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  1. #1
    Registered User elementalvirago's Avatar
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    Unhappy Can a Woman Increase Testosterone by Lifting Heavy?

    Hey gang -

    I've been lifting heavy for about a year now and I'm wondering if by chance I'm naturally increasing my testosterone to the point of causing noticeable side effects. I ask because I've noticed some changes in my body that, if I were a man (or more accurately, a pubescent teen boy), would point to just that, but because I'm a woman, I'm having a hard time finding much on it (other than talking about injecting testosterone or steroids, which is not what I'm doing). I've Googled this but can only find articles about testosterone supplementation during menopause and female-male transgender procedures, and almost nothing about a natural increase so I haven't been able to get the answers I'm looking for. I'm by no means inexperienced so this isn't just a nervous post from an ignorant female, so before you say "for the millionth time, lifting heavy won't make you bulky", please read on.

    For the last few months I've been noticing that I sweat a LOT more (like embarrassing amounts), have trouble sleeping, have an increase in sex drive, I get irritable and aggressive easier (almost to point of feeling 'predatory' - sorry, that's the best word to describe the feeling) and I've been breaking out on my upper back/shoulders and face with deep acne (almost like cysts), also getting sores/zits on my scalp and have to pluck dark/hard hairs almost daily from my face and other areas. Sorry, gross, but I do kind of feel like a monster!

    My build has always been on the more athletic/dense side (I've never been accused of being skinny) so I do tend to put muscle on easier than, say, the average woman. I haven't lost a pound of weight (frustrating!) but I've seen an enormous visual change in my body. I'm by no means a freak of nature but I am definitely more muscular than most other 150-lb 5'4" females.

    So...I guess my question is this: is it possible that I've increased my testosterone so much that it's created some unwanted side effects? If so, do I just live with it? Is there anything that I should be concerned about? I mean, I'll take the increased muscle mass but what's the point of looking better if I'm covered with boils, right??? LOL I was thinking that maybe the acne/cysts were from whey protein since I found out a few months ago that I'm lactose intolerant (dairy can cause skin problems for me), but I use whey isolate which doesn't have lactose, and I eat very clean so diet shouldn't be it. Also, as far as the back/shoulder zits, I work out with a sport bra and although I have long hair, it is up off my skin for at least 90% of my waking moments so please don't say it's sweat causing the skin problems. I also shower a LOT.

    Thanks!
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  2. #2
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    This is interesting. I don't know if there is a connection, I know I've been sweating a lot more but I think that's because weight training continues to burn fat even after your done so I think the extra sweat is just coming from the body constantly burning fat. Do you think that these could be just natural hormonal changes? Could you possibly be going through an early menopause? I think you should talk to a doctor...hopefully someone else will weigh in....sorry I couldn't be more help
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  3. #3
    Plain Jane Who Lifts **** kimm4's Avatar
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    Your description/symptoms is more pre/early menopause.

    Lifting heavy is not the issue.
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  4. #4
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    Originally Posted by elementalvirago View Post
    Hey gang -

    I've been lifting heavy for about a year now and I'm wondering if by chance I'm naturally increasing my testosterone to the point of causing noticeable side effects. I ask because I've noticed some changes in my body that, if I were a man (or more accurately, a pubescent teen boy), would point to just that, but because I'm a woman, I'm having a hard time finding much on it (other than talking about injecting testosterone or steroids, which is not what I'm doing). I've Googled this but can only find articles about testosterone supplementation during menopause and female-male transgender procedures, and almost nothing about a natural increase so I haven't been able to get the answers I'm looking for. I'm by no means inexperienced so this isn't just a nervous post from an ignorant female, so before you say "for the millionth time, lifting heavy won't make you bulky", please read on.

    For the last few months I've been noticing that I sweat a LOT more (like embarrassing amounts), have trouble sleeping, have an increase in sex drive, I get irritable and aggressive easier (almost to point of feeling 'predatory' - sorry, that's the best word to describe the feeling) and I've been breaking out on my upper back/shoulders and face with deep acne (almost like cysts), also getting sores/zits on my scalp and have to pluck dark/hard hairs almost daily from my face and other areas. Sorry, gross, but I do kind of feel like a monster!

    My build has always been on the more athletic/dense side (I've never been accused of being skinny) so I do tend to put muscle on easier than, say, the average woman. I haven't lost a pound of weight (frustrating!) but I've seen an enormous visual change in my body. I'm by no means a freak of nature but I am definitely more muscular than most other 150-lb 5'4" females.

    So...I guess my question is this: is it possible that I've increased my testosterone so much that it's created some unwanted side effects? If so, do I just live with it? Is there anything that I should be concerned about? I mean, I'll take the increased muscle mass but what's the point of looking better if I'm covered with boils, right??? LOL I was thinking that maybe the acne/cysts were from whey protein since I found out a few months ago that I'm lactose intolerant (dairy can cause skin problems for me), but I use whey isolate which doesn't have lactose, and I eat very clean so diet shouldn't be it. Also, as far as the back/shoulder zits, I work out with a sport bra and although I have long hair, it is up off my skin for at least 90% of my waking moments so please don't say it's sweat causing the skin problems. I also shower a LOT.

    Thanks!

    Go see your doctor and have your hormone levels checked. Your body may be out of whack and it may be producing more testosterone (or less prolactin/estrogen). That's what it sounds like to me, although I'm no doctor!
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  5. #5
    Registered User elementalvirago's Avatar
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    Cool

    Originally Posted by kimm4 View Post
    Your description/symptoms is more pre/early menopause.

    Lifting heavy is not the issue.
    Thanks, I thought of this so I did check with my mom some time ago to see if she experienced the same thing and also to see when she experienced menopause (since most daughters will have the same experience their mothers did). Her response: "What menopause?" Yeah she went through it but never had any of this happen to her, never had any pre-menopause events and the only reason she knew it happened when it did (very late in life) is because her periods stopped. That's it.

    So...thanks for all the good input. I was really skeptical that it could be THAT much testosterone...I mean really. I shall go get this checked out.

    Thanks again everyone! If anyone else has any other ideas, keep 'em coming!
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  6. #6
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    Originally Posted by kimm4 View Post
    Your description/symptoms is more pre/early menopause.

    Lifting heavy is not the issue.
    ^^This^^
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  7. #7
    Lift smart and hard Jenergy's Avatar
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    You definitely sound like you have a hormonal imbalance, but like others have said, it's probably not from the lifting. There could be tons of other factors coming into play too, but a simple blood test at your obgyn's would be a good place to start.
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  8. #8
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    As you get older, the amount of estrogen in your body decreases naturally...It happens to all women but some are going to notice it way more than others due to genetics (sounds like you've always had a pretty decent amount of testosterone). Decreasing estrogen = more unwanted test. side effects, so you're testosterone levels haven't increased but are more noticeable with less estrogen to keep it at bay.


    Another option is this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hirsutism
    Although very unlikely that you would develop it out of the blue.

    You could get on birth control or estrogen supps, but like someone above said see a doc.
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    I've spent some time chasing down a similar problem. I cut out anything with splenda or sucralose. It was giving me cysts. I'm lactose intolerant as well. I changed from whey to egg protein and it's so much better. You can have similar problems with any dairy. I don't think it's the lactose but the milk protein itself that's the problem.
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  10. #10
    Registered User elementalvirago's Avatar
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    Yes, I'm wondering if it really IS the whey. I stopped taking it for a few months while I was busy understanding my lactose intolerance, and the sores did go away. I just figured since I was using a whey isolate that it would be safe. Maybe not!


    And SexyChic-that's a very good point. That sounds more plausible and it does make a lot of sense.

    You all have been so great - thank you so much! I really expected some people to be all grossed out and like "TMI" but nobody was. Such good, caring advice. You are the best!
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    You are having the same problem I had been having - one of the reasons I decided to go on Yaz. I've been weight training pretty hard for the past year and my fiance even noticed the increased sweating, insomnia (although I've always had some trouble being a sleeper with ADHD), some anger, acne (the most frustrating problem, my skin was perfect in high school), and yes, some strange hair.

    I'm 22 so menopause wasn't really a possible cause in my mind. The doctor suggested that I try Yaz because of my PMS symptoms on top of it all and I complied.

    So far I've been taking Yaz for a little over a week - my face is clearing nicely, hair problems seem better, I've lost water weight (I think it's WW) initially.. There's been some nausea and such but I take it at night, so the problem hasn't been awful.

    Not sure if the weight training caused hormonal problems for me or not. I've always been fit (ODP and Varsity soccer followed by adult leagues in college) but it sure seems like these problems arose when I became a little more dependent on the gym this past year or so.
    Sorry if this was too much information, but I feel your frustration.
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  12. #12
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    No, that's great info hhickm21. When I was younger I was unable to take birth control pills because they literally made me insane. Literally - like, to the point of being suicidal. So my gyno told me any hormonal birth control was not a good option for me. Now, that was in my 20's, now I'm almost 40 so maybe I need some sort of hormonal therapy at this point in my life, I dunno. I hate to just assume it's like a pre-menopause thing because it DOES seem to coincide with the time I spend in the gym. Maybe it's just coincidence and it IS a hormonal thing.
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    Your symptoms sound a lot like PCOS - Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Your doc can run some simple blood tests to look at hormone levels.
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    Originally Posted by elementalvirago View Post
    Hey gang -

    I've been lifting heavy for about a year now and I'm wondering if by chance I'm naturally increasing my testosterone to the point of causing noticeable side effects. I ask because I've noticed some changes in my body that, if I were a man (or more accurately, a pubescent teen boy), would point to just that, but because I'm a woman, I'm having a hard time finding much on it (other than talking about injecting testosterone or steroids, which is not what I'm doing). I've Googled this but can only find articles about testosterone supplementation during menopause and female-male transgender procedures, and almost nothing about a natural increase so I haven't been able to get the answers I'm looking for. I'm by no means inexperienced so this isn't just a nervous post from an ignorant female, so before you say "for the millionth time, lifting heavy won't make you bulky", please read on.

    For the last few months I've been noticing that I sweat a LOT more (like embarrassing amounts), have trouble sleeping, have an increase in sex drive, I get irritable and aggressive easier (almost to point of feeling 'predatory' - sorry, that's the best word to describe the feeling) and I've been breaking out on my upper back/shoulders and face with deep acne (almost like cysts), also getting sores/zits on my scalp and have to pluck dark/hard hairs almost daily from my face and other areas. Sorry, gross, but I do kind of feel like a monster!

    My build has always been on the more athletic/dense side (I've never been accused of being skinny) so I do tend to put muscle on easier than, say, the average woman. I haven't lost a pound of weight (frustrating!) but I've seen an enormous visual change in my body. I'm by no means a freak of nature but I am definitely more muscular than most other 150-lb 5'4" females.

    So...I guess my question is this: is it possible that I've increased my testosterone so much that it's created some unwanted side effects? If so, do I just live with it? Is there anything that I should be concerned about? I mean, I'll take the increased muscle mass but what's the point of looking better if I'm covered with boils, right??? LOL I was thinking that maybe the acne/cysts were from whey protein since I found out a few months ago that I'm lactose intolerant (dairy can cause skin problems for me), but I use whey isolate which doesn't have lactose, and I eat very clean so diet shouldn't be it. Also, as far as the back/shoulder zits, I work out with a sport bra and although I have long hair, it is up off my skin for at least 90% of my waking moments so please don't say it's sweat causing the skin problems. I also shower a LOT.

    Thanks!
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  15. #15
    Registered User elementalvirago's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by e-popeya View Post
    Have You Checked Your Thyroid?
    Yes, I actually have done that quite recently. Normal.
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