Testosterone may strongly boost sexual well-being in postmenopausal women

In a new study, researchers found that testosterone may strongly improve sexual function and sexual well-being in postmenopausal women.

Benefits include improved sexual desire, function, and pleasure, together with reduced concerns and distress about sex.

The research was conducted by Monash University in Australia.

Although best known as a male hormone, testosterone is important for female sexual health, contributing to libido and orgasm as well as helping to maintain normal metabolic function, muscle strength, cognitive function, and mood.

Levels decline naturally over a woman’s lifespan, and can also drop sharply following surgical menopause.

Previous research has shown that testosterone therapy can improve sexual function in women, but the available formulations have been designed only for men.

Few studies have examined therapy safety or adverse side-effects in women.

In the study, the team did the most comprehensive systematic review of testosterone treatment for women. It included 46 reports on 36 studies involving 8,480 women.

They found the treatment could strongly improve sexual wellbeing for postmenopausal women.

Treatment increased sexual desire, pleasure, arousal, orgasm, responsiveness to sexual stimuli and self-image.

Women treated with testosterone also showed reduced measures of sexual concerns and sexually-associated distress.

The team also noted that non-oral formulations are better because oral testosterone has adverse health effects, including small weight gain, mild acne, and increased hair growth.

The team says nearly a third of women experience low sexual desire at midlife, with associated distress.

But no approved testosterone formulation or product exists for these women in any country and there are no internationally-agreed guidelines for testosterone use by women.

it is time to develop testosterone treatment tailored to postmenopausal women rather than treating them with higher concentrations formulated for men.

The lead author of the study is Professor Susan Davis from Monash University, Australia.

The study is published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

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