5 Proven Strategies to Reduce Androgens in Women Naturally

Here are proven ways to lower androgens without medication.

If you have too many androgens, your body will tell you.


Extra male hormones, like testosterone,  can cause acne and excess hair growth (where you don't want it). You might also see irregular menstrual cycles and fertility issues.  


I've lived through most of these symptoms, and I know it's no fun. The fallout from high testosterone levels - bad skin, facial hair -  can shatter your confidence.  My skin was the source of so much emotional distress for years.


It's enough to make you feel completely out of control of your body. It's enough to make you question your womanhood. Sadly, very strict standards exist for the feminine ideal and we feel self-conscious when we think we're falling short.  


However, getting your testosterone levels under control is about way more than just cosmetic concerns. High androgens often signal deeper underlying hormone imbalances and health problems.


Luckily, there's a few ways to lower androgens naturally.  Below, we’ll get into scientifically based strategies you can try to bring your hormones back into balance.


How can a woman reduce androgen levels?


Treatment options for high androgens vary and may include lifestyle changes or medications, like hormonal birth control.


If you're interested in a medication-free approach, there are a number of ways to lower your androgens naturally. Lifestyle changes such as eating better can decrease testosterone. Exercise is also important, and tons of research shows it helps you better manage your stress and boost your overall health.


Here's a quick disclaimer: This post focuses exclusively on ways to reduce androgens naturally, so we won’t discuss prescription medication in depth. But my personal experience with medication for hormone balance was not pleasant. I spent years on birth control pills and it seriously messed with my mental health. Even worse, the pills were a short-term fix and my symptoms reappeared as soon as I stopped taking them. 


Honestly, I wish I knew about natural PCOS treatments when I was first diagnosed. Once I did, I finally found relief from many of the symptoms after years of struggling. Still, I know PCOS differs from person to person. You might find some type of hormonal therapy is just the right fit for you.


Also, I'm no doctor and none of this is medical advice. You'll want to work with a professional that can base their advice on your blood tests.  Nonetheless, it’s 100% worth understanding all your options (you have a ton), plus the benefits and risks of each of them.


1. Get the right tests


Before jumping into specific remedies though, you'll first want to figure out why your body is making too much testosterone. 


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common cause of excess androgens in the female body, according to The Medical Clinics of North America.


Additionally, research suggests a link between PCOS and insulin resistance. It's this connection that sits at the heart of androgen excess.


One way to think about it is like a domino effect. Higher levels of insulin cause the ovaries to produce more androgens, sending your other hormones out of sync. One protein in particular, called sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), gets affected. And when SHBG is thrown off balance, it causes a rise in free testosterone levels.


When getting a blood test, remember androgen levels may vary depending on the time of day. You might have your androgen levels tested multiple times at different times of the day to get a truly accurate reading. 


2. Follow a hormone-balancing diet


What we eat has a major impact on our hormonal balance. Specifically, there are a couple of eating patterns that have been shown to reduce androgens in women naturally. 


Generally, experts recommend eating a diet rich in  whole grains, lean proteins, and plenty of fruits and vegetables to regulate blood sugar and hormone levels. And evidence shows a few specific diets treat high testosterone naturally.


In a study of 17 women with PCOS and signs of hyperandrogenism, researchers found the keto diet led to an increase in SHBG, the protein that binds free testosterone. As a result, the participants saw a drop in free testosterone.


When you eat might make a difference too. For one clinical trial, 15 women with PCOS did time restricted feeding. After the trial, researchers recorded an improvement in androgen levels. What's more, 73.3% of the patients saw an improvement in their menstrual cycle.


Researchers concluded:


“The diet of TRF may be beneficial to anovulatory PCOS on weight loss especially reducing body fat, improving menstruation, hyperandrogenemia, insulin resistance and chronic inflammation.”


When it comes to healthy eating, I find I can never stick with massive changes. I’ve tried and failed to keep up with so many fad diets over the years. 


Now, I find I do better with smaller, simpler improvements. For example, I no longer drink gassy drinks - only water. I’ve said goodbye to fast food…for the most part (I won’t lie, I go through cheat phases, not days). Importantly, I try to get enough fruits and vegetables every day. One of the easiest ways to up my fruit intake is to drink a smoothie. It’s super easy and quick. These small, but consistent changes add up and make a massive difference in time.


3. Exercise regularly 


It's no secret: regular exercise provides multiple benefits for your overall health. And it's also a particularly effective strategy to lower testosterone naturally.


Not only can exercise decrease testosterone, but it can also improve insulin sensitivity. This, in turn, helps to further regulate hormones.


For one study of 31 women with PCOS, researchers checked the impact of yoga on testosterone. One group attended three yoga sessions per week while the other did not. After three months, the yoga group had “significantly lower free testosterone levels”.


Authors note:


“Improved testosterone may persist for several months after completion of a 3-month, thrice-weekly mindful yoga intervention. Additionally, improvements were seen in measures of anxiety and depression.”


Another study published in the Research Journal of Pharmacy and Technology linked aerobic exercise with lowered testosterone levels. The women in the study did brisk jogging for 45 minutes while the other only did stretching. Both groups consulted with a nutritionist. The jogging group saw a major reduction in testosterone levels after 12 weeks.


Finally, a systematic review published in the Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology found yoga, resistance training, and strength training may reduce androgens and improve insulin sensitivity. Though, they called for further studies.


Exercise comes easy to some, but I’ve never been one of those people. That’s why it’s crucial for me to find something I like. Enter yoga. I’ve found I genuinely enjoy yoga. Full disclosure: I never look forward to doing yoga but I feel amazing after a session. When I’m really not in the mood, I hop onto YouTube and search for “short yoga session”. I know even ten minutes of yoga does a big difference. 


4. Take anti-androgen herbs


Anti-androgen herbs can lower testosterone levels. Examples of anti-androgen herbs include saw palmetto, nettle root, licorice root, chaste tree, and red reishi, according to an older study


A meta-analysis  and systematic review published in the International Journal of Women’s Health and Reproduction Sciences finds that spearmint might be an effective natural anti-androgen. Spearmint has been found to decrease testosterone production.


Additionally, the review found cinnamon reduced testosterone levels:


Another review published in the Journal of Nursing and Women’s Health showed German chamomile reduced testosterone among women with PCOS.


You can take most natural anti-androgens in tea or supplement form. I’ve replaced my morning coffee with green tea, one of the most recommended PCOS teas. Chamomile tea is a great addition to your night time routine. 


5. Load up on anti-androgen vitamins 


Supplementing with certain vitamins and minerals may lower your androgens naturally.


 One review found that supplementing with vitamin D and calcium could balance hormones and lower testosterone levels.


A clinical study published in Clinical Nutrition found vitamin D supplementation reduced testosterone and symptoms, like hirsutism.

Other research also suggests a link between a magnesium deficiency in PCOS and elevated testosterone levels.


Try lowering androgens with these proven strategies


A lot of us struggle with the effects of too many androgens. 


Fortunately, there are treatments available that can help manage the effects of androgens. Lifestyle changes, such as exercise and diet, or medications to help balance your hormones.


And while the physical effects of high testosterone levels are distressing, they’re your body’s way of telling you something’s wrong. Consult with a health professional you trust, preferably one that supports a natural, holistic approach.



Featured image credit: Photo by Erik Brolin on Unsplash