Androgens are there both in men and women, in men they are high amount compared to women, the ratio of androgen and oestrogen actually matters.
Androgens are hormones which stimulate the hair follicle and sweat glands, as a result, hair growth in androgen-sensitive areas become more, also sweating increases.
Androgen can come two sources, Adrenal glands and Ovaries, for both we have treatment available.
How can Androgens be low in women?
As the source of Androgens in women are only Adrenals and Ovaries, low androgen can happen if any of these are underactive. Underactive Adrenals glands are called Addison’s disease androgens become less.
Also in premature ovarian failure ovarian function comes down before menopause, so androgens along with oestrogens become low. Bone density comes down, so you become prone to osteoporosis.
What are symptoms of low androgens in women?
There can be a lot of symptoms or no symptoms at all, so treatment mainly depends on you, common symptoms are low energy level, fatigue for no reason, weight loss can be there some time. Decreased libido, poor quality of life remain common reason we treat with androgen.
What treatments are available to increase the Androgen?
We can replace androgens, commonest one we use DHEA, natural adrenal androgen. Testosterone can be given as well but they are very potent can cause side-effects. Usual practice is to start with smaller dose, slowly increasing with improvements of symptoms.
What are the expected side-effects of these medications?
Weight gain, increased sweating, oily skin, facial hair growth can happen with androgen treatment.