Do you ever feel like all of your sexual desire slowly fade away, never to return, as you’re getting older?
Many women are suffering from sexual dysfunction without knowing what can be the root cause of the problem. Is it just a psychological thing like stress, or is something wrong with physical health, like hormones?
Testosterone replacement therapy can be the ultimate solution for women who wish to regain a better sex life.
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Not Estrogen – Testosterone Replacement Therapy to the Rescue for Female Sexual Dysfunction
Testosterone and Women’s Sexual Health: What Is the Connection?
There Is a Gender-based Sex Hormone Stereotype
When it comes to sex hormones, we tend to think of two different hormones that are typical in each gender: testosterone in men and estrogen in women.
This sex-disaggregated stereotype regarding hormones can be true most of the time. Firstly, testosterone is a masculinizing hormone, meaning that those with higher testosterone tend to manifest a man’s physiological and psychological aspects.
In contrast, women have a higher estrogen level than men. Like testosterone in men, estrogen in women is equally important, as it helps develop and maintain the reproductive system. More importantly, estrogen “shapes” the female characteristics of a woman.
A Surprising Fact: Women Have More Testosterone Than Estrogen
However, did you know that women produce more testosterone than estrogen before they reach menopause? Indeed women have less testosterone than men. Yet, testosterone in a woman is at least three times higher than estrogen, making the hormone generally thought to be “masculinizing” the predominant hormone in women.
Interestingly, testosterone is vital for both men and women alike. In women, this hormone plays a crucial role in mood, energy, and sexual function. That may sound hard to believe, but yes, testosterone decides if you, whether you’re a man or a woman, will have a “spiced up” sexual relationship with your partner.
What if Women Have a Testosterone Deficiency?
Yet, not every woman is lucky enough to retain their testosterone level as they reach the advanced stage of life. By 50, most women will have lost most of their testosterone, which makes their testosterone nowhere near their youthful level in their 20s or 30s.
We call this problem “female testosterone deficiency” or “androgen deficiency in females.” This problem needs to be addressed to maintain women’s sexual health.
The most common symptoms of testosterone deficiency regarding sexual dysfunction in women are mood swings, unexplained fatigue, and low libido. Unfortunately, many women experience these negative changes in their sex life. Even when they want to “spice things up,” many say they’re just not there to “restart a routine” once again.
Women Tend to Avoid Conversations on Sexual Health
Despite recognizing testosterone deficiency’s impact on women, many keep the problem to themselves and get caught “amid the storm” silently. According to a study by Mary Ann Liebert, women tend to avoid or are embarrassed to discuss their sexual health with their healthcare providers (HCPs) in many Western cultures.
On the other hand, HCPs may also avoid initiating conversations regarding sexual health due to a lack of confidence, personal discomfort, and a lack of education in this area. Furthermore, HCPs may believe that women’s sexual function becomes less important after the reproductive years, which is entirely wrong.
So, what should women do after knowing they have low testosterone and sexual dysfunction? Generally, whether a person’s sex life is up to expectations greatly depends on physiological and psychological aspects. But when psychology doesn’t work, women need a treatment option that intervenes in their physiology.
Testosterone replacement therapy is the answer.
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Understanding Testosterone Replacement Therapy in Women
What Is Testosterone Replacement Therapy in Women?
Testosterone replacement therapy in women is a novel, effective, and safe treatment that aims to normalize the testosterone level in the female body. This approach doesn’t just increase testosterone. Instead, it brings the hormone back to the youthful level and helps women “revitalize” various aspects of their health.
Testosterone replacement therapy in women comes in various forms: transdermal patches, gel, spray, pills, injections, and subcutaneous pellets. Each route of administration delivers a different extent of efficacy and side effects.
Recently, the most common types of testosterone replacement therapy in women appear to be injection and pellet implantation since these routes result in more stable drug load delivery and superior therapeutic effects in the long term.
Evidence for Testosterone Therapy in Female Sexual Dysfunction
The study by Mary Ann Liebert mentioned above has gathered sufficient clinical evidence that this therapy is safe and effective in women with sexual dysfunction.
In women who have had surgical menopause, testosterone therapy combined with estrogen improves sexual desire and arousal compared to estrogen treatment alone. These improvements included increased libido, sexual activity, satisfaction, pleasure, and orgasm, which were not seen in women treated solely with estrogen.
Several other studies have found that combining testosterone and estrogen improves sexual function in women by increasing sensation and desire. Like the finding above, this effect was not seen in women on estrogen only.
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What a Woman Should Know Before Testosterone Therapy
How Long Does It Take for Testosterone to Work in Women?
So far, evidence is limited for the therapy’s exact time to produce the beneficial effects. On top of that, most studies on hormone therapy for female sexual dysfunction are done by combining testosterone and estrogen.
We should also consider that a therapy’s effectiveness varies from person to person, and the route of administration dramatically influences the outcome. For this reason, the amount of time you need until testosterone helps with sexual dysfunction can be variable.
However, the estimated time for testosterone to “kick in” is within the first two months after the onset of the therapy. According to a study, testosterone therapy combined with estrogen significantly improved sexual sensation and desire after 4 and 8 weeks.
What Are the Long-Term Effects of Taking Testosterone?
Can you ever imagine receiving therapy that lasts 40 years?
According to a study entitled “Testosterone therapy in women: Myths and misconceptions” by Maturitas, long-term data on the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of testosterone doses up to 225 mg in up to 40 years is available.
Furthermore, long-term follow-up studies on high doses administered to transgender patients show no increase in mortality, breast cancer, vascular disease, or other major health issues.
However, remember that many side effects of testosterone therapy identified so far are attributed to increased aromatase activity. This aromatase enzyme converts testosterone to estrogen, which is linked to increased breast and endometrial cancer risks.
Evidence for increased breast cancer risk linked to estrogen has been established. On this account, you must take testosterone with caution, following your healthcare provider’s recommendations.
How Many Milligrams of Testosterone Should a Woman Take?
Testosterone replacement therapy in women aims to normalize testosterone to its healthy level. Given that average testosterone levels in women range from 15 to 70 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL), the therapy should take your testosterone back to this range.
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Testosterone Vs. Estrogen: Which One for Sexual Dysfunction?
Given the proven benefits of testosterone in improving sexual dysfunction in women, a controversial question has been raised: is testosterone or estrogen better?
Surprisingly, such polarization regarding the optimal hormone for sexual function has existed for a long time. For example, a study back in 1985 showed that menopausal women who received testosterone alone after uterus or ovary removal had higher energy levels and general well-being than those who received estrogen alone.
Another study looked at the effects of testosterone therapy on sexual function in patients on testosterone alone, testosterone plus estrogen, or estrogen alone. The study measured how testosterone could affect sexual desire, the number of sexual fantasies, the level of arousal achieved during intercourse, and the frequency of orgasm.
The study found that women on testosterone scored significantly higher on each parameter measured during treatment than patients in the estrogen-only group.
So, it can be confirmed that testosterone alone is better than estrogen alone for sexual dysfunction.
Diminished sex life can be troublesome and affect a woman’s life. But don’t take it for granted just because you’re getting older. Sexual health is to be cherished throughout your life, and testosterone therapy is always there to help you regain it.
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