A new study, released this past November, offers some promise to women suffering from low testosterone levels following a hysterectomy and/or oophorectomy (the removal of the ovaries). A woman’s hormone levels, including estrogen and testosterone, will dip after the ovaries are removed. And because of that dip, some women may find that they are tired more often, feel weaker or experience sexual dysfunction – including loss of desire, weak or absent orgasm. But researchers found that testosterone helped boost sexual function, muscle mass and physical performance, such as chest-press and stair-climbing power in participants.
Testosterone therapy for women has been a long debated treatment approach. The FDA does not currently approve it for women because of the lack of long-term studies weighing its risks and benefits. The research published this fall did make one important step to FDA approval: it identified the testosterone levels needed for women to see improvements to their sex drive, strength and alertness. The next critical step is to complete studies that clearly outline any adverse long-term risks, such as increased risk of heart disease or certain types of cancers.
The good news – testosterone therapy is not new. Men and women have been undergoing it since 1940s, with no adverse side effects associated with testosterone. The testosterone patch is approved in Europe for increasing sexual desire in women just like those in this study. Doctors in Britain and Australia prescribe it for women to help with many issues, from lack of mental clarity, sexual dysfunction to muscle weakness. Many women in the U.S. who receive testosterone therapy rave about it. And side effects many might associate with testosterone – excess facial hair, deeper voice or acne – have been minimal to non-existent in studies published to date.
So, what does all this mean for you? It means there may be one more option to help get your sex life back on track after midlife, menopause or hysterectomy. And that research is finally starting to catch up with what many doctors have already recognized – testosterone therapy can benefit many women. If you have questions about this study or testosterone therapy, please give me a call. I’m happy to answer your questions and help find a solution so you can feel like yourself again.