Ageless Forever Anti-Aging News Blog

Beneficial effects of testosterone therapy in women on menopause symptoms and quality of life

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.[3] Pre-menopausal patients frequently report ‘menopausal symptoms’, most of which are not related to estradiol levels.[4]

Adding testosterone to estrogen therapy in postmenopausal women has beneficial cardiovascular effects[5] and also results in meaningful improvements in sexual function in women not taking estrogen.[6]

Testosterone supplementation in both pre- and postmenopausal women has been shown safe, even in higher doses[7, 8], and shown not to affect the menstrual cycle.[9] It is increasingly used as part of postmenopausal HRT (hormone replacement therapy) regimens.[10] Contrary to old beliefs, testosterone can actually protect against breast cancer. It has been shown that addition of testosterone may counteract breast cell proliferation induced by estrogen/progestogen therapy in postmenopausal women.[11-15]

A notable study 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 patients using the self administered Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQOL) questionnaire called the Menopause Rating Scale (MRS).

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Beneficial effects of testosterone therapy on menopause symptoms and quality of life

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.[3] Pre-menopausal women frequently report "menopausal symptoms", most of which are not related to estradiol levels.[4]
 
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.[5] It has even been shown that testosterone therapy may be more effective than estrogen therapy for treating menopausal symptoms and improving wellbeing.[6] 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.[5] This study also investigated long-term efficacy and safety in a sub-group of women who were treated for 2-3 years.
 
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Testosterone in women - is it physiological and clinically important?

Testosterone is popularly known as the "male" hormone. While it is true that men have much higher levels of testosterone than women, and that testosterone contributes to secondary sex characteristics that physiologically distinguish men from women (increased muscle mass and facial/body hair), this does not mean that testosterone isn't important in women.
 
In the same way that men need estrogen, aka the "female" hormone, for optimal health, women need testosterone for optimal health. This article will describe testosterone physiology in women and its importance for women's health, and refute the two prevailing myths that "testosterone is un-physiological in women", and that "there is no research or clinical experience supporting the use of testosterone therapy in women".... you may be surprised...!
 
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Is hypogonadism, aka "andropause", the male version of menopause?

Many men who reach middle-age start to experience symptoms that resemble those of menopause; reduced libido, lack of energy, weight gain, fatigue, depression and osteoporosis, to name a few.[1-5]
 
Therefore these conditions are frequently seen as being equivalent, and hypogonadism (which sometimes get the prefix "late onset") has therefore been called "andropause", "male climacteric", "male menopause" or "MANopause.[6, 7] 
 
However, this is very misleading. In this article I will contrast and comment on the differences between hypogonadism, also known as testosterone deficiency, and menopause.[8]
 
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Dr. Pierce's Medical Organization Affiliations

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