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Low Sex Drive? - Is Testosterone Therapy the Answer?

patricemcdowell contributor

Testosterone is the male hormone but some research has proven that an increase in testosterone in women can boost a low sex drive, others say it doesn’t. Will it make me grow hair, have a lower voice…essentially will I become a man? Here is what we found when diving into the controversial treatment. [Disclaimer: Goodfeed does not advocate for Testosterone Therapy, this is simply information gathering for our readers.]

According to the Mayo Clinic Research, data shows that the hormone testosterone may improve sexual function in specific groups of women, but data on safety and effectiveness are limited.

Testosterone therapy might be appropriate if:

  • You have reduced sex drive, depression and fatigue after surgically induced menopause, and estrogen therapy hasn't relieved your symptoms

  • You are postmenopausal, taking estrogen therapy and have a decreased sex drive with no other identifiable causes. There is growing evidence to support the use of physiologic doses of testosterone for sexual function, osteoporosis prevention, brain protection, and breast protection. The safety of testosterone use in women has been evaluated for the past 80 years. (source: NBCI)

The Endocrine Society stated in 2019 that while trying testosterone therapy is generally safe for post-menopausal women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) – not wanting sex and not being OK with feeling that way – they do not support low-T therapy for other female health conditions. Side effects from testosterone therapy in women can include:

  • Deepening of voice

  • Enlargement of clitoris

  • Excessive body hair

  • Increased acne

  • Abnormal fetal development during pregnancy

There are different forms of testosterone therapy.

Only some doctors will prescribe testosterone for low sex drive in women. They inject it into a muscle or insert a small pellet containing the hormone under the skin. There are also testosterone pills, skin patches, gels, creams, sprays, and drops you put under your tongue. Testosterone therapy for women for low sex drive is not FDA-approved, so doctors use it “off-label,” which means it is not intended for the purpose. No over-the-counter preparation contains testosterone, which is a controlled substance. OTC supplements are unregulated and are unproven to even contain testosterone so are not recommended.

The long-term safety of testosterone therapy for women also is unknown. Given the limited research on effectiveness and safety and the number of potential serious side effects, testosterone isn't a common treatment for sexual dysfunction.

We always recommend speaking to a medical professional when seeking health advice.

Sources: Mayo Clinic, ISSM, Health Grades