Women with a decreased sex drive or decreased libido now have treatments that can restore their interest and enthusiasm for sexual intimacy. Options include testosterone, yes the hormone produced in the testicles of men, but also produced in small amounts in women and is responsible for a women’s sex drive. Testosterone is available in pills, lozenges, patches, gels injections, and small rice-sized pellets inserted underneath the skin. Although there are advantages and disadvantages to each, most gynecologists and urologists will not prescribe pills, which can increase the risk of liver toxicity and lower levels of HDL (the “good” cholesterol).
A slightly “milder” alternative to testosterone is DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone). This steroid hormone is converted to testosterone. Supplementary DHEA, which is available in pill or cream form, increases testosterone levels by one-and-a-half to two times. So it’s not surprising that DHEA provides many of the same therapeutic benefits, including increased sexual interest and enhanced physical and mental satisfaction.
If you think you might be a candidate for testosterone therapy, here’s what to do:
Have your testosterone, DHEA and estrogen levels measured. Normal concentrations of testosterone range from between 25 and 100 nanograms per milliliter of blood.
Eat a well-balanced diet to stabilize your hormones Fiber and foods rich in minerals, such as potassium and magnesium can help balance hormones. Tofu, tempeh and other soy products are excellent sources of phytoestrogens, plant compounds that behave like mild estrogens in the body, helping relieve menopausal symptoms. Other sources of phytoestrogens include apples, alfalfa, cherries, potatoes, rice, wheat and yams. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables will also help maintain optimal health as you transition into menopause.
If you begin androgen therapy, be sure to report any side effects, such as acne, deepening of your voice, go to your doctor so he or she can monitor your progress and decrease your dosage as necessary.
Bottom Line: Although it is not for everyone, emerging research may reveal androgen to be one of the most promising therapies available to menopausal women. Sexuality and vitality need not be passing pleasures of youth.
This was modified from “Testosterone: A Major Breakthrough for Menopausal Women”. This article appeared in Fit & Health and can be accessed at: http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/women/menopause/testosterone-major-breakthrough-for-menopausal-women5.htm