As a woman goes through menopause, naturally or surgically, her body can experience an alteration in levels of natural hormones. As natural hormones are responsible for the proper functioning of her body, a change in normal amounts can bring about a slew of menopause symptoms. Aside from hot flashes, night sweats and migraines, there is the dreaded loss of libido. Loss of libido can be particularly frustrating in menopausal and postmenopausal women as it puts a strain on her and her partner's relationship. To combat the loss of sexual desire many women turn to hormone therapy to replace their natural hormones and thus increase their sex drive.
The ongoing debate continues for the loss of natural hormones resulting in menopause symptoms. Testosterone treatment in the area of libido has shown positive results in increasing improving sexual function. What remains unanswered however is the correct amount to prescribe to menopausal and post menopausal women.
Previous benefits found by Braunstein and colleagues have failed to show certain dose relations. Another study has been done in attempts to determine proper dosage.
In the initial study, using the Profile of Female Sexual Function, a questionnaire analyzed the treatment responses of sex drive in postmenopausal women, between the ages of 24 and 70, taking testosterone to relieve menopause symptoms. A considerable increase was found in only two of the seven sexual function domains for women prescribed 300- µg dose of testosterone.
For the treatment group, sexual desire rose 67% while the placebo group showed a 48% increase. Related changes were shown in the sexual arousal score. The testosterone treated group reported an increase of 79% in satisfying sexual activity compared with 43% in the placebo group.
However, after assessing the questionnaire, it was revealed that 300- µg dose of testosterone, in compensation for the loss of natural hormones, everyday for 12 weeks did not significantly increase “desire” or “arousal” but did increase frequency of sexual activity and “pleasure-orgasm.”
Similar results were found in the second study, which lasted 24 weeks this time. Opponents of this test wonder if 24 weeks is enough time to determine the effects of testosterone in postmenopausal women and menopause symptoms. Though the side-effects appear to be “small” they caution that more time is needed to determine whether the pros outweigh the cons. Potential side effects may include an increase in facial depilation, acne, masculinization and dyslipidemia.
The loss of natural hormones can prove challenging among postmenopausal women especially in the area of sexual function. Natural hormones are responsible for maintaining a normal and healthy sex-life so as they change or fluctuate, a relationship can suffer. Despite the efforts to make up for the change or loss in natural hormones related to loss of libido, a clear cut answer is yet to be determined in how much testosterone is healthy in postmenopausal women. It is advised that women talk to their health care professionals before attempting to take any treatment.