Testosterone is a hormone called an androgen produced by both men (in the testes/adrenal glands) and women (in the ovaries/adrenal glands), though men produce a much larger volume of the chemical. Altered testosterone levels also impact men’s bodies in much more significant ways than they do to women’s body.

Androgens are sex hormones that significantly impact individual sexual functioning. They dictate the development of male sex organs and influence female sex drive. Though androgens aren’t as plentiful in females, they do exert subtle, yet impactful effects. For instance, androgens help to spur female puberty and even aid in estrogen synthesis.

Testosterone is present in the body from birth, but even males do not possess their entire potential for testosterone at a young age. Testosterone levels increase as an individual ages, with a large spike occurring at the time of puberty. This crucial moment shifts the individual into their “adult” functioning. That is, both men and women gain the ability to reproduce after puberty.

Testosterone is measured in nanograms (ng) per deciliter (dl). During male puberty, their testosterone levels increase from roughly 7-130 ng/dl (during pre-puberty) to nearly 7-800 ng/dl once a male reaches age 12 or 13. This increases to 300-1,200 ng/dl around the age of 18.

In adulthood, an average of 300 ng/dl to 1100 ng/dl is healthy. Though each individual testosterone range differs, the maximum value in the range caps out around 1,200 ng/dl. After 18, testosterone levels tend to drop, though the extent of this drop also changes with each individual.

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