Definition - What does Dihydrotestosterone mean?

Dihydrotestosterone is a steroid hormone similar to testosterone that plays an important role in the development and function of the male reproductive system. It is produced from testosterone but is stronger than testosterone in its ability to exert its effects. Dihydrotestosterone is produced in small quantities in females as well but the amount that is naturally produced is inadequate to have any effect in the female body. Low levels of dihydrotestosterone in men or increased levels in women can cause impairment of the sexual function leading to infertility.

Dihydrotestosterone is also known as androstanolone and stanolone.

FertilitySmarts explains Dihydrotestosterone

In males, testosterone is produced mainly in the testes while in in females, small amounts of testosterone are produced by the ovaries, adrenal glands and in fat tissue. This is then released to the blood and travel to distant tissues such as the genital organs, prostate, ovaries, liver, brain and skin where testosterone is converted to dihydrotestosterone that is many times more potent than testosterone to exert their effects.

Dihydrotestosterone stimulates the growth of genital organs, and maintains the health of the prostate gland and seminal vesicles. Low levels of dihydrotestosterone can disrupt the sexual function by causing problems such as delayed sexual maturity, decreased sexual desire, erectile dysfunction and disorders of ejaculation.

In women, dihydrotestosterone does not have a dedicated role. But in some conditions, the level of dihydrotestosterone or other androgen hormone levels can increase abnormally leading to disorders of the reproductive system. Increased blood androgen level is considered the most common hormone related disorder in women. High levels of dihydrotestosterone can cause menstrual irregularities and infertility. The commonest cause of high dihydrotestosterone in females is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Other causes include congenital adrenal hyperplasia, adrenal gland abnormalities and tumors of the ovary or adrenal glands.

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