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6 Strange Signs You Could Be Producing Excess Testosterone

What Is Excess Testosterone, Exactly?

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Hormones control everything from your metabolism to your mood, so it's no surprise that if you produce too little of this or too much of that, your body could start acting out. But when the level is off for one particular hormone—testosterone, the sex hormone that controls male physical features and is also present in women in lower doses—you might notice some unwanted side effects (things like hair growth, a deep voice, or skin issues).

Sometimes, elevated testosterone is a sign of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition linked with irregular menstrual cycles and ovarian cysts, says Partha Nandi, M.D., creator and host of the medical lifestyle television show Ask Dr. Nandi. It can also be genetic or simply a hormonal issue. The ideal testosterone range for women is below 40 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL), says Caroline Messer, M.D., a New York-based endocrinologist. If your levels are higher than that? You might notice these six symptoms—a few signs that it's time to talk to your doctor. 

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"When you have high levels of testosterone, you can have an increase in the production of sebum (oil), which can clog the pores. Along with this, the bacteria on the face causes inflammation, leading to acne," explains Dr. Nandi.

Of course, acne can be related to several other factors, including stress, poor diet habits, not showering after a sweaty workout, or harsh face products. And often, if high testosterone levels are to blame, other symptoms crop up too. Washing your face frequently and not sleeping with makeup on can decrease flare-ups. If testosterone is to blame, medications like hormonal birth control—which contains progesterone and estrogen to balance out testosterone—can help, says Michelle Isley, M.D., an ob-gyn at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

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Weird Hair Patterns

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We're not talking a few light strands here or there. Excess testosterone results in hair growth in areas where women't don't normally find hair, says Dr. Nandi, which might mean your chin or chest. Known as hirsutism, excess hair growth won't appear like soft "peach fuzz," so you should be able to tell the difference. If you're experiencing these symptoms, tell your doc. Electrolysis and laser hair removal could help remove unwanted hair, and oral contraceptives can help even out hormone levels, he says.

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Mood Swings

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Yes—you might snap out of frustration on occasion, but if you're noticeably down and on edge, it could signify an issue with your hormone production, says Nita Landry, M.D., a recurring cohost on the The Doctors. "Increased free testosterone can affect mood and even cause incidence of depression, as it can affect the individual's neurotransmitter receptors, leading to mood disorders and mood swings," says Dr. Nandi.

Similarly, mood swings can be associated with a number of different conditions, such as mental disorders, excess stress, disordered eating, and depression, among others. A physical and a blood test to check testosterone levels can help shed some light on the real issue.

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A Deeper Voice

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According to Ricardo Lopez, M.D., an ob-gyn with Orlando Health Physician Associates in Orlando, FL, if you have excess testosterone, you might notice a deeper, huskier voice. It's kind of like the way your voice sounds when you're sick, minus the tissues.

More research still needs to be done, as these effects aren't well understood, experts say. Yet, if you notice your voice dropping, along with other symptoms of excess testosterone, it's best to check in with your doc.

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Increase in Weight and Muscle Mass

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According to Dr. Landry, weight gain is common with excess testosterone production, as is an increase in muscle mass. In fact, obesity is a major cause of hirsutism, says Dr. Landry, and it's likely in those with polycystic ovary syndrome, as well. If you're gaining weight, don't immediately think excess testosterone: Weight gain can (of course) occur due to poor diet and lifestyle factors, lack of exercise, stress, or other medical conditions associated with the extra pounds, says Dr. Nandi.

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A Charged Libido

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Turned on all the time? A 2016 study in the journal Hormones and Behavior found higher levels of testosterone linked to greater sexual desire. (Or maybe it's just the change in weather. Apparently warm temps turn up the heat on your sexual desire, as well.) Obviously, an uptick in libido isn't necessarily something to complain about. But if it's bothering you, affecting your life, or seems very random and out of the blue (and especially if it crops up with any of the other symptoms of excess testosterone), visit an endocrinologist. 

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This Paleo Lavender Iced Coffee Will Replace Your Starbucks Order


We're avid believers in treating yo-self to a decadent vanilla sweet cream cold brew from Starbucks every now and then (they're just so good!). But if occasional visits have become daily habits (and your bank account is seeing the results), you might want to check that habit, at least for a bit.

Roasted Mushroom Burger

Roasted Mushroom Burger


  • 1 pound shiitake mushroom caps
  • 3 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon each ground cumin, ground coriander, smoked paprika, cayenne, and dried thyme
  • Salt
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated and squeezed dry
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and grated
  • 2 small beets, peeled and grated
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk, beaten
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, toss the shiitakes and cauliflower with 2 tablespoons oil, the spices and herbs, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast until nicely browned and slightly dried out, about 20 minutes. Cool.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the shiitake mixture into a coarse puree. Transfer to a large bowl and add zucchini, carrots, beets, sunflower seeds, cilantro, egg mixture, panko, pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt. Mix until well combined.
  3. Form into six patties. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
  4. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches if needed, cook the patties for 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees, about 8 minutes.
  6. Place in buns and top with lettuce, tomato, pickles, mayonnaise, and avocado.


  • Cover your baking sheets with Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil before cooking vegetables and burgers and cleanup becomes a snap.


  • Recipe by Andy d'Amico, executive chef and partner at 5 Napkin Burger in Boston.

Nutrition Information

Per serving: 215 kcal cal., 13 g fat (2.1 g sat. fat), 19 g carb., 5 g fiber, 7 g pro.. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet