We all perceive testosterone as a male hormone, and its presence in our body is associated with virility. But testosterone is also present in the female body, only in a much lower quantity. The cause of low desire isn't always medical, but it turns out that a large percentage of women with this problem have blood tests that are consistent with low levels of testosterone and other androgens.
Birth control pills, for example, can alter the body's testosterone production by rendering 50 percent of it useless, due to the synthetic estrogen it contains. As a response to the extra amount of estrogen contained by the pill, the liver produces the protein called sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). This works by binding to testosterone and so less of it will be available for your body to use.
High-sugar, refined carbohydrate diet, caffeine, stress, hormones in industrial meat and dairy and estrogen-like toxins can cause various imbalances in your hormones, including testosterone.
High insulin levels and leptin resistance create hormone problems, messing up your testosterone levels and diminishing your sex drive. Researchers found a direct link between growth hormone, insulin levels, and sexual function. Insulin reduces your body's ability to make growth hormone, altering testosterone levels and reducing libido.
And let's not forget the well-known, modern stressful situations, which alter your cortisol production. Sex is probably the last thing on your mind during these situations. As a result, chronic stress crashes your sex hormones and quickly knocks you out of the mood.
How Does Testosterone Work In Women?
Testosterone levels rise gradually from about the 24th day of a woman's menstrual cycle until ovulation on about the 14th day of the next cycle. The 13th day is generally the day with the highest testosterone levels and so women's libido can increase consistently. In the week following ovulation, when progesterone levels increase, the testosterone level is the lowest and as a result women experience less interest in sex.
Testosterone has a constant level during the last days of the menstrual cycle. During this time, the process of uterine lining thickening can stimulate nerve endings and women may feel more aroused.
So testosterone mainly contributes to what drives desire, fantasy, and thoughts about sex and even contributes to the necessary energy for sex. Lower amounts of the hormone can affect sensitivity in the genital area, which can affect libido.
Testosterone as an aphrodisiac
Studies have shown that testosterone supplementation might be the true aphrodisiac for women. Researchers at the Utrecht University in the Netherlands conducted a study showed that sublingual testosterone triggered a significant increase in genital arousal, along with an increase in sexual desire. They also noted that there is a lag period of 4.5 hours after taking the testosterone before sexual sensations soar. This may be because steroid hormones cause neurophysiological alterations in the sensory centers of the brain, a process that can take several hours to several days. They also noted that measurable vaginal arousal increased steadily over the 4.5 hour period.
Certainly testosterone is not the answer for all women with sexual desire problems. It is not a cure-all treatment. Estrogen and progesterone are equally important, since they can affect testosterone levels. Inadequate estrogen levels in women can reduce the effectiveness and efficiency of testosterone. That is why an integrative approach to your hormonal problems is essential to ensure you are obtaining the best results, with no negative side effects.