What are Androgens?

By Miranda Snook PTA

What are Androgens?

Androgens are a group of sex hormones produced naturally in every human, male and female. It helps with the process of puberty, body development, and reproductive health. There are a couple different androgens in the body, with the most common being testosterone. It is known that testosterone is primarily a male reproductive hormone, but did you know women produce and have different levels of testosterone as well? In this article, I will discuss various topics about androgens including its effect on general health, what happens when androgen levels are too high or too low, what happens when you take synthetic testosterone, and different uses for synthetic androgens.

Illustration of the adrenal gland labeling the androgens produced with it. JOI Rehab

Illustration of the Adrenal Gland

Effects of Androgens on General Health

Androgens, as we now know, is a hormone that is produced in both men and women and helps with entering puberty and physical maturity. Androgens in men, otherwise known as testosterone, play a huge role in many different ways. Some include: hair growth, deep voice, and sperm development. Androgens in women convert into estrogen which helps to regulate the menstruation cycle, conception, and pregnancy. It also helps to minimize bone loss and promote pubic and underarm hair growth.

What Happens when Androgen Levels are too High or too Low?

High androgen levels in women can cause missed or abnormal menstrual cycles, infertility, ovarian tumors, excessive hair growth or loss, high cholesterol and blood pressure, acne, and obesity. Low levels in men can cause fatigue, low sex drive, breast development, anxiety, depression, poor activity tolerance, and difficulty concentrating. High androgen in men can potentially aid in the growth of prostate cancer.

Synthetic Testosterone: What is it?

Otherwise known as steroids. You may have heard about how people inject themselves with steroids to improve muscle mass. Although this is one of the most common uses for steroids, women may use steroids as well. For example, when transitioning genders or when their levels are too low and cause loss of sexual interest and tiredness.

Image of a mans chest and the chemical equation for steroids. JOI Rehab

Image of a Man’s Chest and the chemical Equation for Steroids

Effects of Androgens on all Genders

It helps with bone density, sexual desire, and muscle development. One may take a steroid supplement due to low levels of production in their body that can cause serious health issues in men and women. Some may take steroids as a supplement to increase their muscle mass for personal reasons such as body building competitions. The abuse and
misuse of steroids can have serious long term side effects. These effects include liver disease, cardiovascular issues, severe mood swings, and reproductive organ damage.

What are Synthetic Androgens specifically used for?

Synthetic androgens can be grouped into androgenic and anabolic Androgenic would be testosterone replacement therapy for men with low levels of testosterone and/or for transgender individuals. Anabolic uses include bone marrow stimulation for people with leukemia or kidney failure, growth stimulation for children with growth failure, appetite stimulation and increase of muscle mass, prevention of bone loss and treatment for osteoporosis, and weight gain post surgery or from physical trauma. Two anabolic androgen medications may include Oxandrolone
for people recovering from severe burns and Methyltestosterone for treatment with people who have delayed puberty, treat menopausal symptoms, hypogonadism, and in some cases breast cancer in women.

Written By: Miranda Snook PTA

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