June 19, 2024
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Testosterone: It’s Not Just for Men

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. If you have any followup concerns or questions, you can contact my office or your physician.

In previous articles, I have written about how testosterone can dramatically improve men’s health. For men with low testosterone, replacement can help improve energy and vitality and improve cardiac function. Men who take testosterone reduce their visceral fat, thereby reducing their risk of heart disease, and can even reverse diabetes mellitus. Mood is usually improved, with improved sexual function. Testosterone is associated with men. What is less known is that women can also greatly benefit from testosterone replacement. This article will explore the myriad ways that women can improve their health with testosterone.

During young adulthood, women produce testosterone, but this starts to decline around perimenopause, and testosterone production is near zero by menopause. One of the most obvious symptoms of testosterone loss is decreased desire. Desire is driven by testosterone and with its loss, that desire is not there. With testosterone replacement, that desire returns, which can be very conducive to healthy relationships. Dryness is a common problem after menopause and can cause painful relations. Testosterone helps with lubrication. This improves the dryness and reduces pain with relations.

Similar to men, testosterone reduces visceral fat and helps convert fat into muscle. Visceral fat is a source for increased inflammation throughout the body. This increased inflammation leads to metabolic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes mellitus and even cancer. By reducing visceral fat in women, testosterone can help prevent these diseases. Reducing visceral fat is a key factor in maintaining and improving one’s health. Testosterone is another piece in the puzzle for women to reduce visceral fat and improve health. This is confirmed by studies that show that higher levels of testosterone are associated with decreased risk of heart disease, and women who take testosterone reduce the risk of heart disease.

Osteoporosis can lead to hip fractures, which is a leading cause of disability and even death of older women. It is known that estrogen significantly reduces the risk of hip fracture. Testosterone enhances the effects of estrogen on bone growth. This was verified in a study that showed testosterone with estrogen led to increased bone growth compared to estrogen alone.

Exercise is a challenge as we get older. That is because we lose muscle mass and our joints become arthritic. By increasing muscle mass, testosterone improves women’s ability to work out. Increased muscle mass makes working out more effective and easier to tolerate. Increasing your muscle strength with testosterone helps reduce the strain on arthritic joints, which reduces arthritic joint pain and enhances your ability to work out. Thus, testosterone for women can be a key component for an effective fitness program.

Another benefit is that testosterone helps reduce the risk of breast cancer. Testosterone can play a role with both primary and secondary prevention. Primary prevention is reducing the risk of breast cancer in women with no history of cancer. Secondary prevention is reducing the risk of recurrence for those women who have had breast cancer. Tumor prevention occurs because of reduced breast tissue proliferation (formation and growth of breast tissue), which is one of the mechanisms that enables tumors to develop. Women who survive breast cancer often suffer from treatments that block the effects of estrogen. Testosterone has effects that enhance well-being, which can mitigate the side effects of those treatments. At the same time that women are reducing their rate of breast cancer recurrence, taking testosterone helps them feel better with more energy.

Testosterone has positive effects on general well-being and mood. For many women, depression and/or anxiety start during menopause. The loss of testosterone is a contributory factor and replacement results in improvement. Lack of energy is one of the factors that most negatively affects the quality of life for many menopausal women. The energy boost from testosterone plays a role in restoring quality of life.

A typical dose for women starting testosterone is 5 mg daily applied as a cream. To put this in perspective, men may take a dose from 50 mg twice daily or higher. While a woman’s dose is relatively small, women’s testosterone receptors are more sensitive, so the small dose has significant effects. A man might not notice any effects by applying a 5 mg dose but a woman will get great benefit. Androgenic side effects such as acne or hair loss may occur but are fairly uncommon at these low doses. Fortunately, these side effects are treatable, so women can still get the great benefits from testosterone.

To summarize, women can greatly benefit from testosterone replacement after menopause. Some of those benefits include improved quality of life, increased energy, improved mood, increased libido with improved sexual function and reduced fatigue. In addition, there are overall benefits to health with reduced heart disease, decreased visceral fat, improved bone health, increased muscle mass with better exercise and reduced risk of breast cancer, and for breast cancer survivors, reduced risk of breast cancer recurrence.


Dr. Slaten is a wellness physician specializing in regenerative pain treatments and lifestyle counseling. He is certified in advanced bioidentical hormone replacement. You can learn more at his website: www.hormonesnj.com.

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