Testosterone Replacement for Women?
When you think of testosterone, and testosterone replacement therapy, of course you immediately think of men. But did you know that women, under certain circumstances, can also benefit from testosterone therapies?
Jane Fonda may be controversial at times, but no one can deny she looks fabulous at 76! She also has said that she still enjoys an active sex-life, but needed a little help in that department. She openly, and proudly admits that she has been undergoing testosterone therapy since the age of 70. In a very candid interview Fonda said, “If you want to remain sexually active and your libido has dropped, taking a small dose of the libido-boosting hormone testosterone makes a huge difference.”
She is right. For a long time doctors thought only the levels of the “female” hormones progesterone and estrogen played a role in an older women’s sexual wellness.
But now there is increasing evidence that low testosterone levels in women, and not estrogen, is not only responsible for lack of sexual desire, but also many other conditions of menopause, such as weight gain, cognitive difficulties and loss of bone density and muscle tone.
Women and Testosterone
Though considered a “male sex hormone,” or androgen, testosterone is produced by women’s bodies in the ovaries, adrenal glands and fat cells. Testosterone is important to a woman’s reproductive health, and actually has over 200 different functions in women.
Contrary to what was once believed, several studies have indicated that testosterone does not increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer. In reality, there seems to be good evidence that testosterone levels may actually play a role in preventing the disease.
Clinical studies published in respected peer-reviewed medical journals have concluded that a small increase in the testosterone levels in menopausal and post-menopausal women can restore libido, increase sensitivity and arousal, and the frequency of orgasms.
Furthermore, low testosterone levels in women of all ages seems to play a major role in many forms of female sexual dysfunction, but in particular, complaints of decreased desire, or lack of libido. Administering a low dose of testosterone in these women has been shown to increase the frequency of sexual thoughts and fantasies, as well as improve mood and overall wellbeing.
Beyond the bedroom, other studies have found that low-dose testosterone therapy increases mental acuity and cognition in women.
Hormone Replacement Therapy for Women
There remain many misconceptions about hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for women. Many women fear that HRT increases the risk of breast cancer. These reports, from a survey over 10 years ago, have been largely discredited.
When properly administered, by certified professionals, hormone replacement therapy for women is far less risky then was once believed.
Unfortunately, many women still believe hormone replacement is not safe due to confusion and misinformation. The truth is HRT, including testosterone therapy, is the single most effective treatment we have available for helping women deal with the sexual issues and other challenges brought on by menopause.
In my practice when I see a woman complaining of low libido, or lack of interest in sex, and have them tested, I often find them to have low testosterone levels. In these women, I have found that supplemental testosterone, most often delivered in the form of a patch, improves sexual desire and responsiveness and increases the desire for sexual activity.
We really are not sure why reduced testosterone levels that occur in women as they get older could be responsible for the loss of sexual drive that often happens as women come into their post child-bearing years.
What is clear, however, is that low-dose testosterone therapy does improve a woman’s ability to become aroused and the intensity of her orgasms during and after menopause. I have found this to be particularly the case in women who have had an earlier than anticipated onset of menopause.
Do you have sexual wellness issues, and have you considered HRT?
Have you or someone you know tried the HRT, what are/were the results?
Start the conversation below.