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Keywords:

  • Androgens;
  • Testosterone Replacement Therapy;
  • Menopause;
  • Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder

ABSTRACT

Introduction.  Testosterone replacement therapy in naturally and surgically menopausal women is a complex and currently highly debated topic. Opposing guidelines for the use of testosterone exist, which create a therapeutic dilemma for clinicians confronted by severely distressed women who experience a decrease in sexual desire after surgical or natural menopause.

Aim.  In this review, we will address the current knowledge on androgen physiology, conditions associated with a low androgen state, and risks and benefits of androgen therapy.

Methods.  An English-language Medline review was performed.

Main Outcome Measure.  Review of available literature.

Results.  A review of normal androgen physiology in women is summarized and a brief review of prior use of androgens over the last six decades is included. The data on the use of androgen replacement in pre- and postmenopausal women is evaluated, especially its relationship to sexual functioning. Special concerns about the effect of androgens on cardiovascular disease, breast, and endometrial tissue are discussed. The balance of evidence seems to show that androgens have more of a positive effect than a negative effect in women if used properly.

Conclusions.  Testosterone replacement therapy for surgically and naturally menopausal women with low sexual desire can be accomplished physiologically and effectively after ruling out other medical conditions leading to low sexual desire and after proper information of the patient that testosterone therapy is not an FDA-approved medication in the United States. The majority of available data suggests that testosterone replacement in women can be used safely without increased risk of endometrial or breast cancer. Panzer C, and Guay A. Testosterone replacement therapy in naturally and surgically menopausal women. J Sex Med 2009;6:8–18.