What to Know About Androgens and How They Affect Your Body?

What to Know About Androgens and How They Affect Your Body?

Androgens, such as testosterone, are masculine hormones that aid in controlling the bodily aspects of sex. All people have androgens, however, the levels are usually higher in those who are born with male sex features.

Around puberty, androgens rise. Key to them is:
  • red blood cell production
  • muscle growth
  • bone density
  • sexual function
Among the four categories of androgen hormones are:
  • dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)
  • testosterone
  • dihydrotestosterone (DHT)
  • androstenedione
Discover more about androgens in the body and how they may impact disorders like PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome.

What do androgens do in the body?

All people have androgens, even though they are regarded as "male" hormones.

In individuals who were assigned male at birth (AMAB), androgens generally facilitate:
  • voice deepening and vocal cord lengthening
  • growth of hair on your genitalia, armpits, chest, face, and scalp
  • development of sperm
Androgens are also transformed by the body into a form of oestrogen called estradiol in individuals who were designated female at birth (AFAB). This method is essential to:
  • menstruation
  • fertilisation, as well as pregnancy
  • development of hair in your armpits and pubic region
Androgens are also present in those who are intersex from birth. These people might go through a mix of the aforementioned procedures.

Uses of androgen therapies

For some disorders, doctors may prescribe anti-androgen medication to block the effects of androgens. In the meanwhile, decreased androgen levels may be treated using androgen therapy, generally known as testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).

The following are just a few of the conditions that these kinds of therapy may help with.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)

Although most females don't create many androgens, PCOS sufferers typically do. This may lead to:
  • excess hair growth
  • ovulation and fertility issues
  • painful or extended periods
  • acne
To lower androgen levels and lessen PCOS symptoms, hormonal therapy could be advised.

While many female PCOS sufferers will seek to lower their testosterone levels to manage their symptoms, transgender people probably experience PCOS differently and will likely need a different course of treatment. It has been discovered that in these circumstances, increasing testosterone levels can also help control undesired PCOS symptoms.

Tumours and related conditions

Other illnesses connected to elevated androgen levels in females include:
  • adrenal gland tumours
  • adrenal hyperplasia
  • Cushing disease
  • ovarian tumours
Anti-androgens can assist in treating common comorbid conditions, such as the following, even if they might not be able to treat the conditions alone:
  • high cholesterol
  • diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • heart disease

Prostate cancer

Androgens contribute to the proliferation of cancer cells in the prostate. Because of this, anti-androgen medication is occasionally used to treat prostate cancer, particularly if the disease has gone too far to be effectively treated with radiation or surgery alone.

It is usually saved for cases of advanced prostate cancer because of this. Anti-androgen medication can reduce the size of pre-existing tumours and decrease the rate at which new malignant growth occurs.

To further lower androgen levels, doctors may advise other treatments like surgery or other medications as anti-androgens may not completely stop the synthesis of androgen.

Be aware of side effects

TRT may have a deleterious effect on sperm production and male fertility.

Reproductive endocrinologists or doctors who specialise in fertility should be consulted if you wish to become pregnant and are considering TRT.

Alternative drugs have the potential to enhance male fertility by raising testosterone levels without adversely affecting it.

Breast cancer

Recently, a clear correlation between the development of breast cancer and androgen receptors has been found by researchers.

According to a 2021 study, oestrogen receptor (ER)-α-positive breast cancer is one form of breast cancer for which androgen therapy can inhibit tumour growth.

It might be a viable treatment to slow the growth and size of tumours in the future, but further research is required to be certain.

Gender-affirming care

Anti-androgens may be used as a component of gender-affirming care for AMAB individuals who are transitioning or who identify as nonbinary. This can prevent some of the effects of androgens that are typically associated with masculinity, like:
  • male pattern baldness
  • facial hair growth
  • erections
Together with anti-androgens, transgender women may also take oestrogen.

TRT can also be used to enhance physically masculine traits in AFAB individuals who are transitioning or who identify as nonbinary, such as:
  • reducing or eliminating menstruation
  • deepening the voice
  • increasing muscle mass and strength
  • redistributing fat (including reducing breast tissue and fat around the hips)
  • increasing libido

Are androgens safe to use for bodybuilding?

Bodybuilders and other athletes occasionally use anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS), a synthetic form of testosterone, to increase muscle mass, decrease body fat, and improve performance.

Steroid use carries significant dangers, which include:
  • decreasing liver function
  • a high risk of infection
  • decreasing fertility
  • increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke
  • reducing “good” (HDL) cholesterol and raising “bad” (LDL) cholesterol
In most places, AAS are also prohibited unless a doctor has prescribed them for medical use. They might also be made in laboratories with a high risk of contamination or illness and sold illegally.

How do you know if your androgens are out of balance?

People who are AFAB are at high risk of elevated androgen levels.
  • lack of menstrual periods (amenorrhea)
  • decreased breast size
  • voice deepening
  • thinning hair and hair loss
  • increased muscle mass
  • increased clitoral size
  • increased in body hair (possibly on the face, chin, and stomach)
  • changes in fat distribution
  • acne or oily skin
In AMAB individuals, low levels of androgens (also known as androgen deficit) include:
  • reduced testicle size
  • low or no sperm count
  • increased body fat percentage
  • decreased energy or strength
  • reduced muscle mass
  • loss of pubic and facial hair
  • hot flashes
  • reduced libido
  • decreased erections
  • difficulty concentrating
  • depressed mood
Consult your physician if you suspect that your androgen levels are abnormal. You can find out if you need treatment for an excess or deficit of androgens by getting a blood test.


Androgens, or "male" sex hormones like testosterone, control your body's sex features including muscular growth.

Hormone balance can be achieved in the body by using androgen therapy, which includes anti-androgen therapy and androgen replacement therapy. It can be used as a kind of gender-affirming care as well as to treat diseases like PCOS, prostate cancer, and ovarian tumours.

Consult your physician if you suspect an androgen imbalance. Male testicles shrinking or females not menstruating are common indicators of a problem.


Can you test your androgen levels at home?

Many products are available for testing your hormone levels at home before seeing your doctor

Which gender has more androgen?

Males make more of them

Is androgen harmful?

They can be very serious and may cause death

Is androgen good or bad?

Crucial for male sexual and reproductive function

Are androgens good for hair?

Androgens are the main regulator of human hair follicles

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