Testosterone and Menopause: What Are My Options?
Bring back that lovin’ feelin’
Whoa, that lovin’ feelin’
Bring back that lovin’ feelin’
‘Cause it’s gone, gone, gone
Perhaps this is how you feel since menopause has zapped everything from you. Maybe you’re tired, fighting brain fog, and dealing with night sweats. It’s no wonder you aren’t feeling that certain spark. In the long run, it may be taking a toll on your self-esteem and marriage, too.
What’s even more frustrating is that you’re likely using hormone replacement therapy (HRT), yet it doesn’t seem to be doing the trick. Yes, it’s helping with hot flashes and vaginal dryness, but you’re still missing that zest, the pizzazz that goes along with testosterone.
Women have testosterone, too. It’s produced by the adrenal glands and ovaries, so once menopause arrives you can lose a significant amount of testosterone. Besides playing a role in your desire for intimacy, it can also help with your energy level and sense of well-being.
Supplementing with Testosterone
Unfortunately, it can be challenging to find testosterone for women. Currently, there are no testosterone products approved by the FDA for women. Some doctors will recommend visiting a compounding pharmacyto have a supplement made specifically for you. Others will prescribe male testosterone off-label and recommend it be used in a much lower dose.
More is not better when it comes to testosterone, especially in women. Too much testosterone can create some unpleasant side effects. Your voice can deepen or you may experience hoarseness. You can develop acne and oily skin. Your breasts may shrink. Hair can grow on your face and back, while at the same time you can develop male pattern baldness. It can make you more aggressive. Your good cholesterol level may drop, putting you at increased risk for heart disease. It can also negatively impact your weight, which also puts you at risk for heart disease.
If using testosterone is not an option for you, talk to your doctor instead of self-medicating. It’s not a good idea to use over-the-counter supplements marketed to men. Other supplements may create new problems without resolving the initial issues.
As there are a lot reasons for symptoms similar to low testosterone, you may be able to treat them with alternative means. For example, fatigue, stress, and mood issues are common menopause symptoms. Adjusting your HRT may help reduce those symptoms. Lifestyle changes, a better diet, and regular exercisecan also improve those symptoms. If you have any chronic health issues, treating those are helpful, too. If you feel better, your desire for intimacy can improve, too. You can also find ways to be intimate outside the bedroom which can increase your desire for sexual intercourse.
Talk to Your Doctor
Keeping a symptom diary that you can share with your doctor can help the two of you decide on the best course of action. Your doctor may have additional suggestions and can go over your health history and medications to see if there are any other reasons causing or contributing to your symptoms. If your gynecologist isn’t helpful, talk to your general practitioner.
This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support. Reprinted with permission: Testosterone and Menopause: What Are My Options?