What Are Normal Testosterone Levels?

Testosterone is a hormone, which is a substance in the body that acts as a chemical messenger. Hormones are made in one part of your body and then travel to other areas to help control how cells and organs work. Testosterone is important for your body to function properly. High or low testosterone levels can lead to unwelcome symptoms.

Fortunately, it’s easy to find out if your testosterone levels are in the normal range. This article discusses normal testosterone levels, tests, and treatment.

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What Is Testosterone?

Testosterone is an androgen hormone that’s produced by the adrenal cortex, the testes, and the ovaries.

The endocrine glands make hormones. Men produce hormones in their testes, and women make them in their ovaries.

Testosterone and estrogen are two of the most well-known hormones. Though testosterone is typically recognized as the “male hormone” and estrogen is often referred to as the “female hormone,” they’re both found in both men and women. Both men and women can experience health problems if their testosterone levels are out of the normal range.

Different Types of Hormones

Researchers have identified about 50 different hormones in the human body, which control various processes, such as hunger, mood, sexual function, metabolism, growth, and menstrual cycles.

Normal Testosterone Levels

Under normal circumstances, testosterone performs many important functions in your body.

 In men, the hormone plays a key role in:

  • Sex drive
  • Sperm production
  • Muscle and bone growth
  • Deepening of the voice and hair growth
  • The development of male sex organs
  • Mood

Generally, healthcare providers consider normal testosterone levels in men to be between 300 and 1,000 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL). These ranges may vary slightly depending on the criteria used by your provider or laboratory.

Your testosterone levels may be higher or lower based on your age, sex, medications you take, and other health conditions you have.

Testosterone production tends to slow as a person ages.

Testosterone in Women

Though women produce less testosterone than men, the hormone still plays a vital role in how a woman's body functions.

In women, testosterone helps with:

  • Bone strength
  • Ovarian function
  • Sex drive

A normal level of testosterone in women is considered to be between 15-70 ng/dL.

Testosterone Levels in Men vs. Women

Normal testosterone levels are usually described as:

  • 300–1,000 ng/dL for men
  • 15–70 ng/dL for women

Men typically produce the most testosterone during their teenage years.

Symptoms of High or Low Testosterone

You might start to notice changes if your testosterone levels become too high or low.

Symptoms of High Testosterone in Men

Having too much testosterone isn’t a common problem for men. However, males who do have too much testosterone may experience:

Symptoms of Low Testosterone in Men

Low testosterone is more common among men. This condition may cause the following symptoms:

  • Breast enlargement
  • Low sex drive
  • Trouble getting an erection
  • Low sperm count
  • Fertility issues
  • Bone weakness
  • Irritability or trouble concentrating
  • Hair loss
  • Depression
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Fatigue
  • Hot flashes

Symptoms of High Testosterone in Women

The correct balance between testosterone and estrogen is crucial for a woman’s ovaries to work properly.

Women with too much testosterone may experience a deep voice or a decrease in breast size.

One of the most common causes of high testosterone in women is a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which is characterized by enlarged ovaries with small cysts.

Symptoms of high testosterone in women may include:

  • Infertility
  • Acne
  • Irregular periods
  • Obesity
  • Blood sugar issues
  • Extra hair growth
  • Male-pattern baldness
  • Depression or anxiety

Symptoms of Low Testosterone in Women

Women can also have a testosterone deficiency, which may cause:

Tests

If your healthcare provider suspects your testosterone levels might be too high or low, they may recommend a blood test to measure the amount of the hormone.

Most of the testosterone in your blood is attached to two proteins, but some testosterone, called free testosterone or bioavailable testosterone, is not attached to proteins.

The two main types of testosterone blood tests are:

  • Total testosterone: This test measures both free testosterone and attached testosterone in the blood.
  • Free testosterone: This test only measures free testosterone.

You’ll likely have the test in the morning (testosterone levels are highest at this time), but because testosterone levels fluctuate throughout the day, you may have to have the blood test more than once to confirm your levels.

Some studies have shown that saliva tests might also be used to accurately measure testosterone levels in the body.

Risks of Testosterone Blood Tests

Risks for a testosterone blood test are minimal but may include:

  • Bleeding
  • Bruising
  • Infection
  • Minor pain
  • Feeling light-headed

Treatment

If you and your healthcare provider decide to treat low testosterone levels, you may be a candidate for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). With this treatment, you are essentially supplementing your body with the testosterone it’s missing.

 Testosterone is available in the following forms:

  • Oral capsule
  • Gel
  • Topical solution
  • Patch
  • Injection
  • Implantable pellet (implanted under the skin)
  • Intranasal gel (in the nose)

Your healthcare provider can help you determine which formulation of testosterone is most suitable for you.

Recent studies have shown that the use of TRT is increasing, and more than half of prescriptions for testosterone are written by primary healthcare providers.

Treatments for high testosterone levels may include lifestyle changes, including exercise to improve symptoms. Healthcare providers may also prescribe antiandrogen medications like Aldactone (spironolactone), diabetes drugs like Actos (pioglitazone), or oral contraceptives to help lower testosterone levels or relieve symptoms of high testosterone.

Risks of Testosterone Therapy

Some risks and side effects of TRT include:

  • Possible risk for heart problems, cancer, and blood clots (though recent studies show that the risk for all of these is low or possibly not risky at all)
  • Infertility
  • Side effects such as breast enlargement (in males), skin reactions, changes in hair patterns, acne, and back pain

Summary

Testosterone is an important hormone for both men and women. If your testosterone levels are too low or high, you might develop symptoms that interfere with your daily life. A simple blood test can help you determine if your levels are in the normal range, which are 300–1,000 ng/dL for men and 15–70 ng/dL for women. Treatments are available if your testosterone levels are abnormal.

A Word From Verywell

If you feel like your testosterone levels might be too high or too low, talk to your healthcare provider. They can help you decide if a blood test is warranted. If you need treatment, your provider can also help you understand the risks and benefits of different therapies.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How can you increase testosterone levels quickly?

    Taking testosterone replacement therapy is a common way to increase testosterone levels. However, this treatment can also cause side effects, so it's important to talk to your healthcare provider about the risks.

  • Is it safe to take testosterone and estrogen blockers together?

    An estrogen blocker is a therapy that keeps your body from making or using estrogen. You should always talk to your healthcare provider before combining any types of medicines, including an estrogen blocker and testosterone.

  • Are there ways to naturally increase testosterone?

    Some research has shown that certain lifestyle habits may help boost testosterone levels. Exercise, particularly weight-lifting, is one way to increase levels. Other studies have found eating a healthy diet, minimizing stress, and getting enough sleep can increase testosterone levels or help normalize hormone levels.

  • Where does testosterone come from?

    Testosterone is made in your body. It's produced by the adrenal cortex, a man's testicles, and a woman's ovaries.

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Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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