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What Should Women Know About Testosterone Therapy?

What Should Women Know About Testosterone Therapy?Some postmenopausal women with low libido might benefit from testosterone therapy, according to recently-issued guidelines.

The “Global Consensus Position Statement on the Use of Testosterone Therapy in Women” was developed by a panel of experts to guide healthcare providers who prescribe hormonal therapy to women. The statement was endorsed by 11 medical organizations, including the International Society for Sexual Medicine (ISSM) (The Sexual Medicine Society of North America, which produces SexHealthMatters.org, is affiliated with the ISSM.)

While the news may be a step forward for women’s sexual health, the panel was very specific in its recommendations, which covered how testosterone should be measured, prescribed, and monitored.

Here are some key points from the statement:

Testosterone therapy may be recommended for women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), but not for women with other types of sexual problems.

HSDD is a persistent lack of sexual desire that has no apparent cause. For example, it’s not a medication side effect, and it’s not a result of other health conditions associated with low libido. Another component of HSDD is distress. Women who have HSDD are bothered by their low sex drive. It might cause stress in their relationship, or they might miss the intimacy they once shared with a partner.

Testosterone therapy may be recommended for postmenopausal women, but not premenopausal women.

The menopause distinction is important. Currently, scientists don’t have enough information to recommend the use of testosterone in women who have not gone through menopause.

During menopause, a woman’s estrogen levels decline, and she stops having menstrual periods. Testosterone levels decline, too.

Women are considered to be postmenopausal (finished with menopause) when they have gone 12 months without a menstrual period. Before this benchmark, periods may be irregular, and many women think they have finished menopause when in fact they haven’t. Women who are unsure of their menopausal status should talk to their gynecologist.

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