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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Testosterone Replacement Therapy - why is it so controversial?

"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong." - Voltaire

For reasons that are not readily apparent, there appears to be a conservative political movement that opposes the use of testosterone in older men. This was clearly demonstrated by the report of the Institute of Medicine, which felt that testosterone is not yet ready for prime time and that there is still a need for studies to prove its efficacy [1]. Along the same lines, the guidelines of the Endocrine Society on testosterone use in older men seem to be ultra-cautious [2]. But fortunately, there are also other, more liberal guidelines and recommendations [3-5].

Probably no other medical issue has been bombarded by the influx of “expert” views from all walks of life; from endocrinologists and psychiatrists to urological surgeons and gerontologists, from the lay press to the regulatory agencies and from the pharmaceutical to the entertainment industries. The dismal result of all this free-for all cacophony of opinions is a great deal of confusion, erroneous information and significant detriment to patients and physicians alike.

Let's take an in-depth look at the reasons for the negative attitudes to male testosterone replacement therapy (I will cover post-menopausal testosterone replacement in an upcoming article), and the hard scientific data that refutes it...

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Multiple Hormonal Deficiencies in Anabolic Hormones in Frail Older Women

Reduced levels of anabolic hormones can contribute to aging and frailty. Most studies that have investigated this focused on the relationship between individual hormones and specific age-associated diseases. An interesting study in older women aged 70-79 years sought to examine the associations of individual anabolic hormonal deficiencies of free testosterone, IGF-1 and DHEA, and to assess their combined effects as well.[1]

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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 Therapy vs. Estrogen Therapy in Surgically Menopausal Women - effectiveness comparison

In a previous article I outlined a study showing the effectiveness of testosterone therapy on menopausal symptoms in pre- and post-menopausal women. Here I will present and comment on an insightful study that compared head-to-head the effectiveness of testosterone therapy and estrogen therapy in surgically menopausal women who had their ovaries removed.[1]
 
STUDY DESIGN:
Before the surgical removal of both ovaries (bilateral ovariectomy) women were randomly assigned to either a testosterone alone, estrogen alone, or placebo groups. There were 10 patients in each group.
 
Mean age of the women was 46 years. They had underwent bilateral ovariectomy due to having uterine fibroids (aka myoma), which are non-cancerous (benign) tumors that develop in the womb (uterus).
 
HORMONE TREATMENTS:
 
The testosterone group received injectable testosterone (enanthate); 200 mg/ml.
 
The estrogen group received injectable estradiol; 10mg/ml.
 
The testosterone/estrogen group received injectable testosterone (enanthate) 150 mg + 8.5 mg estradiol/ml.
 
All groups received 1 ml intramuscular injections every 28 days for 3 months.
 
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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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5 Ways to Naturally Boost Your Testosterone

testosterone

 

When you see the term “testosterone,” we typically associate it with masculinity and men. However, women generate testosterone too. So, what exactly is testosterone? Testosterone is a steroid hormone that plays a significant role in the male sperm production and produced in women’s ovaries in much smaller amounts. Rising levels of testosterone stimulates physical and chemical changes for boys and men such as increased muscle, pubic hair growth, deeper lengthened vocal chords, and increased sexual desire.


Testosterone production significantly spikes during puberty and starts to drop after age 30. Having optimal levels of the steroid hormone is essential from puberty throughout adulthood for general health, aids in preventing certain chronic diseases, and increases energy levels. As our levels of testosterone naturally decrease over time, rest assured there are ways to naturally boost it back up.

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5 Signs Your Testosterone is Too Low

low testosterone


Like all hormones, testosterone plays an important role in regulating a host of different processes in the body. There is no question maintaining optimal levels of testosterone is ideal to a healthy lifestyle. Testosterone is an essential hormone responsible for male development, masculine characteristics, building muscle, fueling sex drive, and receptors exists throughout the body. This hormone is primarily produced in the male testicles and womens’ adrenal glands. As we age, testosterone production begins to slow down. If you have low levels of testosterone, the consequences can greatly affect your health.

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Dr. Pierce's Medical Organization Affiliations

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