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Testosterone for Women – How Important Is It?

Testosterone is generally considered a “male hormone”. Did you know that women produce testosterone in their ovaries? Although the levels of testosterone for women is only 10% of the level in men, it rapidly declines during menopause along with estrogen and progesterone. Some of the general effects of low testosterone in women are decreased sex drive (libido), decreased energy, decreased muscle mass and increased body fat.

Why is Testosterone for Women Necessary?

Testosterone in women has many important roles. It is important for bone strength and development of lean muscle mass and strength. Testosterone also contributes to overall sense of well-being and energy level. It is best known for its crucial role is a woman’s sex drive or libido. More specifically, testosterone for women is responsible for the sensitivity of a woman’s nipples and clitoris associated with sexual pleasure.
Testosterone not only significantly enhances the sexual mood of a woman, but the experience as well.

Although doctors have known that women produce testosterone, most mainstream physicians have believed that hormones like testosterone are not important for women. Only levels of the “female” hormones progesterone and estrogen were thought to have any significant bearing on a woman’s health and well being. Over the last decade, however, more and more evidence has been brought forth suggesting that testosterone is a very important hormone for women, especially in terms of staying fit, lean, and sexually active.

One of the most widely disseminated studies showing testosterone’s importance in maintaining a woman’s general well being and sexual functioning was published in 2000 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study examined the effects of transdermal testosterone patches on 75 women aged 31 to 56 years who had undergone a hysterectomy and bilateral oophorectomy (removal of both ovaries). Hysterectomies, with or without an oophorectomy, significantly decrease circulating levels of testosterone. Over three consecutive 12-week periods, the women were given placebo, 150-mcg testosterone patches, or 300-mcg testosterone patches. The un-equivocal result was that women who received 300-mcg patches showed significant improvement in sexual function, mood, and general well being.

Testosterone for Women and its Effects on Strength and Fitness

Besides its psychological and sexual effects, increaseing the levels of testosterone will help women maintain a healthy body composition.

While it is known that women begin to gain body fat 10 years before they experience menopause, and that many women gain weight when taking birth control pills, doctors often overlook the role that testosterone can play in helping to ameliorate this weight gain. This is likely because most doctors are uninformed about the use of testosterone replacement therapy in women. In addition, some early studies, now viewed as flawed, linked elevated testosterone levels in women with abdominal obesity (the patients involved had multiple hormonal imbalances that certainly contributed to their obesity). More recent scientific studies, such as one reported in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, have shown that obese women given low doses of synthetic analogues of testosterone (nandrolone) lost more body fat and subcutaneous abdominal fat, and gained more muscle mass, than women given a placebo. The study participants followed a low-calorie diet but did not change their exercise habits; after nine months, those women taking nandrolone had lost twice the body fat and gained six pounds of lean muscle mass compared to women in the placebo group.

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