As we age our bodies produce less estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone and by the age of 40, women produce only about half of the testosterone that they produced during their twenties. After the onset of menopause, or if your ovaries have been removed, testosterone levels decrease even further. Because of declining testosterone levels before, during and after menopause, many women seek alternatives to help replace lost testosterone.
With so many treatments for testosterone available, finding which one is safe and right for your health and lifestyle can help you get back on track to a better you. Read on to find out about testosterone and its effects on menopause.
What Is Testosterone?
Commonly known as the male sex hormone, testosterone is a cholesterol-derived steroid hormone that helps to promote sexual maturation in males and system regulation in females. In women, production of testosterone occurs in the adrenal glands and ovaries, functioning to help boost sexual drive, strength and mental stimulation. Compared with men, women produce on average 5-10% of the amount of testosterone that men do.
Although women produce smaller amounts, testosterone nonetheless plays a pivotal role in metabolic functioning and sexuality.
Is it Safe to Take Testosterone to Relieve My Menopause Symptoms?
Testosterone plays a vital role in the female body. However, very high or extremely low amounts can wreak havoc in many women causing excessive facial hair, deepening of the voice, male pattern baldness, decreased libido, aggression, memory loss, poor mood, and fatigue.
During menopause, testosterone has both direct and indirect effects. Directly it affects testosterone receptors in hair follicles, the brain and skin. After converting to estradiol, which boosts the effects of estrogen, the hormone indirectly helps to relieve hot flashes, fatigue, and improve sexual desire and arousal.
Provided blood cholesterol levels are maintained within the normal range, normal treatment involving testosterone supplements does not produce any side effects. Having said this, taking testosterone for extended periods of time can result in moderate to serious side effects, including but not limited to:
- Weight gain
- Swelling of the joints
- Persistent headaches
- Abnormal blood levels
Testosterone products are available in a variety of forms from patches to creams, testosterone is safe to take but consulting a doctor or healthcare professional is always advised when taking any type of hormonal treatment. Your doctor can provide you with a comprehensive diagnosis, and treatment options specific to your body type and hormone levels.