Posted by: anon | 2009-07-29


I' ve heard about testosterone being given to menopausal women to improve libido - is this true? Is it safe?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageAgeing and Sexuality expert

This is a controversial subject and I guess it depends on who you ask , so you will receive a different response from each person you ask. My response is based on robust evidence based research.
The short answer is most definitely yes, testosterone (T) is given to menopausal women. But it is somewhat problematic for various reasons: we have no real idea what the normal range of testosterone levels are for women so problem number one , is when do we diagnose a woman as having low testosterone. Clinically this is managed by assessing the patient's whole life and overall profile. If her low desire is distressing her, if her quality of life is being impacted and her levels of T are on the lower end of the spectrum and there are no other contra indications to her taking T then it will be recommended.
Problem 2: there is not yet an approved T replacement for menopausal women - not in South Africa. So doctors are somewhat hesitant to use the T replacements they have - for men - on women- despite good enough research that shows the effectiveness of certain drugs, dosages, routes of administration. Adcock Ingram have an excellent hormone replacement that has estrogen and androgenic properties - go ask your gynae about this possibility for you.
T must only be administered on a woman who is estogenised. In other words she is presently on hormone replacement. T is added on for greater effectiveness. However there is an excellent research paper (Davis S, 2008) that suggests that women can take T safely if they are not on estrogen. For example women who live with cancer and cannot be on estrogen.
I urge you to have this conversation with your gynae - I do not believe it is acceptable to be deprived of T if you are a good candidate. Follow up every 6 months necessary.

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