Testosterone For Women
Women make and need testosterones. In fact, during their child bearing years, the average woman can have as much as ten times the amount of testosterone in their blood, than they have of estrogen. Just as in men, women lose the ability to produce testosterone as they age. Clinical research and medical practice is beginning to recognize the important role that testosterone replaced therapy plays for women, particularly in the relief of many of the most debilitating symptoms of menopause.
Testosterone Is Not Only for Men
In women, the ovaries produce both estrogen as well as testosterone. A small amount of testosterone is also produced by the adrenal glands and by fatty tissue. In woman, testosterone is primarily important in reproductive health, and to support fertility. However, that is not its only purpose. As in men, an adequate amount of testosterone is also required for women to maintain muscle mass, strength, and bone health. There is also evidence to support that testosterone in women plays a role in cognitive function and emotional well-being.
Why Do Women’s Bodies Need Testosterone?
Even though women’s bodies need testosterone to grow and function normally, just as in men, testosterone production in women declines with age. As a woman approaches pre-menopausal age, her testosterone level can be significantly reduced. Once a woman enters menopause, her testosterone level could be less than half of what it was during her childbearing years.
Woman who have had a complete hysterectomy or have had to have their ovaries removed due to cancer or other disease states, are also likely to be suffering from low testosterone. The symptoms of low testosterone in women include:
- Muscle loss
- Weight gain
- Low libido and other sexual health issues
- Difficulty with focus, concentration, and other cognitive issues
In addition to helping to treat many of the signs and symptoms listed above, studies have shown that testosterone replacement could help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a condition that is very common in menopausal and post menopausal woman. A 2011 study published in the medical journal Clinical Endocrinology concluded that effects of testosterone replacement provided a “significant positive increase in mean bone mineral density.”
An earlier study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that, “There is increasing evidence to suggest that many postmenopausal women experience symptoms alleviated by [testosterone] therapy and that such symptoms may be [a result of] testosterone deficiency.
In any woman with low testosterone, testosterone therapy has been shown to be an effective way of increasing testosterone.
How Are Woman Diagnosed With Low Testosterone?
To diagnose low testosterone in women, your doctor will start with a complete medical examination and medical history. If, given your symptoms, and the results of your physical exam, low testosterone is suspected, your doctor may order a blood test to check your testosterone levels. If you are pre-menopausal or of menopause age, the levels of all of your hormones will be evaluated in light of your symptoms, to determine if you are a candidate for hormone replacement therapy or HRT. Testosterone therapy in women is rarely given alone, but rather as adjunct to the more typical HRT used to treat menopause.
What Are the Benefits of Testosterone Replacement for Women?
We are often asked, “Can women safely take testosterones?” Yes, they can, and testosterone therapy can have many positive benefits for women. However, testosterone must be prescribed very carefully for women.
So, just how do women benefit from testosterone therapy? As discussed in the two studies cited above, researchers now generally accept that it is testosterone loss, rather than estrogen depletion, that is largely responsible for many of the usual symptoms of menopause. In postmenopausal women testosterone loss had been linked to:
- Loss of libido
- Low muscle tone
- Weight gain
- Lack of energy
- Loss of mental focus
When used as a combination therapy, along with more traditional HRT for women, testosterone replacement has been shown to be very effective in alleviating all of the above. In addition, research has shown that testosterone replacement in menopausal women can help to treat some of the most uncomfortable symptoms of menopause such as :
- Urinary urgency and or/incontinence
- Vaginal dryness
- Hot flashes
A German study concluded that testosterone therapy in woman may decrease the risk of stroke or heart attack, and unlike what was once thought, more recent research seem to suggest that testosterone therapy in woman may actually reduce the risk of breast cancer. A study published in the journal Menopause, concluded, “the addition of testosterone to conventional hormone therapy for postmenopausal women does not increase and may indeed reduce the hormone therapy-associated breast cancer risk”