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Testosterone for Women - Statement Released

A Global Position Statement on the prescription of Testosterone for women was released on 2nd September 2019.

The International Menopause Society (IMS) brought together an international task force of experts from leading medical societies to attempt to shed some light on the use of Testosterone as a therapy for women. These experts reviewed a load of data and studies that tested uses of Testosterone. Then they drafted a Global Position Statement which has been endorsed by a long list of professional groups worldwide - one of them is RANZCOG, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gyneacologists.

The point is, actual experts collected all the reliable data they could find.

We now have a consensus on what is and is not a good use of testosterone for women. Which is a damn sight better than what we've had for the last couple of decades, which has been random use of products designed for men being used on women with a best-guess dosage, and with little certainty over possible benefits or risks.

The concluded that Testosterone is a suitable treatment for Hypoactive Sexual Desire Dysfunction (HSDD) in post-menopausal women. (Hypoactive means lowered.) It's not a useful treatment for any other symptoms, and the dosage is safe when it results in women having testosterone levels equivalent to premenopausal women, no higher.

They are talking about injected or transcutaneous (eg patches) treatments. Taking Testosterone by mouth has side effects and is not recommended.

Notice that this refers specifically to post-menopausal women, not to women going through the potentially rough years leading up to menopause. The statement specifically says:

"There are insufficient data to make any recommendations regarding the use of testosterone in pre-menopausal women for treatment of sexual function or any other outcome."

So what is a good use of testosterone? Individual dosage based on testing your testosterone levels while you are taking it. And only taking it for clinically diagnosed Hypoactive Sexual Desire Dysfunction after menopause. They're very sure it's not for any and every sexual issue!

"It was considered of utmost importance that the diagnosis of HSDD involves a full clinical assessment and that other factors contributing to FSD must be identified and addressed before testosterone therapy is initiated"

(FSD is Female Sexual Dysfunction, which is a broad category. HSDD is one of many types of FSD. They specifically state that diagnosis of HSDD should NOT be based on testing testosterone levels.)

Other conclusions by the experts include:

  • At the recommended dosages, data supports that testosterone is safe to use. Women with high-risk health conditions were not included in available studies, and studies only covered periods up to 2 years of therapy. So the recommendation is that it is safe for healthy women for short-term use.

  • There is not enough data to support use of testosterone for any other symptom or condition. In some cases this is due to a lack of data, but often the condition had been studied and no useful effect was found.

  • Conditions that were reviewed and found NOT treatable by testosterone therapy included osteoporosis, body fat, muscle strength, general wellbeing and depressed mood.

  • There wasn't enough data to support use of testosterone for cognitive improvement.

  • Appropriate dosage of testosterone will not cause alopecia, clitoro-megaly or voice change. (It may cause mild increases in acne or body hair.)

Not surprisingly, the expert panel also came to the conclusion that there is a pressing need for more research, and for the development of Testosterone products designed for women, so that we can stop trying to get an appropriate dosage from products designed for men.

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