Testosterone levels in women decline steeply with age during the reproductive years; by the time women reach their late 40, their blood testosterone levels are approximately half what they were in their 20s.[1, 2]
Symptoms of androgen deficiency, including a reduced sense of well-being, dysphoric mood (sadness, depression, anxiety, and irritability), fatigue, decreased libido, hot flashes, bone loss, decreased muscle mass and strength, changes in cognition and memory, and insomnia may occur prior to cessation of menses. Pre-menopausal women frequently report "menopausal symptoms", most of which are not related to estradiol levels.
In the past, post-menopausal women with menopausal symptoms have been treated with estrogen, and more recently with bio-identical estrogen. However, new research shows that menopausal symptoms can be treated safely and effectively with testosterone. It has even been shown that testosterone therapy may be more effective than estrogen therapy for treating menopausal symptoms and improving wellbeing. This is great news for women with a family history of breast or emdometrial cancer, who fear taking estrogen.
A notable study "Beneficial effects of testosterone therapy in women measured by the validated Menopause Rating Scale" investigated the effectiveness of a 3 month continuous testosterone therapy, delivered by subcutaneous implant, on the relief of somatic, psychological and urogenital symptoms in both pre- and post-menopausal women. This study also investigated long-term efficacy and safety in a sub-group of women who were treated for 2-3 years.