A special menopause supplement in the March 1999 issue of the "American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology" recommends the addition of androgen (testosterone) to estrogen for all women undergoing surgical menopause. The use of androgen therapy may also be beneficial to women who experience loss of libido and other symptoms of testosterone deficiency during natural menopause.
Androgens are produced naturally by the ovaries and the adrenal glands. Testosterone is an important factor in women's health before and after menopause. Testosterone provides several benefits to women:
relief of vasomotor symptoms of menopause
- enhances of
feelings of well-being
- increases the
frequency of coitus
- enhances orgasm
Androgen therapy has been around since 1936, however the myths often associated with testosterone therapy in women have placed fear in many women and resulted in few women considering this therapy. Rare, but possible side effects of testosterone therapy include hoarseness or other voice changes, development of facial hair, acne, and over-sexuality. These side effects rarely occur at the low doses most often prescribed by physicians today; when side effects do occur relief is usually achieved by reducing the dose of testosterone.
Osteoporosis affects more than 28 million women in the United States; approximately 75% of patients are post menopausal. According to the Journal's supplemental articles "data from bone marker studies indicate that estrogen-androgen combination therapy stimulates bone formation as well as preventing bone resorption..." Further study is needed but testosterone looks promising for the treatment of osteoporotic fractures in post menopause.
Do you have Symptoms of Testosterone Deficiency?
sensitivity of breast and genital tissues
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, talk with your gynecologist. Several forms of testosterone replacement are available including oral estrogen-androgen combinations such as Estratest, injectable and implantable forms, and compounded testosterone creams.