Testosterone For Women
by Clif Arrington M.D.
While testosterone is generally considered a male hormone, it is also produced in the female by the ovary. Although the level of testosterone in the female is only 10% of the level in men, it rapidly declines during menopause along with estrogen and progesterone. Some of the general effects of low testosterone in women are decreased sex drive (libido), decreased energy and decreased muscle mass. In a study published in 1995 in the Australian journal Maturitas, thirty-two post- menopausal women were treated with either estrogen alone or estrogen plus testosterone. Both groups had increased libido. However the group taking the testosterone – estrogen combination experienced a significantly improved sex drive. Additionally in other similar studies many women have reported that the addition of testosterone improved their memory, boosted energy, revived their interest in sex, and in general just increased their entire sense of well-being. Testosterone alone is not the answer. John Lee M.D. noticed in his clinical practice that lack of energy and sex drive were associated with low progesterone levels in both pre and post- menopausal women. Progesterone and estrogen have naturally occurring opposing effects in the body so they have to be delicately balanced to maintain health in women. According to Dr. Lee this balance needs to be maintained in the post-menopausal woman as well and that estrogen should never be prescribed alone without progesterone. Susan Rako, MD, has written about her personal experience in loss of sex drive in her book, The Hormone of Desire. She stated that the majority of women have heard about estrogen and progesterone and their role in sex drive; however, few women or men have any knowledge concerning the role of testosterone in the libido in women. Dr. Rako found that testosterone supplementation has significantly impacted her condition as well as in many other cases where estrogen and progesterone supplementation was not enough. Additional benefits of testosterone replacement therapy in women are increased muscle and bone strength and increased self-assertiveness. Current research is showing benefits of reducing the risk factors for heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes. These and other studies have proven that testosterone replacement can be invaluable for many patients, however, this can never become something a person can simply self-diagnose and treat at home. The delicate balance that must be maintained for this type of therapy to be successful and not harmful make it necessary for you to seek a trained physician to test and monitor your condition. Testosterone therapy is only available by prescription and has to be supervised by a physician. Side effects include oily skin, acne and increased facial hair. However, with proper dosage these side effect are minimal and worth the benefits to most patients. Testosterone s available in synthetic or natural forms administered as long-acting injections, implanted pellets, pills, skin patches or transdermal creams. A complete physical exam and laboratory analysis of all the major hormones is absolutely necessary to correctly diagnose your need for hormone replacement, if any. In closing, research is proving more and more that anti-aging benefits without proper balanced hormone replacement therapy is limited. Men and women both experience widespread decline in hormone levels that can seriously effect how quickly and how healthy they will be as they age.