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Last updated: Jun 14, 2022
4 min read

Signs of high testosterone in men

 

Disclaimer

If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Health Guide are underpinned by peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

There are a lot of misconceptions about testosterone. While it positively affects the size of your muscles and your sex drive, that doesn’t mean that more is necessarily better. Past a certain point, high testosterone can affect a man in negative ways. 

Read on to learn more about the signs of high testosterone in men. 

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Why do men need testosterone?

Testosterone is a male sex hormone (also called an androgen) that both men and women have. 

In men, testosterone production occurs in the testicles and helps your body build and maintain muscle mass, have a healthy libido, and stabilize your energy levels (Nassar, 2022). 

Even before you reach adulthood, you need testosterone to grow and mature. Low levels of this hormone can delay puberty or hinder normal development (Nassar, 2022).

It’s also essential for overall health and wellness. Testosterone may help increase insulin sensitivity and prevent the progression from prediabetes to diabetes thanks to its ability to decrease fat mass, build lean muscle, and suppress inflammation (Dandona, 2020). 

What’s a normal amount of testosterone in men?

Testosterone is either free testosterone or protein-bound testosterone, and together these two make up your total testosterone. Normal testosterone levels in men should be between 450 and 600 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) (Mulhall, 2018).

If testosterone levels fall outside of these ranges, certain undesirable symptoms may arise. For example, if you have low T (hypogonadism)—which may be caused by things like aging, trauma, genetic conditions like Klinefelter syndrome, and more—you may experience low libido, low sperm count and infertility, erectile dysfunction, increased body fat, or a loss of pubic or armpit hair (Sizar, 2021).

Similarly, high testosterone has its own set of causes and may produce an array of symptoms as well. Let’s first take a look at what may cause your testosterone levels to spike.

Causes of high testosterone levels in men

High levels of testosterone don’t generally happen naturally. Men with too much testosterone may have high levels of this hormone due to (Nassar, 2022; Ganesan, 2021):

Signs of high testosterone in men

While higher-than-normal testosterone levels are not very common in men, if your levels do spike, you may experience symptoms like acne, hair loss, mood swings, and trouble sleeping.

Acne

Men with too much testosterone may experience more acne than those with normal levels. Testosterone can increase how much sebum the body produces, which may lead to more clogged pores and acne (Sutaria, 2022).

Hair loss

Some people with high testosterone experience androgenetic alopecia or male pattern hair loss (also called male pattern baldness) (Filatova, 2021). 

Higher levels of androgens like testosterone can lead to hair loss in people with a genetic predisposition to male pattern baldness. In these people, higher levels of these hormones may result in hair loss (Kische, 2017).

Mood swings

Elevated testosterone levels may contribute to mood disorders like irritability and aggressiveness and may make you more prone to take risks, especially if the cause of your high T is anabolic steroid abuse (Johnson, 2013). 

Sleep problems

If your testosterone levels are high, you may experience difficulty falling or staying asleep. Researchers aren’t sure how testosterone affects sleep, but they believe it may affect your circadian rhythms. Some providers even use testosterone therapy as a treatment for sleep apnea, but the results are inconclusive (Wittert, 2014).

Treating men with too much testosterone

High testosterone is treated differently depending on the cause. If you have symptoms of high testosterone, your healthcare provider may run a simple blood test to measure your levels of testosterone. An appropriate treatment plan will depend on the cause of your high T.  

Some treatments include:

Adjusting testosterone replacement therapy (TRT)

If you’re undergoing TRT for low testosterone levels and your hormone levels get too high, your healthcare provider will work with you to adjust your dosage to get your blood levels back within a normal range.

Coming off or decreasing anabolic steroids

If you’re using anabolic steroids and suspect your testosterone levels are too high, your healthcare provider may recommend decreasing your dose or discontinuing use. 

Using anabolic steroids comes with risks and potential side effects, especially if they’re used illegally, including addiction, cardiovascular problems, and long-term sex hormone disruption (AlShareef, 2022).

Treating underlying conditions

If a tumor is producing testosterone or otherwise affecting your hormone levels, treating it may bring your testosterone levels back into the normal range.

When to see a healthcare provider

If you’re experiencing the signs of high testosterone detailed above, it may be time to seek out medical advice from your healthcare provider. They can work with you to determine why your testosterone levels are high and what treatments you’ll need to bring your testosterone levels back to the normal range.

References

  1. AlShareef, S., Gokarakonda, S. B., & Marwaha, R. (2022). Anabolic Steroid Use Disorder. StatPearls. Retrieved Jun. 14, 2022 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538174/ 
  2. Dandona, P., Dhindsa, S., Ghanim, H., et al. (2020). Mechanisms underlying the metabolic actions of testosterone in humans: A narrative review. Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, 23(1), 18–28. doi:10.1111/dom.14206. Retrieved from https://dom-pubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/dom.14206 
  3. Filatova, V. A. & Rozhivanov, R. V. (2021). Features of hyperandrogenism in men. Problems of Endocrinology, 67(2), 111–115. doi:10.14341/probl12732. Retrieved from https://www.probl-endojournals.ru/jour/article/view/12732?locale=en_US 
  4. Ganesan, K., Rahman, S., & Zito, P. (2021). Anabolic steroids. StatPearls. Retrieved Jun. 14, 2022 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482418/ 
  5. Johnson, J., Nachtigall, L., & Stern, T. (2013). The effect of testosterone levels on mood in men: a review. Psychosomatics, 54(6), 509–514. doi:10.1016/j.psym.2013.06.018. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0033318213001333?via%3Dihub#bib20 
  6. ​​Kische, H., Arnold, A., Gross, S., et al. (2017). Sex Hormones and Hair Loss in Men From the General Population of Northeastern Germany. JAMA Dermatology, 153(9), 935–937. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2017.0297. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5817427/ 
  7. Mulhall, J. P., Trost, L. W., & Brannigan, R. E., et al. (2018). Evaluation and Management of Testosterone Deficiency: AUA Guideline. Journal of Urology, 200, 423. Retrieved from https://www.auanet.org/guidelines/guidelines/testosterone-deficiency-guideline 
  8. Nassar, G. N. & Leslie, S. W. (2022). Physiology, Testosterone. StatPearls. Retrieved Jun. 14, 2022 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK526128/ 
  9. Sizar, O. & Schwartz, J. (2021). Hypogonadism. StatPearls. Retrieved Jun. 14, 2022 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK532933/ 
  10. Sutaria, A. H., Masood, S., & Schlessinger, J. (2022). Acne Vulgaris. StatPearls. Retrieved Jun. 14, 2022 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459173/ 
  11. Wittert, G. (2014). The relationship between sleep disorders and testosterone. Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Obesity, 21(3), 239–243. doi:10.1097/MED.0000000000000069. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24739309/