Did you know women have testosterone too? This is something many people do not realize because they automatically associate the hormone with men. In fact, testosterone is needed by women for their bodies to function normally.
In women, it is produced by both the adrenal glands and the ovaries, and it plays a very important role in the body. When women go through menopause, their hormone production levels drop, causing a variety of negative effects. To deal with this, women need to consider bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. To learn more or discuss whether testosterone treatment may be right for you, consult with an experienced gynecologist today.
The Need for Testosterone
Most women are aware testosterone is associated libido, sexual arousal, and intensity of orgasm. What they may not know is that testosterone plays an extremely important role in diminishing visceral fat, the blanket of fat that surrounds the intestine. This visceral fat not only increases weight and abdominal girth but serves as a source of inflammatory proteins leading to cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and diabetes. You can lose weight and improve your waistline by decreasing this layer of fat.
Testosterone plays an important role in the maintenance of muscle mass. Testosterone levels diminish rapidly from your late 20s and muscle mass decreases at a rate of 8 to 10% per decade. This translates to decreased strength and endurance and increased fatigue. Over time there may be increased muscle weakness resulting in falls and fractures. Testosterone importantly counteracts depression and supports bone strength.
Bioidentical Testosterone Therapy
It is not uncommon for women to have virtually no measurable testosterone as early as their late 30s. Over-the-counter supplements can marginally increase testosterone levels and DHEA supplementation can raise them as well. However, the only true therapeutic approach is with testosterone hormone replacement therapy. The goal is to bring your testosterone back to their highest levels found in your early 20s for optimal benefits.
Testosterone is a natural plant sourced hormone that can be administered topically, by injection or by insertion of pellets under the skin. It is important to note testosterone therapy is approved by the FDA for only one medical indication: male hypogonadism. This is a very specific medical condition of demonstrably very low testosterone which increases men’s cardiovascular risk, loss of muscle mass, low libido and impotence. Fortunately, medical professionals are able to prescribe any FDA-approved medication for off-label use. That means that even though testosterone has only one specifically approved indication it can be used for other indications if a physician believes it is medically appropriate. That allows doctors to legally prescribe testosterone to men and women who have signs and symptoms of testosterone deficiency.
Testosterone replacement therapy has to be monitored very closely to avoid side effects. This means it is necessary to periodically speak with your physician regarding untoward symptoms and to assess blood or laboratory levels of testosterone to make sure they remain in the physiologic range. Side effects to be avoided in women include anger and aggression, oily skin, acne formation, fine hair growth and rarely hair loss. These symptoms are unacceptable and can be minimized or eliminated by adjusting the testosterone dose or by the addition of medication that uniquely blocks the effect of testosterone on the skin. There is no association of testosterone with cancer.