Testosterone May Help Ladies, Too

After taking testosterone hysterectomized women had better sex drive and physical strength

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Testosterone may help post-menopausal women enjoy a bit of a boost in the bedroom and the gym. After a hysterectomy, this hormone may be a useful tool for rejuvenation.

A recent study tested the use of different doses of testosterone on a group of post-menopausal women that had undergone a hysterectomy and also had low levels of testosterone.

The results of the study showed that as doses of testosterone increased the greater the improvements women experienced in sexual function, lean body mass, and muscle strength and power.

"Talk to your gynecologist about your hormonal balance."

Grace Huang, MD, from Boston University School of Medicine and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, led a team to investigate the use of testosterone in post-menopausal women that had undergone a hysterectomy.

After a woman has her uterus removed, known as a hysterectomy, she may experience physical and sexual changes.

For this study, the researchers tested testosterone therapy on 71 women that had undergone a hysterectomy — either with or without the removal of both ovaries.

All of the women recruited into the study had testosterone levels below 31 ng/dL, or free testosterone levels below 3.5 pg/mL. All of the participants were given estradiol patches for 12 weeks and then randomly split into one of five groups.

Group one was given a fake dose, or placebo, and the other groups were assigned to 24 weeks of one of four doses of testosterone: 3 mg, 6.25 mg, 12.5 mg, or 25 mg.

After 24 weeks, the women were asked about changes in sexual function, and tested for blood levels of testosterone, lean body mass, fat mass, muscle strength and power.

On average, testosterone levels were 19 ng/dL in the placebo group, 78 ng/dL in the 3 mg group, 102 ng/dL in the 6.25 mg group, 128 ng/dL in the 12.5 mg group, and 210 ng/dL in the 25 mg group.

Compared with the placebo group, women in the 3 mg, 6.25 mg, and 12.5 mg groups all reported higher sexual function and desire. The greatest boost in sexual function was found among women in the 25 mg group, who reported an increase of 2.7 sexual encounters per week from the start of the study.

“A primary concern with testosterone therapy is that it can cause symptoms of masculinization among women. These symptoms include unwanted hair growth, acne, and lower voice tone. It’s important to note that very few of these side effects were seen in our study,” Dr. Huang said in a press release.

No changes were found in fat mass among all testosterone dose groups. Although, lean body mass, and muscle strength and power improved in all of the testosterone groups, but more improvements were found in the women taking higher doses — especially the 25 mg dose of testosterone.

No changes were found in metabolic measures (blood pressure, cholesterol, and fasting glucose) among women taking testosterone at any dose. The researchers suggested that taking testosterone did not increase the risk of developing a heart condition based on the lack of changes in the metabolic measures.

The study authors recommended further studies to determine the safety of testosterone use in women after undergoing a hysterectomy.

This study was published in November in Menopause.

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute on Aging helped support funding for this study. Dr. Bhasin reported a financial relationship with Abbott Pharmaceuticals, Eli Lilly and Co., Regeneron, and Merck. No other financial conflicts of interest were declared.

Review Date: 
November 29, 2013
Last Updated:
December 31, 2013