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Your gonads (sex organs) primarily manufacture the hormone testosterone. Specifically, the ovaries in persons assigned female at birth (AFAB) and the testicles in those designated male at birth (AMAB) generate testosterone.

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), which your body converts into testosterone and oestrogen, is another hormone that your adrenal glands make.

The primary androgen, testosterone, is responsible for promoting the development of masculine traits. In comparison to AFAB individuals, testosterone levels in AMAB individuals are naturally substantially greater.

What is Testosterone?

Both humans and other animals contain the hormone testosterone. The primary source of testosterone in males is the testicles. While in far lesser quantities, the ovaries of women also produce testosterone.

During puberty, testosterone production starts to rise dramatically and then starts to decline around the age of thirty.

Testosterone is essential for the development of sperm and is most commonly linked to sex drive. It also has an impact on red blood cell formation, bone and muscle mass, and how men store fat in their bodies.

The amount of testosterone a man has might also impact his mood.

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What Does Testosterone Do?

Depending on the period of life, testosterone plays various functions. These responsibilities include:

  • Adulthood.
  • Puberty for male children.
  • Foetal development.

Testosterone and Adults Assigned Female at Birth

Testosterone increases libido in adults allocated to the feminine gender at birth. But most of the testosterone generated by the ovaries is transformed into estradiol, the main hormone involved in female sex.

Testosterone and Adults Assigned Male at Birth

Testosterone is essential for the production of sperm. It also:

  • Increases libido, or the desire to have sex and well-being.
  • Make sure your muscles and bones continue to be strong.
  • Tells the body to start producing new red blood cells.

Testosterone and Puberty

Many of the changes observed in children designated male at birth during puberty are caused by testosterone and include:

  • Boosting libido (sex drive).
  • Enlargement of the prostate, testicles, and penis.
  • Body and pubic hair growth.
  • An increase in height.

Testosterone and Foetal Development

The Y chromosome’s sex-related gene starts the development of the testicles in male newborns at around week seven in gestation. Testicles generate testosterone.

Testosterone triggers the development of the male internal and external reproductive organs during foetal development.

What Are Normal Testosterone Levels by Age?

Based on age and gender, the two charts below show the typical normal ranges of testosterone. Nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) is the unit of measurement for this level.

It’s crucial to remember that the typical ranges for testosterone levels might change depending on the kind of blood test performed and the laboratory that does it. When interpreting your results, your provider will always refer to the typical ranges of your laboratory. 

Normal testosterone levels for people assigned male at birth:

Age range Normal testosterone range
Under 1 year old Less than 12 ng/dL.
1 to 5 years old. Less than 12 ng/dL.
6 to 10 years old. Less than 25 ng/dL.
11 to 15 years old. Less than 830 ng/dL.
16 to 17 years old. 102 to 1010 ng/dL.
18 to 99 years old. 193 to 824 ng/dL.

For individuals designated female at birth, normal testosterone levels are:

Age range Normal testosterone range
Under 1 year old. Less than 21 ng/dL.
1 to 5 years old. Less than 12 ng/dL.
6 to 10 years old. Less than 25 ng/dL.
11 to 17 years old. Less than 79 ng/dL.
18 to 99 years old. Less than 40 ng/dL.

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What Causes High Testosterone Levels?

Your body may overproduce testosterone for many reasons, such as:

  • Adrenal Tumours 

    Sex-hormone-producing adrenal tumours are rare tumours that make too much androgen (testosterone), oestrogen or both.

  • Ovarian or Testicular Tumours

    Androgen-producing ovarian and testicular tumours can release excess testosterone.

  • Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia

    The adrenal gland experiences an insufficiency of enzymes due to genetic abnormalities in CAH. Normally, the body uses these enzymes to aid in the production of cortisol, a hormone necessary for responding to stress. The adrenal glands overproduce other hormones, such as testosterone, in place of cortisol when the enzymes aren’t functioning properly.

  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

    Those with ovaries are susceptible to this hormonal imbalance. It takes place when the ovaries produce too much testosterone or androgens. Weight gain and excessive body hair are some of the physical signs brought on by this hormonal imbalance in reproduction.

    Depending on your age and sex, too much testosterone has varied effects on your body.

High Levels of Testosterone in Amab People (Assigned Male at Birth)

It is improbable, and challenging to determine, that an adult designated male at birth has higher-than-normal testosterone levels.

An overabundance of testosterone in male-assigned newborns can cause (early) puberty or the onset of puberty before the age of nine.

High Levels of Testosterone in AFAB People (Assigned Female at Birth)

Infants designated female at birth (AFAB) may have clitoris elongation, which might resemble a penis, due to high testosterone levels. Additionally, it may result in precocious puberty, or the onset of puberty before the age of eight.

In adults assigned to females at birth, high levels of testosterone may be a sign of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This condition is very common — up to 15% of people AFAB of reproductive age have it.

PCOS causes certain symptoms, including:

  • Deeper voice.
  • Balding at the front of your hairline.
  • Irregular menstruation (periods).
  • Excess body and facial hair (hirsutism).
  • Acne

How are Testosterone Levels Controlled?

Your body controls the level of testosterone in your blood. Generally speaking, levels peak in the morning and fall during the day.

Your gonads, or testicles or ovaries, generate and release testosterone under the direction of your hypothalamus and pituitary gland.

The production of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) by your hypothalamus sets off the release of luteinizing hormone (LH) by your pituitary gland. After arriving in your gonads, LH causes the release and synthesis of testosterone. (LH more often causes the ovaries to produce more progesterone and oestrogen.)

A rise in blood testosterone levels inhibits the synthesis of gonadotropin-releasing hormone, assisting in the maintenance of normal testosterone levels.

Anomalies in your hypothalamus, pituitary gland, or gonads might result in abnormally high amounts of testosterone.


For those who are designated male at birth, testosterone plays a crucial role in both reproductive health and general health. You could feel uncomfortable if they are always high or low. It is always advisable to seek medical help from an experienced endocrinologist. Timely care and help can ensure an appropriate diagnosis and treatment of your condition. 

At the CK Birla Hospital, we ensure patients get holistic medical support which includes treatment in a compassionate environment. This patient-centric approach not only helps patients heal better but also ensures they are aware of the preventive measures as well. In case you need to consult an endocrinologist, reach out to us, or book a direct appointment with Dr. Kumar Saurav at the CK Birla Hospital.


How Does Testosterone Affect the Body? 

The body uses the sex hormone testosterone for essential purposes. It’s believed to control men’s libido, or sex drive, as well as their bone mass, fat distribution, muscle mass, and sperm and red blood cell production. Converted from circulating testosterone to the oestrogen estradiol, very little testosterone remains in the body.

How Do I Fix My Low Testosterone?

Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is the most often used treatment. Usually, a doctor will only recommend TRT in cases when the patient exhibits several low testosterone symptoms and has blood test results that support the diagnosis. There are other ways to administer TRT, such as using skin patches.

Which Foods Help Boost Testosterone Levels?

Certain foods help in treating low testosterone levels, such as pomegranate, green leafy vegetables, ginger, onions, egg yolk, fatty fish, bananas and red meat. 

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