Women need testosterone. But how much? A new study helps women and their doctors strike the right balance.
Usually considered a “male” hormone, testosterone has been getting more and more attention for the vital role it plays in women’s health. Testosterone is key to sexual desire and satisfaction, bone and cardiovascular health and cognitive performance. Testosterone hormone replacement can be vital for women who are deficient, but too much testosterone leads to unwanted effects like hair growth, acne, deeper voice, liver damage and more.
A first-of-its kind study (attached) just released by the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) determines the proper dose of testosterone hormone replacement cream needed to restore normal testosterone levels in women. The study will be published in the January 2015 edition of the journal Menopause.
Doctors routinely prescribe testosterone hormone replacement for women both to improve sex drive and to mitigate the symptoms of menopause but the proper dose can be difficult to determine. Margerie Gass, executive director of NAMS points out that “American women sometimes rely on custom-compounded testosterone prescriptions that may raise women’s testosterone to levels higher than normal, potentially producing untoward side effects.”
This forthcoming study in the journal Menopause is the first to test an testosterone replacement cream (AndroFeme) developed by Australian doctors specifically for women to determine the exact dose required to bring testosterone levels back within the normal range.
The study demonstrates that a 5mg dose of the standardized 1% cream is sufficient to bring testosterone levels in post-menopausal women back into a premenopausal range while a 10mg dose of the same formulation raises a woman’s testosterone levels higher than the norm.
“Since custom-compounded formulations are not FDA approved and are not routinely checked for dose content, it is difficult to know how a given formulation will affect women’s testosterone levels. Women should be cautious about what dose of testosterone they are receiving and whether they really need it.” advises Dr. Gass.