The use of testosterone as a form of hormone replacement for women emerges from time to time in the mainstream media as a little used, but effective therapy and it’s important to understand the many risks that come with it.
A little background: testosterone is generally thought of as a male hormone for a variety of reasons, but it is present and important to both sexes at different times in their reproductive years. In the aging process for both men and women, hormone levels drop which produces certain symptoms for each gender. In post-menopausal women, the list is well-known: weight gain, a lack of interest in sex, mood swings and emotion control issues, a drop in energy levels, loss of mental focus and a decrease in bone density and muscle tone.
Hormone replacement therapy, normally using estrogen, has been controversial and some patients have concerns about conflicting reports on side effects and long-term use. Because of this, sometimes alternatives are sought, and testosterone may be considered.
Having written a dozen or so articles and a book on this subject, I’m concerned that a more complete picture must be painted. There are risks that must be part of the equation when testosterone is considered as a therapy for women. Specifically, oily skin, excess hair growth, balding and a deepening of the voice can occur. These are significant issues for most women, and depending on the severity of the hormone loss and its impact on a patient, the offset may not be attractive.
As always, a qualified practitioner with a deep understanding of the risks and benefits of any hormone loss or replacement regimen can help you decide what’s right for you.
Interested in women’s sexual health? Contact us for an appointment.