only 3 months. I have been off of it for almost 4 weeks, and it seems that the hair loss has slowed down. I am 5′ 6″ and only weigh 105 lbs, and limit sugar and grains. My body temperature averages 94.3 to 95.3 and my hands and feet are freezing, 24/7. In spite of a fairly healthy diet, my cholesterol levels have shot up this past year.
    I am female, 55 with hysterectomy (still have ovaries).
    Below are some recent labs and I’m trying to make sense of it all:
    TSH .998 uIU/mL
    Thyroxine 6.5 ug/dL
    Triiodothyronine, Free 2.4 pg/mL
    T4, free (Direct) 1.04 ng/dL
    Reverse T3, Serum 15.8 ng/dL

    Testosterone, Serum 81 ng/dL
    Free Testosterone .9 pg/ml
    DHEA-Sulfate 34.0 ug/dL
    Estradiol <5.0 pg/mL

    Cholesterol total 202
    Triglycerides 68
    HDL 86
    Non HDL 116
    VLDL 14
    LDL 102
    Chol/HDL 2.3

    Any direction is greatly appreciated!

    • Hey Dawn,

      Make sure to check for micronutrient deficiencies as well as iron studies – all of which are required for proper hair growth.

  11. Hi Dr. Childs,

    I had lab work done in October. My Testosterone serum was 59 and free testosterone was 10.8. Estradiol was <5. Repeated labs in December. Tes. serum was still 59 and free T was 10.0. Estradiol was 81.8. I have been on hormone replacement since going through early menopause approximately 7 years ago. I lost 15 pounds have have maintained that all of these years. This July, I started putting on weight and noticed increase in muscle mass. I have now put on 15 pounds and little has changed in diet and exercise. I am a coach at a gym, I do a combinations of lifting heavy weights along with metabolic workouts. Other than the weight gain, my only other possible symptoms would be increase libido and anxiety. My doctor prescribed spironolactone to speed up the loss of the T in my system, which I discontinued because it made me dizzy which caused more anxiety. I am currently on Elestrin (1 pump), Norethindrome 5mg. I discontinued a 1mg testosterone troche in October. I had done very well on the medications until late summer 2016. Do you have any ideas about what the cause of the increased T might be in my case? I have an appointment with my GYN today to discuss. I have taken some notes from this article.


    • Hey Lara,

      Insulin resistance is an underlying cause in many women, I would check fasting insulin, blood sugar and Hgb A1c (make sure to use the ranges I’ve outlined in my other writings or you will be blown off by a lack of understanding from your physician).

      • I have been to a dermatologist about two months ago. I just recently, since March 2017 have developed awful acne on the right side of my face, jawline, arms, back, etc. He put me on spiroctolane. I have been extremely stressed for over 3years . I have Fibromyalgia,plus have been a caregiver for my parents, and Husband whom have all passed. I’m thin, so no weight issues. Major fatigue, mood changes, I have hypothyroidism, and have had a hysterectomy. I’m taking levothyroxin, and 1 mg of estradiol along with other medications for depression. Would increasing my estradiol by 1 mg offset my high testosterone? 2mg estradiol? I need help

  12. Hi Dr Childs, 1st would like to thankyou for taking time out of your day (which im sure is quite busy) for your amazing articles. I have learned more by reading them than all the countless articles I have read in a year. My daughter is 34, hasnt had a period in over a year and half. Testosterone through the roof, hair growing on face , back etc severe acne . 1 dr said pcos another said no. This has been going on for 2 years now with no answers. She see’s an endocrinologist who seems to have a wait and see aproach to see if testosterone will come down naturally. If its not down in 2 years, im thinkn she needs HELP! What dr would be better to deal with her situation? She is starting to get very depressed. Thankyou.

    • Hey Sharon,

      Your best bet is looking outside of the insurance model and paying cash for someone who specializes in hormone balancing (with emphasis on women + thyroid). You will most likely never find the care you need inside the insurance model because you will be forced to use endcrinologists and/or ob gyn’s who (believe it or not) don’t do well with hormone balancing.

      • Dear Dr Childs, thankyou so much on your quick reply, it is greatly appreciated. Have you written any books on the subject of high testosterone in women? Id be very interested in purchasing, thankyou, Sharon

        • Hey Sharon,

          Unfortunately I have not, I plan to create more content around testosterone and women at some point in the future – it’s just a matter of finding time.

      • HI Dr. Childs,

        I have a 16 yo daughter with very similar symptoms as mentioned above. Hair loss, increase hair on face, neck stomach and back, acne, and irregular/no periods. Recent blood work shows high testosterone, insulin and DHEA. We are currenlty waiting to see an Endocrinologist. Your comment above has me thinking outside the box that she should see someone else. When I look for hormone specialists, all that I can find is Endocrinologists. What do you suggest to look for when finding someone outside of the insurance model? Thanks so much!

  13. Hi there,
    I have been in remission from A.l.l. leukemia since 1992. I get yearly blood work done since, about 2 years ago my labs came back that my testosterone was high. They sent me to an Endocrinologist who told me I have p.c.o.s. even though I have regular menstrual cycles and have had a child with no problems getting pregnant. He put me on metformin 500 mgs 3x a day… I did that for awhile started eating better and being more active I lost about 20 lbs Im now maintaining 128 lbs Im 4’11 went to the Obgyn they ruled out ovarian cysts however I have a bunch in my breasts so now I have to go in Feb to a breast cancer specialist. The Obgyn agrees with the Endocrinologist about p.c.o.s. I do have some insulin resistance but my sugar levels and thyroid are normal. Testosterone is still high, struggling to lose more weight what else can I do? Im at a loss, can pcos be from cysts in the breasts not the ovaries? Very confused about this…

    • Hey Danielle,

      Your insulin levels and blood sugar levels are most likely not “normal”, your current physicians are just using the standard range to evaluate it.

  14. I am an active 63 obviously post menopausal woman. I have both high testosterone and DHEA s. I am scheduled to see an endocrinologist but can not get in until July. We need endocrinologists here. Anyway I have the usual symptoms male pattern balding (I have always been know for my thick hair) lots of new dark facial hair and I am irritated and impatient all the time.
    What I would like to know is if this could be causing me to experience adrenaline rushes. This only happens at night when I am sleeping. Of course this wakes me up into a flight or fight response. I am in constant dream mode (per a recent sleep study) and seldom go into restorative sleep. Off and on I get 4 to 5 hours of sleep per night due to these persistent rushes. No wonder I am irritated right! These never occur when I am awake during the day. Can this be due to my high testosterone and DHEA s levels. Feels like I am going crazy at times. Thanks for your input on this.
    PS. I have a stress free life except for the above problem.

    • Hey Debra,

      They could be related to a number of issues, definitely hormone related (cortisol, estradiol, epi/norepi) but most likely not related to testosterone levels.

  15. Hi, I am 18 and have had no period for 6 months as well as blood work shows high testosterone level, I also have a high insulin level mark around my neck for past year but blood work for that is normal. I have been 120 ish lbs last 3 years. But in the last 3 month am up to 165. I have not changed my diet and continue to exercise. My doctor sent me to an endocrinologist who rechecked blood work and only thing came back was high testosterone level again. Did a pelvic ultrasound that came back normal. Dr wants to just put me on a birth control that could take 6 months to start periods. But everything I was told before was that they wanted to get to the root of the problem prior to starting any treatment. Now seems like they don’t know so they just want to put me on a med. Confuses and frustrated to not get to the bottom of such rapid onset of extreme changes Any help would be appreciated.

  16. Hi, I am a 49 year old woman who had a hysterectomy when I was 27 and have been dealing not only with hormone issues but also weight issues for a long time. I have developed high blood sugar and also have minor gastroparesis. I recently had blood work done and my fasting Insulin was 19, both my total and free testosterone were high and my cortisol was on the high end of normal. My blood sugar was staying around 130-140’s but this time it has jumped up to 180’s with an A1C of 7.6. It has never been that high ever!! I am fatigued all the time, even when I get 8 hours of sleep. I cannot lose weight at all no matter if I cut carbs or not and all my weight is situated around my mid section. I have terrible mood swings. I work 6 days a week so I do not do a lot of exercise. I have been to Dr. after Dr. trying to figure something out but no one ever gives me an answer. I would love to wake up and feel good for once.

    • Hey Shannon,

      You should try to find a physician that specializes in hormones (not an endocrinologist), you will likely have to look outside of the insurance model for physicians who will actually be able to help you.

  17. Hi Dr. Childs, Thank you so much for this very informative article!

    I am a 29 year old female and just had some blood work done that showed my testosterone levels are slightly elevated (55 ng/dL). My doctor said all my other levels were “normal”, but what you said about the LH and FSH levels caught my attention because my LH is 10.87 mIU/mL and FSH is 6.12 mIU/mL, so not totally off but not equal, either. This all came about because I’m searching for answers as to why I have 45 day menstrual cycles (and sometimes 15 day cycles) and am having trouble conceiving. It took my husband about 2 years to get pregnant with our first daughter and we have been trying to get pregnant now again for a year and a half with no luck (she is 2.5 years old). Shortly before finally conceiving our first child, my husband and I changed to a low-glycemic diet (mostly to lose weight) but it was the first time I had ever had regular periods and then we found out we were pregnant. Is it possible that I’m Insulin Resistant and the low-glycemic diet helped regulate my hormones enough to get pregnant (my HbA1C is 5.5% and my eAG is 111 mg/dL if that helps)? I’m not getting very far with my doctor, as she doesn’t want to get to the root but just suggested I try Clomid to stimulate ovulation, but I would much rather find the cause and correct that. Should pursue trying to find out if I have PCOS brought on by Insulin Resistance, or just try going back to a low-glycemic diet (and then continuing this from now on not just to get pregnant or lose weight) since there isn’t a cure for PCOS only ways to manage it?

    Thanks for any advice you can give!

  18. Thank you for an excellent article! Timely as I’ll be having fasting, and infection blood work done soon and can add these hormone tests in also.

    I’ve know that my hormones were out of balance and because of heavy pregnancy weight gains then slowly gaining through the years to about double the weight at age 55. Plus the soft blond facial hair turning to course, dark facial hair under nose and chin and a few cheekbone sites, and formerly had trouble with diabetes, the thyroid and adrenals. Currently only some infection and adrenal stuff is going on. The Leptin connection is new to me and I’ll be putting a great number of these things from your article into practise.

    The lab I’m thinking of using is: https://www.healthonelabs.com/tests_offer/index/24
    They have 10 hormone choices. Is the Basic Hormone Package the best one for me to choose? I’ll also be doing the Comprehensive Health Profile Package. Again, thanks for a great How-To Take Care of It article.

  19. Hi Dr. Childs,

    Great Article! This info will be very helpful for my wife.

    I was just wondering what specifically you did for yourself in the beginning when you found you had “Adrenal Fatigue, Gluten and dairy intolerance, Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and a number of basic nutrient deficiencies” that brought you back to health?



    • Hey Jay,

      It took me about 1 year to fix all of those problems, with various steps involved along the way. Much of what I learned in the process is posted in some form on this blog.

  20. Hello!

    Thank you so much for this article! I am trying to figure out what to do about my 10 year old daughter. She has started developing body odor, breast buds and most recently a peach fuzz type mustache and body hair. She has always had a fair complexion with dark hair, but it seems to be getting worse. She complains of stomach cramps about once a month & Im so afraid she is going to start her period. Can you please give me advice on what I should do, where I should take her, what tests to run? I am so afraid this is all happening too soon & I do not want her to have to endure the whole female issues this early in life.
    Thank you for any advice!

  21. Hello 2 years ago i was diagnosed with thyroid and docter put me on 50 mg levaxin soon after i started losing and thinning hair docter ask me to use rogain without any further hormonal issues my periods are abnormally heavy i was iron deficient and take good multivitamin and iron supplements along with good diet but nothing works for my hair loss im also having infertility issues an you please help me what further i can do to fix my problem?

  22. I have PCOS and my testosterone was 90 on 1/11/17. They tested my glucose, GHB, creatinine and BUN and all of it was totally normal. I was prescribed and started Metformin (1500 mg) and testosterone was 68 on 2/3/17. I started on 2000mg metformin and had testosterone checked on 2/24/17 and it was 64.
    If insulin resistance isn’t the “cause” of the high testosterone, what do you think is? Why did metformin work but only a little?
    I’m thin and don’t have any of the “normal” symptoms of high testosterone or PCOS. I’m wondering if something else is causing the high testosterone. I eat dairy because I don’t eat meat. How do you get protein if you can’t eat meat, soy or dairy? I drink protein shakes but hear that isn’t sufficient as an alternative. I take a prenatal that has fish oil. I don’t drink caffeine or alcohol or take stimulants. I feel like all roads point at an adrenal issue but I’m doing all the things you recommended. What do you think my next steps are to get that testosterone value down?? Thanks in advance.

    • Hey Tricia,

      Part of the problem is that metformin is not enough to treat insulin resistance by itself. It works, but only slightly, so you can’t really say that insulin resistance isn’t the cause of your problem until you actually treat it. You should also make sure that you are getting non whey based protein powder. You can get protein from beans, etc. in plants and there are plant based protein powders.

  23. Hi Dr.!

    Really enjoying your site! Trying to figure out how I fit into this matrix:

    I am in my early 30s, tall-ish, average weight which fluctuates from 125-155 depending on exercise and diet. Only mildest acne now due to skincare regime, but was awful as a kid. No idea if my cycles are normal because I’ve been on birth control forever. Some extra hairs here & there, but nothing out of ordinary. However, starting hair is thinning at crown & diagnosed with alopecia. Often suffer from fatigue and mood imbalances.

    My is TT 54 ng/dl, SBH 65 n/mol, & albumin 4.8 which is in range according to doc, albeit higher end for TT. So why is my bioavailable T calculating at 15.7 ng/dl? I have been on birth control, and the upper range I am finding is 4 ng/dl.

    I am not sure what the root cause is. Dr. Says maybe PCOS, but blood sugar within range. Fasting glucose is steadily 97 mg/dl, a1c 512, fasting insulin 8. Perfect blood pressure. TSH in range at 1.89 & not anemic. However, cholesterol high 245 total, 166 LDL, 59 hdl & triglyceride 123. Almost high Uris acid (6) and sodium (141) fasting.

    What gives? Any suggestions on how to talk to my doctor about my concerns with the bioavilable T? She doesn’t seem too concerned.

    Thank you!

    • Hey Karin,

      Fasting insulin isn’t the best way to assess for insulin resistance, the definitive test is a 2 hour post prandial insulin level which will show if you have insulin resistance or not.

  24. Hi!
    I hope you are still answering questions on this blog!
    I stumbled upon it in my search for answers related to unusual blood work and a diagnosis that doesn’t make sense to me. I came of the BCP in April of 2005. By January 2006 I still had no had a period and so a gynecologist sent me for random blood work to determine the cause. The blood work showed a Total Testosterone level of 141ng/dl (high) but a normal Free Testosterone level of 1.1pg/nl My fasting insulin was 5.9 uiu/ml (normal) and TSH was 2.49. (DHEA, DHEAS, estrogen and progesterone were not tested). She diagnosed me with PCOS which didn’t seem to fit as I didn’t have any symptoms of the syndrome. I have had blood work run several times since 2006 to “monitor” my supposed PCOS and my levels have all been normal every time.
    I have been told by two endocrinologists (whose specialty was thyroid disorders) that I cured my PCOS, but at the same time have been told by a gynecologist and two general practitioners that you can’t cure PCOS.
    Do you have any insight as to what could have cause the temporary elevation in Total Testosterone only?

  25. Hi! Fabulous information . Just had my labs done & my progesterone dropped 1.00 & my testosterone both total & free were elevated 3x what they should be. I’ve been bioidentical estradiol& progesterone& nature throid for 12 years & have done very well. Occasionally testosterone jumps higher. Could chronic stress & or gum disease cause hormone imbalances?? I’m healthy & workout 5-6 days a week & eat a healthy diet. However I help my 88 year old mom daily so thats added stress of course. I just recently had some dental issues & had the lanap laser surgery on gums. It was suggested by my compounding pharmacy to take indole 3 carbinol to help balance things out. My thyroid & estradiol levels are good. Please advise on testosterone ,thank you in advance. susan

    • Hey Susan,

      Yes, chronic stress can certainly impact hormonal levels including testosterone – most likely through cortisol.

  26. I think I may have hormone issues, but do not know what category I would fit in. Not overweight, 5’1″ 115 pounds, eat healthy, exercise, do not smoke, drink occasional wine. My skin is extremely oily! By mid day an oil slick. I have face/body hair from head to toe, all blonde, but longer and more than any other female I have come across, even though a dermatologist told me it was normal (example, hair on arms is blonde, but almost a few inches long! longer then guys even). I have some acne here and there, but not too bad, except black heads on nose. I had done some research on my own and found out about testosterone/DHT as cause of oily skin. I have read that some people can have normal levels, but skin sensitivity to DHT, causing excess oil and hair. I asked my dermatologist to use spironolactone and she agreed. This is the only thing that has ever helped my oily skin, but I have not seen reduction in hair after around seven months. Any suggestions?


  27. I did a Dutch steroid hormone test and found out that my androgens and testosterone are high as well as a couple estrogens. I also saw my DHEAS was high. I can’t stop gaining weight and I can’t figure out what is causing it. Progesterone was normal. I suspect adrenal. I have had chronic pain which comes and goes and is neurological. Other tests reveal low gut bio diversity even though I eat a ton of veggies and beta glucaronidase. Liver needs support as well. Is there anything you suggest?

  28. Hello,

    I am 33 and within the last 2 years I have began balding on top, around my temples and just in general I have had hair loss of about 50%. I am extremely angry all the time, I have a 10 second memory span as well and cannot focus to save my life. I have thick hair that has been growing on my chin and stomach. I have also gained 15 pounds in about a year that will not go away. I decided to ask to have my Estrogen and Testosterone levels checked Estradoil: 89.80 pg/ml Testosterone Free 5.3 pg/ml and Testosterone Total: 60 ng/dl. My doc referred me to an ENDO. Should I be worried? I began taking Saw Palmetto and Licorice as well as drinking Spearmint tea. I am also seeing an Acupuncturist. Please help, I don’t want to feel so angry all the time.

  29. Hi Dr. Childs , I have a question. I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 16 and I have been on birth control ever since. About 2 years ago my thyroid decided to stop working so I have been taking Synthroid 75 a day ever since and my thyroid is working just fine. I decided to stop birth control because I would like to start a family. Long story short, I had blood work done and found out my testosterone level (testosterone serum total) is 64 and apparently the range is up to 55. my free testosterone serum seems to be fine (2.6) but my % of free testosterone (dialysis) is low at 0.4 . I am not sure if those changes are happening because I stopped the birth control pills and that is what was controlling my hormones. My endo prescribed me 500mg of metformin daily so I am doing that. My insuline level is normal. I am not overweight, I lift weights 5 times a week and I have a healthy diet. I decided to stop all sort of dairy because since I stopped the BC I started suffering from severe acne (now I am taking accutane for that in hopes it will help) but to be honest, I am not sure about why is this happening. Why is my testosterone high? is this the root cause of my acne? my other hormones seem to be doing fine. What other blood work should I get done to find the root of all of this mess? sorry about my long post and thank you very much for reading this and replying 🙂

    • Hi Dani,

      It’s best to have a complete functional blood chemistry analysis to start, that will help determine which (if any) advanced tests you need.

      • Hi Dr. Childs, thank you for your response. I have all my labtest results. Everything came back normal except testosterone and cholesterol (I am taking accutane right now so that was expected). Even tho I am not overweight or anything my metabolism is extremely slow and for such a high testosterone, I have an incredibly hard time building muscles and burning fat / increasing lean mass. I did the comprehensive blood panel and all came back normal. Should I test DSH? I dont want to sound desperate but I am . I want to have a six pack and have a face free of acne and live a happy life but it has been almost impossible. I feel fine I have energy but I know something is just not right.
        Your help is appreciated. If you offer any type of private consultation or skype or something could you let me know? I live in Florida. Thanks.

  30. Hi Dr Childs, your knowledge is outstanding and greatly appreciated. My daughter’s testosterone is threw the roof. Endo said it’s too high to be pcos. Hair growing on face, back, acne along chin line and hair line receding. She has become allergic to all kinds of food at the age of 34. She does have a dermoid cyst on right ovary but dr’s have not helped diagnose the issue. Is it possible that the cyst could cause testosterone to be excessive. She used to be very outgoing and is now depressed. Thankyou, Sharon

    • Hi Sharon,

      It could also be related to some kind of adrenal hyperplasia issue. Your endocrinologist should know to look for this as well.

  31. Hi Dr Childs, I am trying to concieve, and i have thyroid also, and my doc asked me to take few tests, to check the testosterone levels. I got testosterone as 77. She said its very high and asked me to take yasmin contraceptive pills(drospirenone and ethinylestradiol) for 1 month and said this will lower testosterone, if not will continue next month too. I am worried about this way of treating. Plz help

    • Hi In,

      I can’t speak to that particular combination of medications as I’ve never used them before in that way.

  32. I had to have a hysterectomy and oopherectomy at only 28 years old. I weighed 125 lbs, and always had since about 10 years old (I weighed even less before that). My doctor started me on estrogen and testosterone replacement. I began gaining weight and growing hair on my chin, but I was told that was just a side effect for some. To make a very long story short… over the last 5 years I gained 95 lbs. and have severe chronic pain. I have always excercised, eaten very healthy foods and only drink water or unsweetened tea. However, I am now disabled at 36 years old! I started studying the lab reports that doctors had to send in for my case last year, and my testosterone levels are over 300 for total as well as up to 7 or 8 for free!! I feel like something is seriously wrong with me, and my weight just keeps rising. It does not respond to anything. My DHEA level is at 451. What is happening here and what do I need to do next? Pease help me understand so I can get my body and life back!

  33. PS- I forgot to mention that the extremely high testosterone lab results have been consistently that high for more than 5 years!

  34. Just got bloodwork back from endocrinologist. Testosterone was110. I have been sick for 6 mo w/o answers. I believe that it is connected with adrenals which were low for a morning reading. You mentioned to another commenter that she should take her daughter to a doctor, not an endocrinologist, who understands hormone balancing. What kind of doctor would that be?

    • Hi Salvia,

      You can try a more conventional doctor for problems like adrenal hyperplasia, etc., but if your problem is related to insulin resistance causing high testosterone you will need to see someone who specializes more in the PCOS spectrum.

  35. Hi there,

    I have hashimotos and androgenic alopecia. I have been supplementing with 10,000 IUs of Vitamin D for months and still my vitamin D is Low (around 28). My testosterone is high. Is there any correlation between vitamin D and testosterone?

  36. Dear Dr. Childs,

    I had to have a hysterectomy and oopherectomy at only 28 years old. I weighed 125 lbs, and always had been small. My doctor started me on estrogen and testosterone replacement (pellets). I began gaining weight and growing hair on my chin, but I was told that was just a side effect for some. To make a very long story short… over the last 5 years I gained 95 lbs. and have severe chronic pain. I have always exercised, eaten very healthy foods and only drink water or unsweetened tea. However, I am now disabled at 36 years old! I started studying the lab reports that doctors had to send in for my case last year, and my testosterone levels are over 300 for total as well as up to 7 or 8 for free!! I feel like something is seriously wrong with me, and my weight just keeps rising. It does not respond to anything. My DHEA level is at 451. What is happening here and what do I need to do next? Please help me understand so I can get my body and life back! Update: I tested positive for ANA and RF last week and the doctor wants to start me on methotrexate immediately. I am very worried about taking this and possibly getting more sick. I am told that the soonest I can get in to see a Rheumatologist is October. I am considering checking into Cleveland Clinic because I have too much going on and I feel that my condition(s) need personalized care. Any suggestions for are VERY much appreciated. I am a Neuroscience graduate, and I really want to get healthy again so I can continue pursuing my goals. Thank you!

  37. I have been having issues since January 2017 , I have had inflammation in my left and right armpit glands it come and goes typically it is stronger towards menstration. I have a flutter in my throat also it seems to act up more in the afternoons a pose to the am. I have had a scan done of my glands and everything came back clear just inflamed. My thyroid was checked and it has to nodes and shows to be functioning normal. I recently had my testosterone and oestrogen levels checked and they were extremely high. I have been infertile for 10 years and now at the age of 32 I went to a fertility specialist and she said I had in Indometriosis and I’m a lazy Ovulator. Since January I have had late periods and now a light one that won’t go away. I never had acne growing up until my 20s as well as hair growth on the face .

    The doctor seemed to be stumped at why I’m having all of these symptoms , I am really depressed and irritable ( emotional ) not feeling like myself.

    The doctor checked my cholesterol and it is high, I am overweight and have been working on it for years. I have recently started the Mediterranean diet, and gave up eating meat.

    I have an appointment in June to see an endocrinologist , I have put up with the acne hair growth and weight gain for years , The flattery my throat is what terrifies me. I have had my heart checked with an EKG on two occasions and it came back clear.

    Have you ever heard of someone with a high testosterone having this type of flutter in the throat. The best way I can describe the flutter is air coming out of the tube with the interruption of the hand passing over the top.

    Any help would be much appreciated

    • Hi Jennifer,
      I feel I have similar problem. I started observing that I have weird pain on my thyroid for a month. I have high DHEAS and insulin too. Were you able to find out the reason for it? Did you fix the issue?

  38. Hi there,
    Just found your post and it’s super helpful.
    I was just informed by my dr that my testosterone levels are up this month from the test they ran in Jan. Kind of freaked me out. But after reading your post I feel much better. I actually went to the dr in Jan because of hair loss, and unexpected weight gain. So seems like they’re on the right track.
    Anyways, thank you for uou post. It’s proven to be very educational amd I now know better questions to ask when I next see me dr.

    Thank uou again.

  39. Hi I would really like your advice on what to do. I’m ac28 years old woman and I have done a fasting blood test (not quite sure the right term for it) anyways, the reason it was done is because I have hair growing under my chin area not a lot though, but I do have a lot growing on my chest. Ever since I know myself I’ve had mood swings and anger for no reason as according to people. It never bothered me because that is how I’ve been forever . The results came back from the test and the only thing that was high was my testosterone level it was a 54. The doctor automatically told me I have pcos. I don’t agree because I have 4 children and after researching pcos most woman can’t have children. I’ve been the same weight since I was 16 I’m 6″0 feet tall and weigh 144. It seems I can’t gain weight (not really complaining though) but I really don’t want to be on birth control anymore it makes me feel weird, but it helps the hair growth, not a lot but it helps. I don’t have any other issue other than the hair but if did have other issues I wouldn’t really know because I don’t pay much attention because I been this way forever. I exercise a lot but it’s like natural for me. I don’t want to take any drugs but I would like for the hair growth in odd places to stop and maybe gain a lil weight to have a more girly figure. If you can tell me what test to take then I can maybe have more information for you because that is all I have so far. Thanks again for your time. My name is Shanel by the way.

  40. Hello,

    My 17-hydroxyprogesterone came back a bit high at 319.00 ng/dL two days after ovulation (high according to my lab but online I read it can be up to 500 ng/dL in luteal phase?). What is the best way to lower DHEAS and adrenal hormones that are causing high testosterone?


  41. Hi Dr. Childs,

    I read through your post as well as all of your replies to the comments- finally someone who seems to know what they are talking about!In an earlier comment you mentioned that a cortisol problem could also have an effect on testosterone. My serum testosterone has hovered between 100 and 134 (!) for almost 2 years. Free testosterone has always been in the “normal” range (actually low end to low mid range normal). After numerous scans and ultrasounds (no cysts in ovaries, adrenal etc on abdominal CT appear normal)- endocrinologist says I have a “perhaps a subclinical form of PCOS” and prescribed me spironolactone(yuck).

    I have lost a ton of hair around hairline, and have growth on lip and chin area. I am 5’2 and weigh about 105 soaking wet. In addition to anxiety- I am exhausted- and I do mean exhausted- most of the time. Recently, I has cortisol saliva tests done and my cortisol is quite low (4.3) in the morning and also low again around 7 pm. Also, I am now told that my fasting glucose is a bit high (not diabetic range, but not normal).

    My gut keeps telling me this is lifestyle and stress related. I have been under chronic stress for a number of years, and about the time I noticed my hair started first falling out I was under quite severe stress. Is it at all possible that this could be caused by stress?? Appreciate the insight, and thank you for all your efforts on this blog- wow!


  42. Hi Dr. Childs,

    I am 44 years old. I’ve been chasing the route of my adult acne for nine months now. I have had Malasma for a few years. I’m 99% sure it’s hormone related. I do everything right, diet, exercise, I take care of my self daily. I’m not overweight.
    I have seen some thinning in my part , however fortunately, treatment shampoos have helped significantly.
    I breakout same time monthly with cystic acne.
    I will see my GYN next week. Can you recommend treatment I might ask her to discuss with me upon my visit? I’m normally anti medication but I’m so tired of chasing my acne and malasma .

    Thank you,

    • Hi Leann,

      You have to figure out which hormone problem you are suffering from in order to target treatment. You will need to get evaluated for testosterone, estrogen, progesterone and thyroid imbalances – this would be the best place to start.

  43. Dear Dr. Childs,

    I posted my questions/concerns twice previously (On April 14th and 28th starting with the oopherectomy and hysterectomy) but I’m not sure if you have seen them? Please respond to my post. I am very worried, and my doctor is telling me that testosterone pellet levels are different than other forms? I do not understand how my blood levels being so excessively high (see prior posts) can not be contributing to all this resistant weight gain, high DHEA, hirsutism and fatigue. Please help me understand. I have such appreciation and respect for your expertise and experience. Thank you so much.

    Warm regards,
    Jennifer Wilkes

  44. Hi Dr. Childs,

    I’m 26 years old and have been experiencing symptoms of what I believe to be high testosterone… Or at least some kind of hormonal imbalance?

    To give a few: I’m always tired/fatigued, constant mood swings, blood sugar fluctuations (for instance, I’ll feel shaky and dizzy if I don’t eat every couple hours. I’ve nearly fainted a couple times), rapid heart beat – it only happens every couple months and it comes on suddenly, sleep issues, blurred vision throughout the day, and I’ve acne for the past 1.5 years – thankfully it’s gotten A LOT better.

    I don’t have any sort of hair loss … my hair is still thick and healthy looking. And, I’ve only gained about 7 lbs in the last year … (I used to be 105, now I’m around 112 lbs). I also exercise regularly (weight-lifting, and I do HIIT/sprints on a regular basis) … So, not sure what could be causing my symptoms. I also eat a healthy diet rich in protein and complex carbohydrates, so I can’t imagine that I’m diabetic. And I take vitamins every day (Calcium, magnesium, salt, potassium, B1, B-complex, minerals, etc.)

    I got blood work done @ my doctor’s office (towards the beginning of April), and the upshot was that I have high testosterone – They said my level was at 86. My progesterone and estrogen came back in normal range.

    I’ve also had my thyroid tested periodically and everything comes back in the optimal range.

    My doctor recommended that I go see an endocrinologist for further evaluation, so I’m going to see one on Thursday.
    Just wanted to know if you’ve had patients w/similar issues to mine? If so … Is there any advice/recommendations you could give me?

    Sorry if this was super long and boring … I’m thankful for any advice you’re able to give me!

  45. Firstly, thank you so much for the wealth of information you have provided. I am 47 yrs old and have a combination of issues and confused as to which to treat. I had an extensive panel of bloodwork done and my doctor pretty much ignored everything except for my high TSH and prescribed thyroid meds. I have high TPO, high TSH, high DHEA, high Free Testosterone, low AM cortisol only, high A1C. I have had constant weight gain, facial hair, hair thinning, acne, anger/rage, cyctic breasts. My periods have always been normal and have never missed one, and I have had healthy pregnancies/births. Based on my blood test and symptoms, I have Hashimoto’s, insulin resistance, PCOS, Adrenal fatigue, and low progesterone which is 12 during my luteal phase. I have tried keto/low carb diet which increased high testerone symptoms and no weight loss. I’ve tried intermittent fasting with no results. Same goes for calorie restriction dieting. Should I treat my hashi, pcos, or adrenals? I am confused about which came first, the chicken or the egg. Thank you!

    • Hi Kristina,

      The best thing you can do is find someone willing to help guide you. There is no substitution for personal help from a knowledgable source, it’s helpful for you to have some information and knowledge, but it doesn’t replace a physician – especially with multiple complex issues.

  46. Hello Dr. Child’s,

    My doctor just called today with my results from a saliva hormone test I did. First let me explain my health issues-I am 48, 100 lbs, 5’8″, and was diagnosed in 2008 with Lupus and autoimmune hepatitis. I went through the 2 rounds of prednisone initially as well as plaquenil and budesonide, before I stopped all medications and started treatment with a Naturopath and now a D.O. I since have developed RA, and my main symptom is always joint pain, which gets much worse right before and during my periods. Anyway, I take many supplements including DHEA-7, and my recent hormone test showed elevated testosterone, estrogen and DHEA. I have no hair growth/loss, acne, and cannot gain weight to save my life. Do you think the DHEA supplement may be the cause of my high testosterone? Also, my adrenals are fatigued. I haven’t seen my doctor yet, but I would like to have some idea of what to ask when I see him. Thx!

  47. Hello Dr Childs,

    I have been diagnosed with PCOS, last month and have been told that most probably it might be a hormonal issue but due to lack of professional doctors in my country and state I am a bit apprehensive to go to an endochronologist. I have thick facial hair growth especially on chin and upper neck and severe hair loss issues, both of which vary according to the “Way I feel”, some of the weeks its very severe and some of the weeks its bearable which it is directly linked to my emotional wellness. I have severe mood swings which I cant help. I also have on and off back pain. I am 26 and these symptoms started showing since i was 17. Rest everything is OK. I am lean, tall, fit and have periods on time.I usually have home cooked healthy diet and barely have any junk food. Would i have any insulin related issues?

    Kindly suggest any lifestyle/dietary changes so that I dont further mess up my hormones going to a probable unqualified endochronologist.

    I understand that i would have to seek a med practioner but if it is controlled by lifestyle/dietary then it would be the best for me

    Thank you!

    • Hi Milli,

      Yes it is still possible to be lean and still have issues with insulin regulation, so it’s certainly a possibility but you should check your labs to confirm.

  48. Hello Dr. Childs,
    I have had an issue with hair loss for about half a year now. it was so concerning that I met with a physician, but they weren’t sure of the cause. They preformed some blood tests but most were normal. My testosterone was normal, but vitamin B levels were low. Also, I believe my DHEA levels were high. I think my hair loss has to do with my lifestyle change that I began a year ago. I was overweight and completely changed my diet and exercise (I am now weightlifting). This is when I started noticing my hair loss. Now I have noticed increased leg hair as well as facial hair. I did notice a few abnormal periods, but they have been normal for the most part. Are there over the counter treatments or is this something where I should see a professional. I have not done anything about this, and I’m worried they will lead to more issues.

  49. Hi, my friend had following symptoms, like hair loss, exceptional weight gain, acne around jaw line, mood swings. When we went for her test, we came to know, she is having high testosterone i.e. 112.46 my/ml. Now pls suggest, what next ?

    • Hi Nk,

      You should have your friend read this article which outlines the most common causes. Once you have an idea what is causing the high testosterone then you can go about setting up a treatment plan.

  50. I must say, this is the clearest explanation of how hormones work and what to do in case of imbalance.

    My girl has a pretty obvious hormonal imbalance, but the doctors she sees barely acknowledge it let alone treat it.

    We have ordered a complete hormonal check for her and the results came back with low Progesterone, high Estradiol and waaay high Testosterone.

    Based on your article, I can now at least imagine the underlying cause so we can search further and try various treatments you propose.

    Thank you!!

      • We received all the results back from hormone check. DHEA and cortisol were measured from saliva in three samples during different times of day.

        And both are way off! DHEA is off the charts in the evening and cortisol is basically zero in the evening.

        So very high DHEA and low Cortisol.

        Also Progesterone is low (but within norm), Estradiol is high and Testosterone to high (out of norm).

        Thyroid hormones (taken from blood sample) seem to be ok. TSH, free T3, free T4, FSH, LH and Prolactin seem to have quite normal values.

        Problem here is … I cannot explain low cortisol. My girl has high weight problem and she has typical high testosterone problems (skin coloration, excess facial hair), so how could I explain low cortisol? Adrenal gland problems? PTSD (she is VERY sensistive to stress)

        I guess, this will be a challenge … We have made an appointment with the doctor, but so far no one really took the time to get to the bottom of her problems.

  51. My prolactin levels are 72.3 and testosterone are 120.3. I stay vitamin d deficient and no doctor can explain why? I have been to specialist after specialist and have had NOTHING accomplished. My T3 and T4 levels come back normal but i have cysts on both sides of my thyroid. I stay tired all the time my body hurts constantly (joints) PCOS has been brought up but I have had periods every month sometimes twice…I have recently had a hysterectomy ovaries left. Every single day is a struggle for me both Mentally and Physically. Please Help!!!!

    • Hi Kimberly,

      Most people are Vitamin D deficient and most physicians have no clue how to replace it (they often use D2 or tiny doses of D3). Most physicians don’t understand how to naturally increase vitamin D3 levels through sunlight as well which complicates the problem further.

    • Hi Shirley,

      No, but other nutrient deficiencies due to poor diet may contribute to post menopausal hair loss.

  52. I get hormonal breakouts on my chin and jawline typically right before, sometimes after, my monthly cycle. What kind of doctor should I go to to test my testosterone levels?

    • Hi Alexandria,

      Any physician can check your testosterone levels so it depends on what type of treatment you are searching for. Finding doctors who specialize in hormone balancing can be difficult to find and that’s the kind of doctor you would want to seek out.

  53. Hi Dr. Childs!
    I’ve been recently diagnosed with high testosterone even though I suffered all my life with PCOS. I had 2 healthy pregnancies, but after my second one, my period just stopped, I have such an enormous amount of facial hair, weight gain, fatigue. Can this be because of the high testosterone or the pcos combined with it? Is best to see an endocrinologist? My GYN only wants to give me anticonceptionals. Thank you.

    • Hi Fernanda,

      It’s best to see a physician who specializes in bio identical hormone replacement and management.

  54. Hi Dr. Childs,

    Weird question which came to mind… I believe I’ve had PCOS since my teens, with irregular periods and all… I heard that milk contains high androgen levels, and through my childhood and teens I drank tonnes of milk… like glasses and glasses of it… my mom kept 1 or 2 gallons of milk in the fridge for me!! I wonder if that may have been a catalyst to the syndrome?


  55. Hello Dr. Childs,

    I am 52 years old in menopause. I have hypothyroidism and I’m on Synthroid 75mcg, transdermal estrogen cream 0.5 once a day, transdermal progesterone cream 0.5 twice a day. I have been having blood work done for the last year to figure out why my hair loss is still happening since being on Synthroid. I know this can happen with hormonal imbalances. My weight has always been around 107lbs but for some reason I lose weight (around 3 pounds) and I’m 5’3. On my last Lab work I had showed: (The Ref Range is ng/dL) Free(t4) 1.57,Triiodothyronine,free,serum 2.7, TSH 5.030, Progesterone 0.7, Estradiol <6.0, Cortisol am 10.4, Testosterone, Serum 11 and Free Testosterone(direct) 4.5(flagged high) DHEA 166.3 also to my surprise my
    Glucose, Serum was 103 high. Also my Iron serum is 96.

    My compounding Pharmacist put me on Glukokine and Thyroid Response complete care to see if that would give a boost to my Thyroid without changing my Synthroid. After 6 weeks we did another lab work(June) Here were my results: My Glucose Serum dropped to 93, Free Testosterone went up to 4.6, Testosterone Free total 17, Estradiol 13.2, Progesterone 1.0, TSH 3.650, T4(free) 1.74, Triiodothyronine, free, Serum 2.5(went down) TPO is a 16.
    I did notice the thyroid response supplement did help some but, my hair seemed to come out more. Its very, very dry. Hair loss is the male pattern baldness too. Could the Glukokine supplement have caused more loss or the thyroid supplement. I stopped both after 8 weeks. I've had my estrogen and progesterone levels in the normal range and thyroid being at a 1 in Check according to my OBGYN but still losing hair.

    Any advice would be so appreciated.
    Thank you

  56. Hi Dr Childs
    I would appreciate your view on this. I had a partial thyroidectomy about 4 years ago and have been on various conventional and more holistic treatments for hypothyroidism and low cortisol and DHEA. Cortisol/DHEA improved but thyroid symptoms continued to worsen over the years – weight gain and inability to lose it, cold, dry skin, depression, slow and brain fog. More recently I developed noticeably severe PMS symptoms. I decided to stop thyroid medication, was on t4 and t3 more recently. The recent blood results show my thyroid levels after five weeks of stopping the medication as similar to when on the medication. Doctors have confirmed a t3 conversion problem. I then did saliva hormone testing which has now revealed low cortisol, low DHEA, high testosterone, high estrogen and low progesterone. I don’t have many of the high testosterone symptoms other than weight gain and inability to lose it. PMS type symptoms still quite severe. My hair has started growing back really well after stoping the thyroid medication. I think I have lower than normal blood pressure, I struggle if I don’t eat regularly with shaking and feeling dizzy. My diet is good, balanced, lots of good protein and vegetables with some carbs like rice or sweet potato. The practitioner I am seeing has recommended some herbs for clearing testosterone and estrogen, increasing progesterone and supporting the adrenals. Will test the thyroid again in a few weeks. Im having difficulty pin pointing the cause of it all, it feels more like a number of issues (bad treatment in the past being one of them) have compounded. Is there anything you could suggest I do to get some relief from this and get my hormones into balance? In particular I’m concerned about my weight. Thanks.

  57. My daughter has a rare chromosome deletion and is nonverbal. All of the male hormones in her blood tests are high – Free testosterone-direct (6.4), DHEA – serum (945),testosterone – serum (40) as of blood test in June. She had been taking a compounded Leuprolide that had brought these numbers down significantly; however, insurance will no longer cover compounding and the commercial Lupron has not had the same lowering effect. With these elevated levels, she has multiple physically aggressive episodes daily. Her doctors have pretty much thrown up their hands and told us there’s nothing to do if she can’t get the compounded leuprolide. Most of her symptoms we determine based on behaviors since she doesn’t have the ability/cognition to tell us what is going on. Any suggestions of doctors or options for us?

    Thank you!

  58. Hi Dr Childs,I’m a 65 yr.old woman,just a little back round on me. I had a complete hysterectomy at age 21,(long story). There’s a history of cancer in my family so I can’t take estrogen, I take over counter Estrogen for hot flashes.I quit smoking in 2006 and shortly after that my hot flashes were pretty intense.In 2012 along with hot flashes,I began noticing my complexion was getting extremely dry with acne. My primary doc.after major blood work found that my levels were okay except I have high levels of male testosterone ( 264.7 (h)….she referred me to an endocrinologIstanbul, and after 1 year with her she released me back to my primary care doc.She increased my Armour Thyroid meds from 60 mg to 90mg.
    Not sure if this is related or not, but should mention that last year half of my hair literally fell out,since then it grew back to just have the same thing happen starting 1 month ago. I am at wits end and would love any input you can give me. I think I need a step up from an endocrinologist, and I’m not sure if that would help. I worked my whole life to enjoy my retirement and I can’t bring myself to even go out in public. Thank you Beverly_russell51@yahoo.com

  59. Hi,

    Could chronic inflammation due to a non-resolvable illness (Empty nose syndrome) cause high testosterone? In the case what can we do to manage and reduce the high testosterone?

    Thank you very much

  60. Hi my question is regarding t3 and testosterone. I was currently on 5mcg cytomel along with my tirosint. My t3 was on the lower side so we upped it to 15mcg cytomel. I now have very bad cystic acne on my chin as well as black hairs…never had this before. Also feel as if My upper body is getting larger. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks for your time.

  61. Thank you for this information. I think my hormonal imbalance began during IVF. All my tests came normal prior to IVF. I didn’t need any “treatment”, but my husband had issues, yet the doctors insisted I had to follow the protocol and still take all those hormones for the IVF cycle to work. I gained 8 lbs within the first two weeks of the IVF, and by the time I delivered my twins I gained 85 lbs. I was hoping to lose this weight postpartum. My kids are 10 y/o now and I was able to lose only 10 lbs over these years. Plus I have facial hair growth on my chin that began right after I gave birth. I can see it’s getting worse every year. I am lost as to what to begin with to treat my imbalance.

  62. Hi doctor
    My TSH is 71ng/dL
    And free testosterone is 4.8 pg/mL.
    And DHEA level is 371mcg/dL.Pls guide me to get the normal testosterone levels

  63. Hi Dr Childs, I really need help I am currently on metformin and soon as my ultrasound come back I may start the clomid treatment. My problem is I really want to have another baby before my biological clock stop ticking. My menstrual came on in July but I haven’t seen it yet this month so far, but I want to know are there some other things I can do to help me along with the process because it is depressing and as I have read over and over it still remain hard to lose the stubborn weight and maintain a positive attitude throughout. How can I get rid of the unwanted hair on my chin, the stubborn weight, excess tiredness without doing to much and moodiness? I have been walking more so I am trimming, but what I can say is that I thank god that he blessed me to have two handsome boys ages 7 and 14, so I can’t complain. The point is I thought every women supposed to be fruitful. Can you help me please?

  64. Hi Dr.Childs!

    I am Anne & 27 year old unmarried girl!
    As I have read the whole article above; I feel like that I’m having High Testesterone level that caused of High Insulin!

    Comparatively to the rest of my body complexion, around my Mouth area (specially the Upper Lip & also the lower lip) including lips & the neck are way DARKER & getting acnes also! The skin is also oily!
    Since these keep mentally TORTURING me like hell; I have tried many beauty medications externally with the hope of getting these positively reduced!

    But now I feel like there’s nothing to be with a beauty issue but it’s something with a great Hormonal imbalance!

    *Is it happens cause of I’m having Insulin resistance?

    *Will I be able to get cured this darkening issue by treating Hormonal imbalance?

    *Is it curable?

    It would be great if you also can make an article regarding, that how to get balanced these hormones by using natural ways?
    Like what are the fruits, Vegetables & anything else what are supportive with balancing hormones?

    Thank you Dr.!
    Eagerly waiting for an answer!

    • Hi Anne,

      You should be able to at the very least improve some of your symptoms if you address the root cause, the degree of improvement depends on your body.

  65. What about women who have normal testosterone levels but high dht? This is the boat I am in. I have androgenic alopecia and my only option appears to b to take an anti-androgen but I am nervous about side effects especially BC I am within normal range for testosterone’s. I do have insulin resistance , have gained a lot of weight but apparently only some doctors would consider me to be prediabetic. My a1c is normal it fasting insulin is high. Can you suggest anything to stop the hair loss and regrow my hair? BTW, thryoid is normal and iron was fine. Its definitely just high dht causing it, I think. And I also have had an increase in facial hair and I have a lot of skin tags. Thanks for ur help.

  66. My wife just saw a doctor today and was told that her testosterone was 4x higher than it should be. She hasn’t gained any weight, had any hair loss, and doesn’t look physically different than she normally does. She does get little hairs on her chin and navel area from time to time but nothing excessive, and she does occasionally seem to have a mood swing. She’s scared, and I’ve assured her that she’s okay, because she doesn’t feel any different than normal. Her doctor thought it was strange that her levels were elevated despite not having the obvious symptoms, but what can we do to help her?

    • Hi Ricky,

      You will need to find the cause of the high testosterone and then address treatment based on that cause. The article above outlines how to go about doing that.

  67. I just got blood work back and my testosterone (TOT, LC/MS/MS)levels came back as high (68), but all my symptoms are those of low levels (unexpected/unexplained weight gain, acne, hair loss, depression, loss of sex drive).

    I’ve been supplementing with DHEA for a few months now. Could that be the cause of my high levels? I eat well, weight train and run on a daily basis. I started menopause early (40), and could probably be considered completely menopausal by now. (I’m almost 47)

    Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Nancy,

      It sounds like your high testosterone is probably the result of another problem and not the biggest problem or the cause of your other symptoms. And yes, your testosterone could certainly be influenced by the DHEA you were taking.

  68. Dr. Childs,
    I began seeing a new obgyn who is more educated in HRT than my previous obgyn. Both had run blood test that showed me immeasurable in testosterone. Estradiol low also. (I had a heart attack when I was 41, stress-induced takotsubo.) New doc put me on 10 mg DHEA daily for two weeks then switched me to 7-keto, 50 mg daily for 6 weeks. My bloodwork last week showed me at 742 testosterone. I stopped taking the 7-keto over the weekend. I have been having rhythm changes in my heart all weekend, and probably was last week also, just mistakenly thought it was palpitations. Her nurse called me today and told me to go back on the DHEA but take 5mg only. She said it would reduce my testosterone. Is this accurate? I thought it would increase my testosterone not lower it??

    Please advise.

    • Hi Suzanne,

      DHEA may increase testosterone levels from whatever your baseline was, but 5mg will increase it less than 10mg. It all depends on the individual however, so I can’t really say one way or the other.

  69. Hi Dr. Childs,
    I have been experiencing excessive body hair growth. I always had excess hair growth & doctors would check my labs & everything would be normal. I never got checked for PCOS. They claim it’s in my genes & not a serious matter. It’s very embarrassing & want to find the root cause. I eat extremely healthy, do not eat meat (only wild caught salmon), no dairy. I have been drinking spearmint tea & reishi for some time now. Any advice on what to take or do? Thank you.

    • Hi Kelly,

      It’s obviously best if you know what is causing the hair growth, but you can kind of take a shotgun approach and use both zinc + saw palmetto which may help.

  70. Dr. Childs,

    I have received the run-around from several doctors about my hormonal imbalance–I thank you for this article. It’s been a great starting point in my research.

    I am reviewing my blood results and my total testosterone level is a high 60 ng/dL. Unfortunately my insulin levels were not checked but I see my hemoglobin A1c is low at a 5.1%–I have all symptoms characterized by iron deficiency. My Hematocrit is 37.5.
    Androgen total, Serum, is 457.1.

    Some information about myself: I am 24 with painful ovarian cysts, painful and infrequent menstration, cystic acne on cheeks and jawline, anxiety/depression/insomnia and IBS.

    I do believe I have PCOS and possibly insulin resistence. What are the next steps I should take? What profession should I reach out to, besides psychiatry/dermotology/primary care?

  71. Dr. Childs,
    What would your suggestions be for someone who has Primary ovarian Failure (now 35, was dx at 27), High FSH and LH, no cysts on ovaries, High Testosterone (74), Free Testosterone (2.7) and very high DHEA (413.5), SHBG (186). I am on vivelle dot .1mg and bio-compounded 100 Mg progesterone nightly. My estradiol is (104), Progesterone is (0.6). TSH (2.12), T4 free (1.06) T3 (116) , T4 (6.9)My doctors do not know what is going on with me and I am at a loss on how to balance my hormones with my POF. I have a A1C (5.1) Fasting glucose- (68-78). Experiencing a lot of hair loss (not male patterned). I have high testosterone and DHEA but no insulin issues. Thank you for your wonderful blog!

  72. How do you suggest going about finding a physician to manage this? My gynecologist suggested testing for testosterone and found that my testosterone was elevated but that my thyroid was normal. You mention a few times throughout this different physicians and knowing to look for these things, since I’ll be looking for a new endocrinologist or PCP, wondering if you have any tips.

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      Finding the right doctor is the hard part. Most physicians aren’t trained on how to use hormones beyond the use of oral contraceptives. The best thing you can do is look for someone who discusses the topics that I discuss here or has a unique approach to treatment.

  73. Hello Dr. Childs,

    I am a 55 yr. old woman, am post-menopausal x 5 yrs now, and had suffered with hot flashes, insomnia and gradual weight gain of 15 lbs. over 5 yrs. I workout regularly, eat a healthy diet, and am retired now for 3 yrs. I started taking natural progesterone cream about 4 months ago due to estrogen dominance, and had to go up to 900 mg per day in order to mitigate the estrogen kickback symptoms. I have titrated down to 700 mg per day and am working at slowly titrating down, depending on my symptoms and always listening to my body. I feel absolutely fantastic, I am sleeping better, my hot flashes are all gone, but I can’t seem to lose the weight, despite weight training and leading a very active lifestyle. I had saliva tests done about 2 weeks ago, I did not stop taking my progesterone cream. and my results came back, as expected, with 100 times greater than normal progesterone levels, as well as high testosterone and high DHEA. My estrogen was also high, despite the fact that I’ve been taking DIM and CDG now for about one month. I believe that my testosterone was so high due to my high progesterone, as I have absolutely no extra hair growth or hair loss (male pattern baldness), no issues with moodiness, etc. In fact, I honestly feel wonderful. Could it be the high levels of progesterone that have caused this imbalance in my testosterone?
    Thank you for your time. It is much appreciated.

  74. Hello Dr. Childs
    I have been diagnosed with PCOS for a few years now and I am unsure what the cause is. My Dr. gives me limited information about what it is and how to treat it and I am having to research it all and ask before i can get a solid response. I recently had some blood work done and my labs were all normal with the exception of my testosterone level which was 190. I’ve called to see if i can get on metformin or something to help treat the underlying cause but no response, he just keep telling me to stick with my birth control which is not helping but only masking the issue.
    I’ve done some research and saw that saw palmetto, magnesium and vitex, amongst others are helpful but I am unsure if herbal is the way to go because i do not know what the exact cause of my PCOS is. any helpful suggestions with these OCP will be helpful. awaiting your thoughts. Thanks.

  75. Hello. I LOVE your blog and can’t thank you enough for all of this information. I’m very confused about my situation and how to handle it. My testosterone is a 53 and free testosterone is now a 1.2 (was 0.5 about two years ago). My main issue is hair thinning (I have always had extremely thick hair), and I did have a very poor diet while I was traveling for a few months this year, which I think may have contributed to the increased in free testosterone. My question is, I’m trying to take a hair supplement to hopefully resolve this issue, and it has Stinging Nettle in it, which claims to help with the conversion of DHT. Will this help my issue with high testosterone / high androgens? Or will it make it worse? I’m also trying very hard to stay on a strict low carb / keto diet, aside from the occasional wine here and there. Really appreciate your thoughts and any info you can provide! Thank you xx

  76. hello!
    I am 36 year old woman. I went to my gyn/on because we have been having trouble getting pregnant with my first. I just found out my testosterone level was 106 on a range saying 10-45 normal for a woman…my A1C is normal, normal thyroid, normal adrenal glands, negative endometrial biopsy, no cysts on ovaries, and all other lab work normal except. My doctor diagnosed me with PCOS. He prescribed me metformin and I am following up soon. my symptoms have been weight gain and extreme mood swings. My problem is, metformin makes me so sick, to point of vomiting occasionally. We really want to have a baby, and I truly am struggling with the mood swings (not to mention my wonderful partner) Any recomendations on anything else than metformin to lower testosterone? I am exercising and cutting sugars/carbs…thank you! any help would be so appreciated.

  77. Hello!! First off, I would like to Thank You for writing such a wonderful and informative page! Really helps someone like me to understand why my body acts the way it does. I’m 41, have had a total hysterectomy due to my severe pcos. Had a pretty extensive blood panel done a little over a year ago. I kept having bad lightheaded spells. A1C was good, thyroid levels were good.. had very high iron levels. (I don’t take any supplements) The bloodwork shown that i was pre-diabetic with insulin levels over 350! Of course, i’m leptin resistant as well. I’ve been on Metformin for the last few years.. i try to eat right.. staying away from carbs and sugars, and overly processed foods. All while keeping my calorie intake under 1200 a day. Drink only water, no soda. I still keep gaining weight. Im over 325 lbs. I believe the body can heal itself if you do the right things. But i’m losing this battle. People look at someone like me and think that i’m lazy or don’t care about myself. Quite the opposite, im very active and can’t sit still most of the time. Insulin resistance is a real pain, but hey, my hubby is jealous of my beard! Haha. Just wish i could figure out what I need to do to get my weight down.

  78. Hi! I just read your blog over high testosterone! You are brilliant. I sure wish you did consultations because you hit the nail on the head over about every question I’ve had! Now I’m curious on a few things…

    I’ve been sick a little over a year. Have hs every test known to man ran on me. I am going to do the Dutch test as you suggested. A few things that have been very consistent in my blood work:

    High Testosterone
    High DHEAS
    Low(like 8) Ferritin
    Very normal thyroid labs(have had every kind)
    Positive Lyme(don’t believe I have Lyme disease)
    High Oxalates
    Low Vit D
    High Insulin Growth Factor
    Blood sugar is always elevated but not enough to have diabetes. It’s never under 110 and normally around 140. I know without a doubt food is not raising my BS.

    I could go on and on with my symptoms but they correlate with many different diagnosis. I choose to go off blood work and positives. These above have been tested over and over and continue to stay the same.

    Adrenal issue? I would think so but the Dr.’s don’t consider it because my DHEAS is only double normal and not triple?! Why is it double? They can’t answer. Stress is the best answer for them.

    PCOS? Well, I have the bloodwork that says it but I’ve lost 40 pounds, I’m not balding, hair growth on face is normal. I have VERY heavy periods but they come every 28 days and last 4 days. I had three kids VERY easy with no issues. I’m not convinced on this theory.

    Now to my question….
    Can all of this be caused by toxicity? Mold exposure? I was exposed to mold(it was confirmed through testing) for two years in a building I rented for a store. Through all my testing to try and find what went wrong, I had a toxicity report that showed I’m highly toxic to plastic! I also do not detox well. I’m toxic to plastic and mold. Could simply detoxing fix all of this? I would say detoxing has helped me more than anything conventional. Sorry so long but there is a reason all this happened to me and I feel it’s all related to toxicity. I’m curious your take on it because you never mentioned toxicity? THANK YOU for being so smart and researching and reporting on this!

  79. Hello, Dr. Childs

    I am 33, and I had a total thyroidectomy in my early 20s due to thyroid cancer. I was severly hyperthyroid prior to the surgery, now I tend to flucuate between hyper, hypo, and “a little to high or low” depending on my levothroxine levels. I requested Nature or Armor as well about a year ago, as I wasn’t satisfied with how I was feeling day to day. I was just in to see my endo, and was told my t3 was a bit high, t4 normal range. Cortisol healthy range, testosterone through the roof. I’ve been on spironolactone for over a year now, and had always been told my testosterone levels for normal range prior to taking it and even during. Endo said that she thought the sudden spike was due to a switch in my birth control (apparently it comes from India, and she thinks its been diluted) which I had to do because my insurance stopped covering the old one. I have since gone back on the old one am paying out of pocket.

    I started noticing extreme hair thinning and hair loss about 2 years ago now, which followed a noticable difference in the texture and vitality of my strands. I’ve lost a signifigant amount of hair at my temples, crown, and nape of neck. My part has also widened. My hair loss does not match up with either male or female pattern baldness. I had a biopsy by a dermotoligist, and was told I had androgenic alopecia. Shortly after the hair started falling out, other sympoms began showing up: slightly enlarged clitoris, more pronounced hair growth/coarsness/length on my arms and upper lip, problems with acne (only experienced the occasional zit or two prior to this), inflammation on my cheeks that closely mimics rosacea, sebum over-production on my scalp–my hair will reek of sebum even a few hours after washing, lighter periods that don’t last as long, and very slight deflation of my breasts. I also suffer with acute gluten sensitivity, and painful digestion issues including severe constipation and cramping. I have been eating completely gluten free for almost 7 months.

    I also suffer from frequent mood swings, irritability, chronic fatigue, horrible insomnia, debilitating anxiety, brain fog/poorer memory, frequent food cravings when I shouldn’t be hungry, occasional vertigo and slurred speech.

    I just wrote a novel, I know. But I am so desperate for answers, I have been given the run around by scores of doctors and specialists..I am so tired. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you kindly,

  80. Hi I have been using testerone cream as well as progesterone orally for last 6 or so months but I still feel something is not right. My last labs I had total testerone of 71 and free .7 but I feel these are both showing too high for me and maybe I need to decrease what I use..dr said they were good levels to her but I feel like I getting to much because i have had increase of acne and facial hair as well as my hair shedding more and my libido has not increased at all. Also my anxiety is not getting any better and still having other things that should be better if this level of testerone is ok. So if inwas your patient would you say my levels are high and maybe I need to decrease the amount I take? I wonder if I even need it because when I originally started it my levels were in the 30s and they said that was low . I am confused and just want my hormones working. What do you see usually as the optimal level women should be for both free and total testerone if your experience?

  81. I am a young 66 female and have been suffering from major hair loss! Thyroid is normal. My estrogen level is normal (on HRT for estrogen) and my progesterone is almost nonexistent. Testosterone is high (doubled). If I elevate my progesterone level will this lower my testosterone? Can Hair regrow then?

  82. Went to my GP, presenting with excess facial/body hair, fat deposits on abdomen, Amenorrhea, pms. I’m 5’2. 180 lbs. No thyroid problems or diabetes. Blood tests for everything is pretty normal. I requested a test be done to determine if I had high T. I tested normal high for overall T. Tested High for free T. My doctor put me on a high dose bc. I have just recently had my first baby, at 34 years old. Most my life not using contraceptives. My little one tested positive for CAH. It was ruled a fluke, as she didn’t present with abnormal genitalia. Should I pursue Cah with myself or Pcos? I plan on having my daughter tested for CAH again.

  83. Hi Dr. Childs,

    I am 24 y/o recently dx with PCOS. I am 5’1 and 111 Ibs and do not seem to be insulin resistant. My Dr. had me do a saliva test and my progesterone (49 pg/mL) and estrogen (0.5 pg/mL) were low. Testosterone was high (98 pg/mL). My Dr. suggested a progesterone cream but I am afraid to supplement it (I am clearly not ovulating). The hair loss I have been having is devastating, any direction we could go in would be so appreciated.

  84. Hello Dr Childs,
    I am 32 years old. I have been experiencing stubborn acne only along my chin and jawline for the past 6 months. My periods are regular (anywhere between 25-28 days), physique with normal BMI. A week before my period I experience slight tenderness in my breasts but it is not too severe to even hinder my day-day routine. I don’t experience any major PMS symptoms. However during the first 3 months of my pregnancy in 2013 I was diagnosed with subclinical hypothyroidism and I was put on levothyroxine to correct it. Since then I have been checking my thyroid once a year. Last month when I checked, my TSH was 3.29. And it has always been around 3-3.5 in the last 3 years. Could this be the reason for my stubborn acne. What is the reason for my stubborn jawline acne? I am thinking of starting spearmint capsules if it can help with oil production in my skin. Please advise.

  85. Ohmagah, you’ve got to be kidding me? My brain hurts now. Huh, cortisol, tired adrenal (glands), huh? NEVER have I had THAT lab work done.

    I’m 47. Apparently menopausal phase began at 44-45 and postmenopausal hit by by 46-47, according to my MD 5 1/2 months ago. Subsequently thereafter I had my 1st Bio-Te Pellets implanted. 3 days ago I had my 2nd set of pellets implanted. Both times I requested a copy of all related lab results. This time I asked for a copy of what she put in me.

    Labs pre re-pellet:
    TEST-FSH, Serum RESULT- 72.1 mIU/mL

    RESULT-73.6 pg/mL

    TEST-Testosterone, Total, LC/MS
    RESULT-99 ng/dL

    TEST-Triiodothyronine, Free,Serum
    RESULT-2.8 pg/mL

    Should I have had these 3 pellets implanted?

    1.TESTOSTERONE 100mg
    2.TESTOSTERONE 37.5mg
    3.ESTRADIOL 10mg

  86. Hi, I’m 21, just got anxiety this year. Got blood work done because I started having my period every 3 months because of PCOS (this also happened while I was in high school, and went on birth control for about 5 years, but I’m off BC now and I was fine for this whole year until August). Turns out I have high testosterone, but no signs of diabetes/pre-diabetes or insulin or leptin resistance or cholesterol problems, my thyroid is also fine. I do have high triglycerides but I feel that’s because my family’s eating habits consist of a lot of carbs (asian family), but I try to eat a lot of healthy fats, vegetables and fruits (I feel very empty when I eat a lot of carbs). I also worked at a place where I was exposed to burning plastic every day (making capacitors) which might have had something to do with PCOS symptoms coming back along with worse anxiety, I’m not really sure. I read some things about BPA and endocrine disrupting synthetic hormones from heated plastic. My BMI is at 29, so I’m borderline obese but I don’t really feel “fat”, I actually consider myself a little muscly for a female. I did gain ~20lbs of weight after I stopped working out and because of comfort eating from my anxiety/depression though.

    My OBGYN says that the only way to treat high testosterone is to be put on a low dose BC for 3 months and see if levels go down, but I don’t really want to take it because of my health anxiety over blood clots and whatnot, and I’d rather fix this naturally. I’m pretty healthy otherwise, I don’t take any medication except vitamin pills and used to weight lift while on campus, although I’m kind of afraid to exert myself now because of panic/anxiety, which is exacerbated by the hormonal imbalance and they both kind of feed on each other sometimes. I was just wondering if I can do without the BC and just exercise to normalize my testosterone. I’m hoping that I can just do that and have everything kind of “fall into place”, exercise > more energy > less fat > normalize testosterone > decrease anxiety > exercise more > be healthier, etc. Seems a lot better than taking BC and subjecting myself to its side effects when there’s a better alternative with more benefits.

    Thanks in advance 🙂

  87. Hello Dr.Childs,

    I recently had some blood work done and found that my dhea level were elevated at 343H and my testosterone was at 70H. I am 33 yrs old, very fit, and I am not having any of the pcos symptoms besides a period that shows up every 5_6 weeks and excess spotting afterwards up to a week. I am concerned about my levels and was hoping you had any idea’s on what to check for next, what may be the cause and and advice on how to regulate my hormones.
    Thank you for your help.

  88. I’m trying to work with a provider to help me with irregular and long menstrual cycles. I have been TTC for over a year. Some blood work done, my total testosterone was 58 ng/dL and my free/direct was 2.1 pg/mL. I didn’t see that in your post. My progesterone was also low. My only symptom is infertility. Any ideas?

  89. I always had very regular cycles, perfect temperature chart, I did ovulation test etc… all good. Even had a scan to test for PCOS cause I had excess bodyhair and pimples on my back. All was fine.
    But the only thing I have had since puberty is high testosterone and androstenedione. So I think my cause is the DHEA? Because I often feel anxious without a reason :S Even tho my heartbeat is really slow at 57 bpm in rest and even when I feel anxious.
    I eat healthy, started lifting some weights now as well, but I often do crave salt. I tried to keep it lower a bit because of what they say about salt being unhealthy. But I am just gonna eat it when I crave it tho.

    For reference: this started age 15 I am now 31. No diet change has ever helped it. its like I will be stuck with it for life and nothing can change it.

  90. Hi Dr. Childs, really informative article.
    I am in my 4th year (final) student clinics studying Nutritional Therapy and my client has Hidradenitis Suppurativa since she was 16 on and off. She is 40, thinning hair, high Gl diet,weight gain, high BMI, menstrual issues for 5 years after the birth of 3rd child which she addressed with the IUD (Mirena) fitted late 2016. Obviously insulin, thyroid, cortisol (v stressed.) is a big player and she also smokes 20 pday which has a huge impact.
    I think the progestins in the IUD could be impacting her H.S.? Could this be causing further androgens ?
    Would greatly appreciate your opinion and insights.
    Many thanks

  91. Dear Dr. Childs,
    My daughter Sarah was diagnosed with PCOS 8 years ago at the age of 14. I took her to see an endocrinologist because of excessive menstrual cycles (very heavy bleeding),also body changes (mid line weight gain, body hair and thinning scalp). Her bloodwork showed elevated androgens, elevated DHEA and elevated free Testosterone. She was put on birth control and Metformine. With the exception of more manageable periods, her symptoms have remained the same.
    She is now 21 and been suffering for years, effecting her self esteem and confidence.
    After coming across your blog on elevated Testosterone, we realized something didn’t feel right about the PCOS diagnosis. We also realized her adrenal glands had never been looked at. She went back to her endocrinologist requesting a look at her adrenals as well as a full hormone workup. Her specialist refused stating there wasn’t sufficient evidence to consider any other possible diagnosis.
    I then took Sarah to an OBGYN who agreed to have the tests done. After an MRI of her adrenals glands, they found a 5mm tumor on Sarah’s left gland.
    We are somewhat relieved to finally have a hint of whats plagued her, however worried now that she needs to go back to an endo to address the issue. We cannot go back to the specialist who ignored us and I don’t want to bring her to just anyone since we have lost faith.
    We don’t know how to find an endocrinologist that may specialize in adrenal tumors who we can trust. Can you guide us in any way as to where to start?
    Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you in advance.

  92. Hello Dr. Childs.I am 51 yrs old. I am normal weight range for height.I have had acne since my teens.It has become worse and is now cystic along jawline with excess hair on chin only.I have hypothyroidism and am on levothyroxine and nature thyroid to control it. I have had 4 children. I have no No loss of libido or hot flashes.The dr put me on 50 mg 3 x daily of spironolactone.It worked perfect but gives me headaches..so I tried going off it.Acne came back worse than ever with extremely oily hair.I had to go back in it Immediately!!! I tried to lower the dose but I need 150 mg daily to stay clear.Any suggestion of what underlying cause could be.I asked dr and they just said if taking spiro lowers androgens and works just stay on it. BUT I don’t want to be on it for life.

  93. Hello doctor, I was diagnosed with PCOS in dec 2016. My lab results came back with high testosterone than normal (4.1ng/ml). I have acne and hair growth on my face and body but keep losing hair on my head. I am slim. I used to miss 2months menstruation and when I finally start to menstruate it won’t stop. Then my gynecologist put me Metformin and Yasmin contraceptive. It helped for a while and when I stopped taking it after 6months(as adviced by my doctor) my situation worsened. I now miss my period for 3-4 months still. What do I do doctor?

  94. Hi, I am worried about my daughter. All of her blood work comes back “normal” but, she has all the symptoms of thyroid disease. sleeps all day, up all night, sluggish, belly fat (shes not overly heavy but could lose some) cheek acne, thin hair, low concentration!! The only level that came back low was progesterone. Her dad had the same problem with “normal” thyroid levels and ended up with thyroid cancer! Any advice? Most doctors want to see a low level to treat.

  95. Hi, I’m 39, two years ago I went on HCG diet with injections of hCG. Three months later my hair started falling out. I had my blood work done including thyroid, according to doctors all in the normal range. I was told by a dermatologist it was telogen effluvium. It’s almost two years and it never went away. I was on Mirena IUD which was replaced with Paragard. The doctor didn’t agree with me but I was thinking that Mirena could be causing it due to hormones.
    Did HCG mess up my hormones? I don’t know who to see at this point and what to do. My hair is so thin now and it’s not stopping. Thank you.

    • Hi C,

      You might be able to get it through health coaches and whatnot as well (I don’t think it HAS to be a physician).

  96. Hello,
    Just watched your video and learned so much. Looks like the labs are within range for testosterone but have increased drastically from two years ago. Free .7 to 3.2 and total 14 to 40. Have not been tested for sugar. Hair loss, weight gain, acne, currently on Junel (generic loestrin) for birth control which is pretty androgenic. Just stopped taking it. Has only been two days. Panicking over hair loss. All other labs look good by crp is up at 8.1 and rang is 0 to 4.9. I do suffer with a couple small patches of psoriasis. My last glucose was fasting and it was 81. range is 65-99. Can you make a suggestion about what labs to get? I am currently being seen by a derm and a GI doc. Should I go to an endocrinologist? Weight gain chin acne and hair loss are my symptoms.

    • Hi Patti,

      Sure, you’d want to check the following: DHEA, free and total testosterone, progesterone, estradiol, fasting insulin, Hgb A1c, 8 am cortisol and estradiol/progesterone. That should be a pretty good starting point.

  97. This is the best ever article I’ve read about high testosterone levels in women. I’m 41 years old female with following symptoms:
    1. Male type baldness
    2. Lot of facial and body hair
    3.Prominent clitoris
    4. Miscarriage at the fourth month when I conceive a male child. 3 miscarriages.
    Can you get back to me?

  98. Hi,
    I am a 31YO female and am wondering if I have high testosterone that the dr hasn’t picked up but the way its measured seems to be different to your examples – I’m in Australia. My lab results are:
    Testosterone 2.1nmol/L
    SHBG 64nmol/L
    Calculated Free Testo 25pmol/L
    FAI 3.3
    Fasting Insulin 10mU/L
    DHEA Sulphate 7.4umol/L
    I have had adrenal fatigue in the past but when I had the tests I had been having treatment for about a year and feeling much more normal. I get cystic pimples on my jawline, find it hard to lose weight, and have irregular menstrual cycles.
    Any insight is much appreciated – thanks!

  99. Hello Dr. Childs,
    I had high levels of testosterone and was put on Spironolactone. It has worked as my levels decreased majorly, however, is there another way to keep it down rather than taking a prescription medicine every day? My doctor did not tell me why it was high, to begin with, or how long I would need to take this medicine.

    • Hi Nikki,

      Yes, in this article I discuss how to lower your levels. The tips are towards the end of the article.

  100. I’m so grateful to have found this post & info. It explains things in a way I can understand. I’ve dealt with the excess hair growth & weight for over 30 years now. I had tried every diet out there for the weight but nothing ever lasted beyond the little water weight loss. Thought the hair stuff was just something I’d have to deal with … doctors never said anything positive about it or offered suggestions on treatment. Haven’t had insurance now in way too many years to even think about doing anything so I’ve just dealt with it all as part of life.

    I finally got help with my thyroid. and progesterone. That’s been about the last 3.5 yrs. it helped some things but not everything. Thanks for this article, again. I have a holistic lady I am seeing now who is helping to get things normalized with supplements & diet changes.

    One thing I am confused about is my cortisol levels are high in morning & low the rest of the day so she has told me no exercise beyond 20 minutes & no more than 4 times a week. This sounds confusing based on some of the info you have provided. I want so badly to get back into the gym. I have not done regular exercise for much of the last 30 years so why now do I have to watch the amount I do. She says that the 20-minute mark is when testosterone levels increase.

    I just want to know what to do. It’s all frustrating. I do feel I have more info now after reading this.

  101. Hi! How do I determine the root cause of hormonal imbalance – i.e. high testosterone levels? what type of doctor/specialist should I visit to determine and seek an opinion from? I’m considering visiting an endocrinologist. Thanks!

    • Hi Helen,

      An endocrinologist may be able to help, you can also look for integrative or functional medicine physicians who are more apt to find the root cause as opposed to hiding the problem with other medications.

  102. Hi, Dr. Childs

    I am a 33 year old female who suffers with hair thinning, hair loss, stubborn weight, inflamed skin, oily scalp, slightly enlarged clitoris, moderate hair growth on arms and upper-lip, extreme fatigue during the day, insomnia and restlessness at night, occassional vertigo, slurred speech and memory lapse, very light and short peroids, very sore breats in the weeks prior to menstration, and gluten intolerance.

    I had my thyroid removed a decade ago due to cancer, had been hyperthyroid before that. I’m currently on Synthroid and Nature Thyroid, rx Vitamin D, and folic acid supplements.

    I see my endo 4 times a year, and she almost always tells me my levels on everything are fairly normal..except for cortisol, iron, and Vit D. One of my tests revelead my free testosterone was through the roof, so she put me on Spironolactone, which I also currently take.

    I guess my question for you would be whom should I seek for further care? What type of doctor? When I search for hormone specialists, all I see are endos. These issues have been ongoing for over 3 years now, and I am no closer to a diagnosis or effective treatment plan than I was at the start. I am aware that I will probably need to look outside the insurance model, outside of mainstream medicine. I’ve seen a dermatologist, OBGYN, OBGYN specialist, trichologist, and gastro. No answers. What, specifically, should I type into Google to find the appropriate provider for my issues??

    Thank you kindly,

  103. I went to Dr when I started going downhill after having my tubes removed. All my blood work came back normal. My T level was 68 and free T was 5.9. Dr put me on bioidentical testosterone replacement and all of my symptoms were gone within 2 months. How is it that I had “high” T but T replacement is the only thing that helped?

    • Hi Sandy,

      Your “normal” could have been a “high” value at baseline, but you wouldn’t know unless you checked it prior to your surgery. Some people just need a lot more hormone than others and you may be one of those people.

  104. Does femhrt .5mg/1mg typically elevate testosterone? In 5 months mine went from nonexistent to 49 with estrogen/progesterone levels relatively unchanged. My only (but devastating) symptom is sudden diffuse hair loss presenting after 5 months. Thank you. My internist has no explanation. I have searched online relentlessly for an answer.

  105. Hi I have high free testosterone levels (3x the normal limit) but normal testosterone levels. The only symptom I have is weight gain what are my treatment options and cuases of high free testosterone levels

    • Hi Irene,

      This blog post outlines both the causes and the treatment of high testosterone 🙂 I would start with the recommendations here.

  106. Hi doctor,
    I recently had my blood test and found that i have high testosterone and insulin. I have my period problem as well and i am over weight. My doctor told me its cause of testosterone and insulin that i am unable to lose my weight even though i tried so much. I work regularly and my work is physical i have to walk all the time and i dont eat that much junk foods. My doctor has given me saxenda for the weight loss and my question is will it help me lose my weight and lower the level of testosterone and insulin?
    Thank you

  107. I notice that you don’t mention thyroid problems, which can cause high testosterone, too. I am a 37 year old female with high testosterone and hypothyroidism. Me and my endo are trying to balance my thyroid levels. As we do that, what can I do to lower my high testosterone levels? I have facial hair and acne. My acne, tends to come on my chin and cheeks and right before my period ensues. When I gain weight, it tends to be in my lower abdominal area.

  108. Hi Dr. Childs,
    My daughter is 21. She is in college and super stressed out. She has been losing her hair. She went to an internal med. dr. and they did blood work and her testosterone is high. I have an apt for her with an OBGYN. Can high testosterone levels be brought on by stress? Should I get an apt with a different type of dr.? Thanks so much!!!

    • Hi Amy,

      Yes, stress can induce high testosterone through its influence on other hormones such as insulin. You will most likely not have luck with conventional doctors such as an ob/gyn or endocrinologist who will most likely diagnose her with PCOS and put her on something like metformin. This sort of strategy doesn’t really work. You’ll have better luck looking for an integrative physician who specializes in hormone imbalance.

  109. Hello Dr Childs,

    I am finding your posts extremely helpful. I’m starting to finally understand all that is happening with my body and my health and the connection between various conditions and symptoms that doctors seem to treat separately (Hashimotos, anaemia, lack of energy, high testosterone, no cycle, etc) or completely misdiagnosed (depression). It led to infertility problems and at the age of 35 I’ve started to lose hope 🙁
    Anyway, I was wondering whether you have all this info available in the book form? I’d found it extremely useful.
    All the best

  110. Dr. Childs-

    Came across this page in research for my 20 year old daughter with PCOS (Weight gain, acne, no periods, anger). We found out her testosterone level is at a 10, she has fatty liver, elevated cholesterol and is at top weight of 189 (athletic but now in college so no regular sports)
    Anyway, she has been doing Keto and taking berberine, cinnamon and myo-inositol and has 3 periods since January which is amazing since she hasn’t had one in 2 years!

    My question after reading the above is what role does being on Vyvanse for ADD have in battling her desire to get to a normal weight and feel better? Is there anything more we should be doing?


  111. Hi, I am currently a 20-year-old female. I started experiencing male patterned hair loss since the age of 13. I am not over weight and have no thyroid issues. My periods are regular and don’t have any menstruation issues. What do you suggest is the cause/ what do I need to do to find out.

  112. Need help, losing hair. I did the BioTe pellets and now have a testosterone level of 244. What is the normal level for women? Is this high for women! Also, my estradiol level is a 54.3 Please advise.

  113. Hello,

    I’m 26 years old. I did lab work plus Dutch exam and it came up with relatively high testosterone and peri menopausal levels of estrogens and prog. I have experienced hair chin, weight loss difficulty, and acne. What could be causing these?

  114. Dr. Childs,

    I cried reading this information. I may be wrong but are you assisting people that leave comments regarding this information you shared?

    I’ve been homebound for 3 years now. My life has taken drastic changes and I think it’s due to hormones. My testosterone is double and over the limits in all area’s that you wrote about above….and I’ve been to 4 endocrinologist’s and not has helped me.

    Where can I turn? Please, I’m 57 years old and have so much life left to live, but this having these issue’s isn’t living! I’m 100lbs overweight! Please, please help me. Please?

  115. What is considered optimal testosterone levels? Mine is 1.64 (0-1.8 range) Would that be still normal or towards high levels? Thank you.

  116. Hello Doctor,

    Came upon your website and it’s really helpful ! I had my blood work done two months ago towards hormones (I’ve been trying to conceive for over a year now and no luck, I’m 33 and a mom of a 9 yo healthy boy).
    Turned out my DHEA levels are high 14.5 NG/mL also ALT 33 U/L. The doctor said the levels are high but ‘diagnostically insignificant’ although I keep thinking of it and it bothers me mentally, I would love to lower and balance my hormones naturally. I would appreciate your expertise on that.

  117. Could my high testosterone be from having chronic Lyme and Co-infections and also the reason I have small breasts? If I finish protocols for killing off the Lyme and Co-infections could my hormones just balance back on their own then? Thanks.

  118. I have been seeing a hormone doctor. They put me on a high level of testosterone at 40 mg. They then tested me and my testosterone level was 356 and my free was 26.7. The hormone doctor said that was normal according to their research. I took myself off of them and I feel better. It affected my mood, I was shaky and that went away so far.

    Does this seem normal for my numbers to be that high? I am trying to find research and there is none to support that high levels.

    • Hi Jeanie,

      It’s definitely on the high side but that may not necessarily be an issue. It’s definitely higher than I like to see.

  119. By the way I am 66 and very fit and not overweight, have no extra facial hair or thinning at the hair line just high levels and feeling bad and shaky.

  120. Hi Dr. Childs.
    I found this article Speer helpful in the realm of hormone knowledge.
    I have been on a journey the past 2 years. In the beginning of 2020 I stopped getting my cycle. I was then dealing with a lot of stress… for the lack of period I have been helped by a hormone specialist who has put me on bioidentical progesterone cream.. first of all- is it suosed to help lower testosterone levels? I know progesterone levels were low and estrogen was low when I started taking the cream.. my cycles are still irregular and some o symptoms including high free testosterone levels at 1.9, I am also having more irritability, easily stressed, body acne (not on face), body fatigue and shakiness.. i got my fasting insulin levels checked and well as glucose and they are normal.. I have been eating healthily the last year and it has helped with sugar cravings (I have been diagnosed with PCOS as well).. I am almost sure this is adrenal related. Would you recommend an adrenal support to help with stress and to lower testosterone? My hormone specialist gave me Ortho adapt to use for stress levels which temporarily helps but it hasn’t lowered the testosterone? Would you recommend an endocrinologist or internist for this?

  121. Hi Dr. Childs,

    I have been trying for about 6 months to stay pregnant, but unsuccessfully. So I had bloodwork done on the 5th day of the cycle to analyze 6 hormones, among which testosterone. All of the hormones are in normal range (TSH, FSH, LH, PRL, Estradiol), except for the testosterone which was 1.7 ng/ml.

    My doctor prescribed clomifene and I take it, but I’d like to stop since I feel it’s too early for me to be taking hormones. I know they are harmful, so I’d like to give myself a chance to regulate this naturally without strong medication such as hormones.

    I don’t have PCOS, I’ve always had regular, normal periods, never had any gynecological problems whatsoever. I am not excessively hairy and I don’t really see in myself any of the common high testosterone symptoms, I don’t have acne but I have a bit of a problem with comedones, my skin isn’t excessively oily, it’s normal, no hair loss.
    I am a bit overweight with BMI 27 though, so it might be contributing…

    What do you think? Is it smart to stop with the hormones and try and fix this with lifestyle changes (lose weight, add strength training, no sugar, less carbs)?

    • Hi Wendy,

      It’s always a good idea to start with lifestyle changes first before using hormones 🙂 They may be necessary in the long run but you never know unless you try.


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