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In this article I will outline the benefits for testosterone use in women for increasing libido, mood, energy, skin quality, and body composition.
Testosterone is vital for women to preserve their lean mass and to prevent obesity. Not only will testosterone help mobilize body fat and negate some of the fat storing effects of estrogen, it is also extremely effective in building lean mass in women – even at small doses. Hormone replacement therapy that only includes estrogen and progesterone but leaves out testosterone is a curse of many a women’s fat loss program. This is not only a concern for postmenopausal women. Young women should think twice about using birth control pills. Birth control pills elevate estrogen and progesterone levels while drastically lowering testosterone levels. This is reason why many women experience large gains in fat as well as a decreased libido when using birth control pills.
Energy, Mood, and Libido
Far from being the cause of irritability and “roid rage” as widely believed, I have found that restoring testosterone levels to normal can tremendously improve energy levels and mood in women. Estrogen is sometimes believed to be energizing, but most women do not feel much ofan “energizing effect” from estrogen. Natural progesterone can have a calming, relaxing effect on women, but the nasty synthetic and potent progestins like Provera (medroxyprogesterone acetate) or the more potent, nornorethindrone can actually cause irritability, aggressiveness, and even acne.
Libido is one area of use for testosterone in women that is starting to gain larger acceptability. One pharmaceutical company (Unimed) is close to getting a testosterone gel for women approved for use as a libido enhancing drug. While the thought of horny postmenopausal women may cause you to snicker, I believe that libido is a serious medical issue. The infamous study on sexual dysfunction funded by the Ford Foundation and the U.S. National Institute of Health showed that low interest in sex was the number one cause of sexual dysfunction in women (Laumann, et al, 1999, JAMA , Feb., 10, 199, Vol 281. No 6:pp537-544). Restoring a healthy libido in women can help bring back the spice in marriages, relationships, relieve stress and depression, and even improve body composition through increased sexual interest and activity. Testosterone is the primordial hormone for promoting both a sexy body and a bette rsex life.
While traditional “female” hormones progesterone and estrogen may have a role in preventing heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and osteoporosis, testosterone replacement therapy in the near future will have a much larger effect on women’s lives. In fact testosterone replacement therapy may soon become more widely practiced by women than men.
Testosterone and other androgens may have a critical role treating some types of female obesity-the estrogen dominant type. Precious little research has been done in this controversial area, but it is obvious that a major reason why women have more difficulty losingfat than men is due to their lower levels of testosterone. Since testosterone can not only help mobilize fat but also build muscle, women can attain higher resting metabolic rates. This is in stark comparison to most diet drugs that result in loss of muscle and usually the return of lost body fat once drug use is ceased. While androgens will obviously have some side effects in women, hence the controversy, however these side effects are likely less than the often life threatening effects of Phen-Fen and other diet drugs. Testosterone as a treatment for obesityis probably much safer and actually more effective in the long term than liposuction. I really hope more research is done in this area, as I believe androgens are crucial in the war against the rapidly evolving plague of obesity in this country.
About the Authors
Karlis Ullis, MD, is the Medical Director of the Sports Medicine and Anti-Aging Medical Group in Santa Monica, California and a faculty member of the UCLA School of Medicine. Dr. Ullis has recently completed two books published by Simon & Schuster: Age Right : Turn Back the Clock With a Proven, Personalized Antiaging Program and Super-“T”, The Complete Guide to Creating an Effective, Safe, and Natural Testosterone Enhancement Program for Men and Women (Fireside Division of Simon & Schuster)Josh Shackman, M.A., is the Research Administrative Director at the Sports Medicine and Anti-Aging Medical Group and a co-author of Super-“T”, The Complete Guide to Creating an Effective, Safe, and Natural Testosterone Enhancement Program for Men and Women.