High testosterone levels can cause various symptoms including, body hair growth, mood disturbances, and acne. They can result from some medical conditions and the use of medications or anabolic steroids.
High testosterone levels can cause serious problems in males, such as an enlarged prostate, known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
In males, testosterone functions
Testosterone is essential for health, but too much may increase the risk of health problems, such as an enlarged prostate gland.
In this article, we discuss the signs of high testosterone, also called hyperandrogenism, in males.
A note about sex and gender
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.
Testosterone is a hormone. It is produced in the testes in people assigned male sex at birth and in the ovaries in people assigned female sex at birth. Additionally, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), a precursor to testosterone is produced in the adrenal glands.
A 2017 study involving more than 9,000 men living in Europe and the United States found that the total testosterone range for males aged 19–39 years is 264–916 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dl). Levels above this are considered high.
The American Urological Association considers 450—600 ng/dl to be a normal range.
High levels of synthetic testosterone
- hepatic adenoma, a tumor on the liver
- cholestatic jaundice
The authors of a
Testosterone may also play a role in the development of prostate cancer.
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
High testosterone levels can be a sign of an underlying health condition that increases levels of circulating testosterone on the body.
Factors that can raise testosterone levels include:
- acromegaly or Cushing syndrome, which affect the pituitary gland
- benign or cancerous adrenal tumors
- congenital adrenal hyperplasia
- the use of certain medications, such as fluoxymesterone (Halotestin)
- using anabolic steroids
- testosterone supplementation
Athletes and bodybuilders sometimes use anabolic steroids to improve athletic performance and build muscle mass. Testosterone replacement therapy can treat low testosterone levels.
Doctors typically use the following procedures to diagnose high testosterone in males:
A physical examination
A doctor may check for signs and symptoms of high testosterone, including acne and increased muscle mass. They will also ask about a person’s libido and mood.
A doctor may order blood tests to check the person’s testosterone hormone levels. They may also check their glucose and cholesterol, as testosterone levels can affect them.
As testosterone secretion is
The type of treatment for high testosterone will depend on the underlying cause of the imbalance.
Stopping steroid or medication use
Where high testosterone levels result from anabolic steroid use or testosterone supplementation, discontinuing 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.
Treatment for tumors
In rare cases, a tumor can produce sex hormones, which can increase the levels of testosterone. If a tumor is contributing to high testosterone levels, the person may need surgery.
If the tumor is cancerous, the person may need other treatments, including:
Medications can help lower high testosterone levels for people with underlying conditions.
- steroid synthesis inhibitors, such as ketoconazole (Nizoral), to treat Cushing disease
- alpha reductase inhibitors, for instance finasteride (Proscar), to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia
- gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analogs, such as degarelix (Firmagon) to reduce testosterone levels in people receiving treatment for prostate cancer
Anyone who experiences symptoms while using testosterone replacement therapy should speak with a doctor. People who are using testosterone replacement therapy will usually have regular appointments, as the doctor will need to monitor their progress.
Individuals who believe they may have high testosterone levels should talk with a doctor. They may need treatment to address an underlying health issue or reduce the risk of complications such as liver problems and osteoporosis.
Here are some questions people often ask about high testosterone in males.
What happens when a man’s testosterone levels are too high?
High testosterone levels are known as hyperandrogenism. In adults, there are few noticeable signs. But, there
What happens when a man’s testosterone levels are too low?
Low testosterone levels are known as hypogonadism. An adult male with low testosterone levels
- small testes
- enlarged breasts, known as gynecomastia
- difficulty gaining muscle mass
- low sperm count
- low energy
- low libido
- hot flashes, in severe cases
As men get older, testosterone levels tend to fall, which may lead to these symptoms.
What is a normal testosterone level in an adult male?
The American Urological Association considers a normal range to be 450—600 ng/dL. If levels fall below 300 ng/dl, a doctor may diagnose a deficiency and prescribe testosterone replacement therapy.
Levels vary by age groups and can fluctuate throughout the day. The most accurate readings will be in the early morning.
High testosterone in males can cause a variety of symptoms, including excessive facial and body hair, aggression, and infertility.
In males, high testosterone is most frequently due to anabolic steroid use or testosterone supplementation.
People who show symptoms associated with high testosterone should see their doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Untreated high testosterone levels can raise the risk of infertility, cancer, and other problems.