Testosterone and Its Benefits to Women
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Testosterone and Its Benefits to Women

by Brock Smith, RPh
March 2002

brought to you by Bellevue Pharmacy, a ProjectAWARE sponsor

Testosterone is referred to as the "Other Hormone," and it can add zest to menopause. Monthly surges of this androgen boost your well-being, sense of personal power and sex drive. Other benefits derived from testosterone are that it helps promote bone growth, and it can help relieve mild depression, some vasomotor symptoms, and vaginal atrophy and dryness.

Testosterone can be the "Impulsive Hormone," and there is a parallel of information about it in men and women. Those with higher levels are usually single, aggressive, and dominate and take risks, but these impulses can be channeled and controlled in order to avoid problems. In women a little bit can go a long way, as it enhances sexual desires and fantasies, helps make women more easily sexually aroused, to enjoy intercourse better and have more frequent orgasms.

If you have your ovaries removed or you are in natural menopause, your testosterone levels drop by 1/3 or more, and it is definitely advisable to replace it along with estrogen. As one author, Dr. Susan Rako, MD, stated, "It is the Hormone of Desire." Besides the bone and sexual benefits, it also acts on the brain, muscles, liver and blood vessels, as it enhances cognitive functions.

The negatives of too high a dose of testosterone include susceptibility to baldness, facial hair, acne or deepening of the voice. Dr. Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, MD in San Diego says, "Definitely, one size does not fit all and the testosterone should be tailored to each individual according to needs." In therapy the goal is to reinstate what the woman had before menopause, to bring her back to what she was and how she felt.

Testosterone can be administered in sublingual tablets, as a single testosterone dose or in combination with progesterone and estradiol. Forms and dosages of testosterone supplementation include:

  • The sublingual tablet is usually dissolved under the tongue about 2 hours prior to bedtime
  • A topical gel that gives a 24-hour even release capability is applied to clean dry skin as 2. ml. per day
  • A testosterone 2% thick gel is available to apply a small amount (lentil pea size) to vulva area about 1 hour prior to bedtime every day.

More About Testosterone:

A study to determine the effect of testosterone administration on physiological and subjective sexual arousal in sexually functional women: Time Course of Effects of Testosterone Administration on Sexual Arousal in Women from the Archives of General Psychiatry, Vol. 57 No. 2, February 2000.

A comprehensive paper, Female Sexual Dysfunction: Definition, Causes, and Potential Treatments, by Laura Berman Ph.D. and Jennifer Berman M.D., includes discussion of testosterone as a potential treatment.

For questions and further information, contact Bellevue Pharmacy.

 

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