Testosterone, a hormone usually associated with being male, can be used to treat reduced libido in menopausal women. Testosterone supplements restored libido in some premenopausal women whose surgically removed ovaries forced them into early menopause. Testosterone is normally produced in small amounts by the ovaries and adrenal glands in premenopausal women. But during menopause, the ovaries' production of hormones falls off -- and that includes testosterone output. Some researchers believe that this decrease in testosterone affects the menopausal woman's sex drive. Testosterone treatment has drawbacks women should consider testosterone as a last resort. There are few long-term studies of the use of testosterone in women, and the potential side effects include acne, unwanted facial hair, oily skin, depression, irritability and irreversible deepening of the voice. Testosterone in pill form has been associated with lowered HDL cholesterol (the good" cholesterol), and liver damage is also a potential side effect. Natural progesterone cream should be initially tried as that will frequently restore libido levels after several months.
Prevention (July 1997), Maturitas (April 1995)