Androgens are male hormones that help regulate sexual characteristics in the body. Everyone has androgens, but those born with male sex characteristics usually have higher levels.

Around puberty, levels of androgen hormones increase in men, which are important for the following functions:

  • Muscle growth
  • Bone density

  • Red blood cell production

  • Sexual act

 There are four types of androgen hormones:

  • Testosterone
  • Dihydrotestosterone (DHT)

  • Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)

  • androstenedione

Read more - (Female hormones and their role in women's health)

  1. What Do Androgen Hormones Do in the Body
  2. Use of Androgen Treatments
  3. Use of Androgens safe for the Growth and Strength of the Body?
  4. Symptoms of Androgen Imbalance
  5. Summary

Although androgens are considered 'male' hormones, they are found in both men and women. Androgens play the following roles in males at the time of birth:

  • To make the voice louder
  • Increased hair growth on your face, scalp, chest, armpits, and genitals

  • For sperm development

In females at birth, androgens are also converted to estradiol, which is a type of estrogen. It plays the following roles:

  • Menstruation
  • Conception and pregnancy

  • Hair growth on your pubic area and armpits

People who are intersex at birth also have androgens. These individuals may experience a combination of the above processes.

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Anti-androgen medications are taken in some situations to block the effects of androgens. Androgen therapy, also called testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), can help treat low androgen levels. These types of therapies can play an important role in the treatment of many conditions.

1. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Although most women produce less androgens, women with PCOS produce more androgens. Due to which the following situations occur:

  • Ovulation and fertility problems
  • Painful menstruation

  • Excessive hair growth

  • Acne

Hormonal therapy may be recommended to lower androgen levels and reduce symptoms associated with PCOS.

2. Tumors and Related Conditions

Some other conditions associated with high androgen levels in women include:

Although anti-androgens may not be able to treat the conditions themselves, they may help treat common concomitant conditions, including:

Androgens play a role in stimulating cancer cell growth in the prostate. As a result, anti-androgen therapy may sometimes be used to treat prostate cancer, especially if the cancer has spread so far that surgery or radiation alone is not possible.

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Anti-androgen therapy can help shrink existing tumors as well as slow the rate of growth of new cancers. Anti-androgens, however, do not completely stop androgen production, so doctors may recommend additional treatments such as surgery or other medications to reduce androgen levels even further. TRT may negatively affect male fertility and sperm production. Alternative medications can increase testosterone levels without negatively impacting male fertility and help improve male fertility.

3. Breast Cancer

Researchers have recently discovered a strong link between androgen receptors and the development of breast cancer. A 2021 study found that androgen therapy helps eliminate tumors in a certain type of breast cancer called estrogen receptor (ER)-α-positive breast cancer.

Read more - (Sex Hormone Test)

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Anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) are a synthetic type of testosterone sometimes taken by bodybuilders or other athletes to boost strength and muscle mass, reduce fat, and enhance performance.

However, taking steroids also has risks such as –

  • Risk of heart attack and stroke
  • Lowering “good” (HDL) cholesterol and increasing “bad” (LDL) cholesterol

  • reduced liver function

  • high risk of infection

  • declining fertility

In most places, taking steroids is considered illegal unless a doctor recommends taking them.


Symptoms of high androgen levels in AFAB people include:

  • Lack of menstruation (amenorrhea)
  • reduction in breast size

  • increased body hair (possibly on the face, chin, and stomach)

  • changes in fat distribution

  • acne or oily skin

  • deepening of voice

  • hair thinning and hair fall

  • increase muscle mass

  • increase in clitoral size

Symptoms of low androgen levels include:

  • decreased libido
  • lack of erection

  • reduced size of testicles

  • low sperm count

  • facial hair loss

  • hot flashes

  • trouble concentrating

  • depressed mood

  • increase in body fat percentage

  • lack of energy or strength

  • loss of muscle mass

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It's a good idea to talk to your doctor if you think your androgen levels are not normal. Blood tests can help determine whether there is androgen deficiency or excess, which requires treatment.

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Androgens are "male" sex hormones like testosterone that control sexual characteristics such as muscle growth in the body. Androgen therapy, including anti-androgen therapy and androgen replacement therapy, is used to balance hormone levels in the body. It can be used to treat conditions such as PCOS, prostate cancer, and ovarian tumors, as well as as gender-affirming care.

If you think you may have androgen imbalance, talk to your doctor. Common symptoms of a problem include lack of menstruation in women or reduced testicle size in men.


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