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Testosterone is an androgen steroid hormone that is usually linked to male sexuality. It stimulates the growth of normal male sexual organs, leads to deepening of the male voice, stimulates facial and pubic hair growth, and is essential in the sexual behavior of men. Testosterone is made not only in the testes of men but also in the ovaries of women and in the adrenal glands of both men and women.
Abnormally high testosterone levels in women can lead to a variety of symptoms. Most often, women with high testosterone levels develop male pattern hair growth (hirsutism), especially on their faces and chests. More rarely, over time some women may experience virilization, which is increased muscle mass, redistribution of body fat, enlargement of the clitoris, deepening of the voice, male pattern baldness, acne, and increased perspiration. It is important to note that some women develop hirsutism without having a high testosterone level.
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Acne: A chronic skin disorder due to inflammation of hair follicles and sebaceous glands (secretion glands in the skin).
Androgen: Any steroid hormone that increases male characteristics.
Cancer: Refers to the various types of malignant neoplasms that contain cells growing out of control and invading adjacent tissues, which may metastasize to distant tissues.
Hormones: Chemical substances secreted by a variety of body organs that are carried by the bloodstream and usually influence cells some distance from the source of production. Hormones signal certain enzymes to perform their functions and, in this way, regulate such body functions as blood sugar levels, insulin levels, the menstrual cycle, and growth. These can be prescription, over-the-counter, synthetic or natural agents. Examples include adrenal hormones such as corticosteroids and aldosterone; glucagon, growth hormone, insulin, testosterone, estrogens, progestins, progesterone, DHEA, melatonin, and thyroid hormones such as thyroxine and calcitonin.
Steroid: Any of a large number of hormonal substances with a similar basic chemical structure containing a 17-carbon 14-ring system and including the sterols and various hormones and glycosides.
Testosterone: The principal male sex hormone that induces and maintains the changes that take place in males at puberty. In men, the testicles continue to produce testosterone throughout life, though there is some decline with age. A naturally occurring androgenic hormone.