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Does Testosterone Increase During a Period? (From a Doctor)

Christiana Mikesch
Published by Christiana Mikesch
Last updated: October 31, 2022

During a recent consultation with a nutritionist to come up with a diet plan for a female client of mine, she mentioned that the menstrual cycle at different ages could negatively impact testosterone in women.

I know that most people don’t focus on the male sex hormone when it comes to women’s health. But I found that this could be critical in some circumstances.

So, I spent a day with my nutritionist and dietitian to research reliable scientific papers to see how testosterone fluctuates during the menstrual cycle.

Here’s what I found out.

Quick Summary

  • While testosterone is one of the male androgen hormones, women also require small amounts for healthy body functions.
  • Testosterone levels regulate many different things, including a woman's sex drive and muscle mass.
  • It’s important to understand that there are natural fluctuations but also situations where testosterone in women can be too low or high.

Is Testosterone Higher During the Menstrual Cycle?

A woman on her period holding objects for menstruations

Yes, testosterone is higher during the menstrual cycle, especially in the mid-phase [1].

Research suggests that from day eight until ovulation, both testosterone and estrogen levels rise.

They then peak in the third week before slowly going down again.

More details on the weekly hormone change shortly.

These testosterone fluctuations are perfectly normal and play a key role in fertility, sex drive, and even mental health.

But it’s important to understand that as women get older, these hormonal fluctuations can cause longer-lasting imbalances [2].

“Women with low body fat often do not produce sufficient amounts of sex hormones. This can be a problem for women such as athletes, models, and gymnasts.”

- Debra Fulghum Bruce, PhD, WebMD.com

When those fluctuations go unchecked, it can result in many different health problems that range from fatigue to lower libido and even heart disease and insulin resistance.

And it’s as important to look at high and low levels of estrogen and testosterone as well as the ratio during and after menstruation.

Keeping track of these hormones can ultimately tell you whether you need to take action.

The Female Hormone Cycle

A person flipping through a calendar

While the female menstrual cycle can vary a lot for individuals, this is typically what happens to testosterone and estrogen [3].

Week 1

This is day one of your period, and it’s typically when estrogen is at its lowest level.

Unfortunately, this low estrogen also impacts serotonin levels and makes you more susceptible to pain [4].

As the week goes by, your hormones will start to rebalance, and you should notice gradual relief from the pain.

Week 2

During the second week, estrogen and testosterone rise, and it’s these changes in hormones that ultimately lead to ovulation and increased cervical fluid at the end of the week [5].

The high levels of testosterone may also make this the most effective week for female athletes to work on their strength and lean mass. 

Week 3

In week 3, testosterone levels peak and start going down, while progesterone and estrogen rise [6]. The fluctuations in the three hormones lead to those all too common pre-PMS symptoms.

Week 4

This is when estrogen and progesterone levels drop substantially. And with less estrogen and progesterone, it’s more likely to get into a bad mood and start feeling some premenstrual pain [7].

It’s typically the final stage just before the first day of your period.

Do Females Need to Boost Testosterone?

A doctor looking at a clipboard

Yes, sometimes females need to boost testosterone, especially if there is a lasting imbalance. In the female body, it’s the ovaries and adrenal glands that produce testosterone.

It’s important to note that low and high levels of testosterone can cause problems ranging from increased risks of breast cancer and uterine cancer to unwanted weight gain [8].

Regular blood or saliva tests are the best way to understand what’s happening to your body before and after menstruation.

This doesn’t mean you should rush to testosterone therapy.

Starting with a balanced diet of healthy fat sources, protein, and complex carbohydrates is the most important part. And then there are some natural supplements you can take to get a boost.

FAQs

What Hormone Is Highest During Periods?

Progesterone is the hormone that tends to rise the highest during periods. This typically happens at the ovulation stage of the menstrual cycle [9].

What Are Signs of High Testosterone in Females?

The causes of high testosterone for women are acne, increased hair growth, loss of libido, and mood changes. When this isn’t properly controlled, it can also lead to polycystic ovary syndrome [10].

Staying On Top of Your Hormone Levels

If you find that during and after your menstrual cycle, you might be suffering from low testosterone levels, then have a blood test done to confirm this.

The good news is that testosterone insufficiency doesn’t necessarily mean you have to resort to medical hormone replacement therapy.

We have seen great results with some of the best female testosterone boosters that worked very well for our clients.

And because their effect develops slowly, our testing and research suggest that they won’t cause sudden spikes in testosterone that could cause mood swings and other health issues


References:

  1. https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article-pdf/104/11/5382/30094221/jc.2019-01357.pdf
  2. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/004000.htm
  3. https://www.myhormonology.com/learn/female-hormone-cycle/
  4. https://drwaynejonas.com/the-science-behind-why-it-is-more-painful-to-be-a-women/
  5. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/21957-cervical-mucus
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279054/
  7. https://www.womenshealth.gov/menstrual-cycle/premenstrual-syndrome
  8. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321292
  9. https://helloclue.com/articles/cycle-a-z/the-menstrual-cycle-more-than-just-the-period
  10. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos/causes
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