Do Women Produce Testosterone?

Testosterone is often considered the male hormone while estrogen is considered the female hormone, but the truth is that these hormones are present in both men and women, just in different quantities. For example, men have 10 to 20 times as much testosterone as women do, on average, but that doesn't mean that women don't have any testosterone at all. Women produce testosterone in their ovaries and adrenal glands, and it plays an important role in their well-being, especially when it comes to libido, fertility, vaginal and menstrual health, breast health, and bone health (per Healthline).

The average woman has testosterone levels of 15 to 70 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) compared to an average of 280 to 1,100 ng/dL for men (per University of Rochester). Combined with the fact that much of women's testosterone is converted to estrogen, this is one reason women generally don't develop as much muscle and facial hair as men, according to Healthline.

This is what happens if a woman has too much or too little testosterone

According to Harvard Health Publishing, high levels of testosterone in women are often associated with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which affects up to 10% of women and occurs when a woman has multiple cysts on her ovaries. High testosterone levels can lead to acne, obesity, excessive hair growth, male-pattern baldness, thick skin, mental health issues, infertility, and missed periods.

Low testosterone levels can also lead to fertility problems and missed periods, in addition to vaginal dryness, low libido, and osteoporosis (per University of Rochester). According to Healthline, low testosterone is common during menopause, but it can also be caused by ovary removal, adrenal insufficiency, hypopituitarism, and oral estrogen therapy. Boston University considers testosterone levels to be low if a woman under 50 has levels below 25 ng/dL or a woman over 50 has levels below 20 ng/dL.