Testosterone is considered to be the “male hormone” that’s produced in men by the testes. Although women’s ovaries produce some testosterone, the hormone is produced in much higher concentrations in men and it is responsible for many of the secondary sex characteristics seen in men such as a deeper voice and hair on the chest, in addition to contributing to a healthy libido, building muscle mass, and maintaining energy levels.
Normal amounts of testosterone are essential for health. However, too much can cause several issues, including problems with fertility and certain types of cancer.
Signs of high testosterone in males
Men with very high testosterone levels may experience:
- aggressive or risk-taking behaviors
- excessive body hair
- heart or liver problems
- high blood pressure (hypertension)
- high sex drive (libido)
- increased appetite
- low sperm count
- mood swings
- prostate enlargement, which may cause difficulty passing urine
- swelling of the legs and feet
- unexplained weight gain
Causes High Testosterone
It is uncommon for high baseline testosterone levels in males to occur naturally. Often, abnormally high testosterone levels in males result from anabolic steroid use. Athletes and bodybuilders sometimes use these drugs to improve athletic performance and build muscle mass.
Supplementation with testosterone, whether a person has a prescription or obtains it illegally, can also increase testosterone levels.
Other causes of high testosterone levels in males include tumors in the adrenal glands or testicles. Sex hormone-producing adrenal tumors are rare, affecting 2 out of every 1 million people. They may be noncancerous (benign) or cancerous.
Treatment High Testosterone
The type of treatment for high testosterone will depend on the underlying cause of the imbalance. Most people will require a combination of lifestyle changes and medication.
Stopping steroid or supplementation use
Where excessive testosterone levels result from anabolic steroid use or testosterone supplementation, ceasing the use of these substances will usually resolve the issue.
In one study, 88.4% of the male participants taking testosterone supplements did not produce sperm. However, 6 months after stopping the use of the supplements, 65% of these individuals began to produce sperm again.