NEW ORLEANS — Premenopausal and postmenopausal women reporting a persistent, low libido that profoundly impairs quality of life can experience an improvement in symptoms with transdermal testosterone, but clinicians must consider several important points before prescribing the therapy, according to a speaker at the Androgen Society annual meeting. Among postmenopausal women and women who experienced surgical menopause or premature ovarian failure, studies show that low testosterone levels are closely correlated with reduced coital frequency and loss of sexual desire, and researchers have observed a positive relationship between free testosterone levels and the rating of sexual desire via interview questions, Parish said during her presentation. However, androgen levels in women decline over the age span, and that decline is most marked during the mid- to late 30s and 40s — typically, not correlating with the onset of menopause. Androgenic effects, Parish said, vary according to individual variations in the amount and activity of the enzymes 5-alpha reductase and aromatase, as well as individual differences in androgen-receptor response. A measurement of serum testosterone in women, she said, does not provide a specific measure of androgen tissue exposure or action. Additionally, there is no serum androgen level that defines female androgen insufficiency. The use of testosterone therapy for the treatment of sexual desire disorders is not based on an established link between symptoms and biochemistry, Parish said, but rather on clinical evidence that exogenous testosterone improves the most commonly reported sexual problems in women.
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If it doesn’t work, why did my doctor give it to me?
More than 20 years later, researchers are starting to pick apart these assumptions about women and sexual desire. One team recently reported that the brains of women and men show similar spontaneous responses to visual sexually arousing cues , challenging common beliefs about differences between the sexes. At the core of these convictions is the controversial idea, formally proposed by Rosemary Basson of the University of British Columbia in , that many women may not experience spontaneous arousal and instead need some coaxing to feel amorous. But women without FSD do not report such issues, she says. An absence of desire is not an inevitable facet of aging for women, Davis says. Previous studies have suggested that testosterone may be an effective therapy for low sexual desire in women, but data on other impacts, such as mood, and on the optimal delivery method were limited. Unlike Viagra, it is not an acute treatment for overcoming physical difficulties and triggering in-the-moment arousal but rather a method of reinstating a desire for sex, Davis says.
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New Patient Appointment. Call Us: New Patient Appointment or You know that look. I have a headache. If this sounds familiar, and if lack of sex is putting a strain on your relationship, you may wonder if you have a low sex drive, also known as low libido. That may be what the ads say, but there is absolutely no data to indicate that low testosterone levels in women cause low sex drive.
Modest benefit has been shown from transdermal testosterone therapy given to postmenopausal women with reduced sexual desire. An increased frequency of satisfying sexual encounters and intensity of sexual desire and response has been shown in medically and psychiatrically healthy women able to have 2—3 satisfying sexual experiences each month before therapy commences. Women more clearly sexually dysfunctional in keeping with currently proposed definitions of sexual disorder have not been studied. Numerous factors are known to influence women's sexual desire with mood and feelings towards the partner showing the most robust associations. How to identify women whose low desire might stem from low testosterone activity remains unknown: neither serum levels of testosterone nor its metabolites correlate with desire or function.