Testosterone Levels Across Different Age Groups

As we age, testosterone levels naturally decline, starting around age 30 for men and after menopause for women, typically between ages 45 and 55. Testosterone is vital for various bodily functions, including regulating sex drive, sperm production, muscle mass, and energy levels. It also influences behaviors like aggression and competitiveness. While decreasing testosterone levels can lead to changes such as reduced sex drive, it’s a normal part of the aging process. Understanding these changes is essential for maintaining overall health and well-being as we grow older.

Typical Testosterone Levels

The level of testosterone in the body varies based on several factors, like thyroid function and protein status. According to the American Urological Association, a testosterone level of at least 300 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) is considered normal for men.

If it’s below this threshold, it may indicate low testosterone. For women aged 19 and up, normal testosterone levels range from 15 to 70 ng/dL.

Testosterone levels typically peak around age 18 or 19 and then decline gradually as people age. Understanding these ranges helps assess and manage testosterone levels effectively for overall health and well-being.

During Pregnancy

Testosterone plays a crucial role in fetal development, particularly in shaping the male reproductive system. It’s essential for the normal development of the male fetus during pregnancy. Interestingly, research suggests that testosterone levels in the womb can influence brain function, impacting the development of the right and left brain hemispheres.

A study involving 60 children found that testosterone levels during fetal development may affect brain functionality.

Maintaining balanced testosterone levels in the fetal brain is vital for healthy brain development. Imbalances, such as high levels of fetal testosterone, have been associated with conditions like autism.

Understanding the importance of testosterone in fetal development can help promote healthy pregnancies and support optimal brain development in infants.

From Adolescence to Early Adulthood

During adolescence and early adulthood, testosterone levels peak, marking a significant period of physical development. In boys, the onset of puberty triggers the first signs of testosterone, known as androgens. This hormonal surge brings about noticeable changes: the voice deepens, shoulders broaden, and facial features take on a more masculine appearance.

These transformations are fundamental aspects of male maturation, signaling the transition from boyhood to adulthood. Understanding the role of testosterone in this process sheds light on the importance of hormonal balance in shaping physical characteristics and overall development during this critical stage of life.


After the age of 30, men’s testosterone levels may fall by about 1% every year.

In premenopausal women, testosterone is produced mostly in the ovaries. Levels will fall following menopause, which typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 55.

Signs and symptoms of low testosterone

A testosterone test measures the level of this hormone in your blood. Low testosterone can be caused by various factors, including conditions present at birth or illnesses that affect the testicles or ovaries, which are responsible for testosterone production. As you age, testosterone levels naturally decline. However, the FDA advises against using testosterone replacement therapy solely for age-related declines. It’s essential to understand the reasons behind low testosterone levels and explore suitable treatment options. Seeking medical advice can help address hormonal changes effectively and ensure optimal health management tailored to individual needs.

Changes in sexual function can result from low testosterone levels, including:

  • decreased libido
  • desire for sexual activity.
  • fewer spontaneous erections
  • Impotence
  • infertility
  • erectile dysfunction (ED)

Below-average testosterone levels might also manifest as:

  • alterations in sleep habits
  • inability to focus and lack of motivation
  • decreased strength and size of the muscles
  • reduction in the density of bone
  • huge male breasts
  • depression exhaustion

See your doctor and be tested if you suspect that your testosterone levels may be low.

Testosterone in women

Testosterone, primarily known as the male hormone, is also important for women’s health, albeit at lower levels. Women may experience fluctuations in testosterone levels, especially after menopause or due to conditions like PCOS. Understanding these hormonal changes is vital for maintaining overall well-being.

A woman’s circulation carrying too much testosterone might result in:

  • loss of scalp hair
  • acne
  • irregular or absent menses
  • growth of facial hair
  • infertility

Testing and diagnosis

To diagnose low testosterone, a doctor performs a physical exam and a blood test. They assess physical appearance and sexual development, considering that testosterone levels are typically higher in the morning.

For accurate results, blood tests are best done before 10:00 a.m. in younger men and until 2:00 p.m. in men over 45.

The risks of the blood test are minimal but may include bleeding, pain, or infection at the injection site. Seeking medical guidance ensures proper diagnosis and treatment of low testosterone, enhancing overall health and well-being.

Impacts of abnormal testosterone levels

While declining testosterone symptoms can be attributed to aging, they might indicate other issues like medication reactions, thyroid disorders, depression, or excessive alcohol consumption. Seeking medical advice helps identify and address underlying causes for better health.

Lower-than-normal testosterone levels may result from the following conditions:

  • testicular or ovarian cancer
  • the testicles’ failure
  • Early or delayed puberty due to hypogonadism, a disorder in which the sex glands release little or no hormones
  • chronic conditions like diabetes or renal disease
  • extreme obesity
  • chemotherapy or radiation treatment; opioid addiction; hereditary disorders manifesting at birth, such as Klinefelter syndrome

Higher-than-normal testosterone levels can result from the following:

  • congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) in women
  • testicular or adrenal tumors
  • PCOS

Key Points to Remember

TRT may be recommended by your doctor if your testosterone level is abnormally low. One way to get testosterone is to:

  • an injection
  • a patch
  • gel applied to your skin
  • gel applied up your nostrils
  • pellets implanted under your skin

Among the drugs used to treat women with high testosterone levels are:

  • glucocorticosteroids
  • metformin (Glucophage, Glumetz)
  • oral contraceptives
  • spironolactone (Aldactone)

Feeling concerned about declining testosterone levels? Remember, it’s a natural process of aging. If you’re worried or noticing unusual symptoms, consulting your doctor is wise for guidance and peace of mind.

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