Menopause is a time in which many unsettling changes happen to women - whether they expect them or not - as they begin to feel the effects of hormonal imbalance and experience fluctuating levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Unfortunately, possible effects of hormonal imbalance include hot flashes, night sweats, loss of libido, hair loss, depression, and mood swings.
Testosterone and Menopause
While estrogen and progesterone are important parts of menopause and the female body, testosterone also plays a crucial role and can help mitigate some of the symptoms.
Testosterone's effect on the body depends upon the current stage of menopause. Testosterone levels fluctuate periodically throughout life and become significantly more pronounced as women enter menopause.
Testosterone Fluctuation during Menopause
Menopause, a female biological transition during which testosterone levels fluctuate unpredictably, is divided into four stages:
Premenopause (up to approximately age 45). Throughout and beyond puberty, the body produces a sufficient quantity of sex hormones. High and low levels of testosterone are generally not a concern.
Perimenopause (between ages 45 and 50). By perimenopause, women may begin to notice fluctuations in testosterone levels. Perimenopause is immediately followed by menopause and some of the common menopause symptoms can begin to make an appearance.
Menopause (between ages 50 and 60). By the time women are experiencing the full-blown effects of menopause, hormones such as estrogen and testosterone have been significantly depleted. As the body produces less estrogen, testosterone production can sometimes increase.
Postmenopause (age 60 and beyond). Any testosterone fluctuations that occur during menopause are clearly visible by postmenopause. By postmenopause, a high level of testosterone can cause a number of side effects and have a dramatic effect on both personality and appearance.
Testosterone and Menopause Symptoms
During perimenopause and menopause, decreased testosterone levels commonly result in a range of symptoms. Testosterone has been shown to provide relief in the following ways:
- Boosting libido
- Alleviating vasomotor symptoms relating to menopause
- Engendering feelings of well-being
- Improving energy levels