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Testosterone therapy in women: Does it boost sex drive?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/testosterone-therapy/AN01390
- With Mayo Clinic gynecologist and obstetrician
Mary M. Gallenberg, M.D.read biographyclose window
Mary M. Gallenberg, M.D.Mary M. Gallenberg, M.D.
Dr. Mary Gallenberg is board certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and by the American Board of Internal Medicine in internal medicine and medical oncology.
An Antigo, Wis., native, Dr. Gallenberg is a consultant in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., and an assistant professor at College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic.
Dr. Gallenberg has been with Mayo Clinic since 1990. She was on the Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource editorial board and has been honored for excellence in teaching. She also won a Mayo Clinic Excellence Through Teamwork award.
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Testosterone therapy in women: Does it boost sex drive?
Does testosterone therapy help increase sex drive in women? What are the pros and cons?
from Mary M. Gallenberg, M.D.
Research shows that the hormone testosterone does impact sex drive — as well as remedy other sexual problems — in certain women with sexual dysfunction. But the long-term safety of testosterone therapy for women is unknown. For this reason, some doctors are hesitant to recommend it. Testosterone therapy usually is prescribed only for women who have sufficient estrogen levels.
Testosterone therapy might be appropriate if:
- You have reduced sex drive, depression and fatigue after surgically induced menopause, and estrogen therapy hasn't relieved your symptoms
- You are postmenopausal, taking estrogen therapy and have a decreased sex drive with no other identifiable causes
Long-term safety data on testosterone therapy for postmenopausal women who have a history of breast or uterine cancer or those who have cardiovascular or liver disease is lacking and being studied.
Testosterone therapy comes in many forms, such as creams, gels, patches or pills. The method of administration and dose relate to safety risks, so it's important to discuss pros and cons with your doctor.
Testosterone preparations are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in women. So if testosterone is prescribed, it's for off-label use.
Although testosterone contributes to healthy sexual function in women, many other factors also play a role in postmenopausal sexual dysfunction. These factors include decreased estrogen levels, vaginal dryness, medication side effects, chronic health conditions, loss of a spouse or partner, lack of emotional intimacy, conflict, stress, or mood concerns.Next question
Bioidentical hormones: Are they safer?
- Davis SR, et al. Current perspectives on testosterone therapy in women. Menopausal Medicine. 2012;20:S1.
- Davis SR, et al. Efficacy and safety of testosterone in the management of hypoactive sexual desire disorder in postmenpausal women. Journal of Sexual Medicine. 2012;9:1134.
- Shifren JL. Sexual dysfunction in women: Management. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 18, 2013.
- Hobbs K, et al. Clinical inquiries: Which treatments help women with reduced libido? The Journal of Family Practice. 2013;62:102.
- Yasui T, et al. Androgen in postmenopausal women. The Journal of Medical Investigation. 2012;59:12.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Committee on Practice Bulletins — Obstetrics. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 119: Female Sexual Dysfunction. Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2011;117:996.
- Glaser R, et al. Testosterone therapy in women: Myths and misconceptions. Maturitas. 2013;74:230.
- Woodis CB, et al. Testosterone supplementation for hypoactive sexual desire disorder in women. Pharmacotherapy. 2012;32:38.
- Gallenberg MM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 22, 2013.
- Thielen JM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 6, 2013.