When you hear the term “testosterone therapy,” you likely think of men and a phenomenon sometimes called “low T.” It might surprise you to learn, however, that testosterone therapy can be beneficial for women, too. There are many misconceptions about testosterone as it relates to men and women, especially around risks, benefits, and the role it plays in women’s health. Here, we’ll debunk a few common myths about testosterone therapy and women, as well as discuss how our knowledgeable providers at Hybrid Medical Solution can help.
In Western society, testosterone has been uniquely linked to men in much the same way that estrogen has been linked to women. This is partly due to the medical community often referring to testosterone as the “male hormone.” For many people, it’s not uncommon to think that men only have testosterone and women only have estrogen. The reality is that hormones, especially those linked to reproductive health, are much more complex. Both men and women need testosterone and estrogen for different purposes.
Both men and women have dedicated estrogen receptors and androgen (testosterone) receptors. Although it’s true that testosterone occurs in higher amounts in men and estrogen is more plentiful in women, testosterone is actually the most biologically active hormone in women1. Similarly, estrogen is needed to balance testosterone in both men and women.
Testosterone has similarly been tied to libido and sexual function in Western society. For many men, higher amounts of testosterone lead to higher sex drive while lower amounts of testosterone lead to a reduction or loss of sex drive. This is typically because of the role it plays in the male reproductive system, leading many people to think that testosterone would play a similar role in women. However, there are actually many health benefits for women that are not tied to libido.
Testosterone can improve sexual function in women but it also has many other benefits. In fact, androgen receptors are located in almost all areas of the female body including the heart, brain, endocrine glands, bones, muscles, and more. Women who undergo menopause may not only experience symptoms of low estrogen, but of low testosterone, including mood disorders, fatigue, and overall lack of well-being. This means testosterone replacement may actually be as beneficial for menopausal women as estrogen replacement.
It’s widely known that men have higher rates of heart disease than women. However, this myth likely comes from the idea that, because men have higher levels of testosterone, testosterone plays a role in heart disease. However, it has been established that testosterone can actually play a protective role when it comes to cardiovascular disease.
Low levels of testosterone are actually associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease in men1. Conversely, testosterone therapy has been shown to increase functional capacity, insulin resistance, and muscle strength in women with certain types of heart disease1. This means that testosterone may actually be beneficial for women at risk for cardiovascular disease.
Testosterone therapy for women may seem like a new and untested therapy. In recent years, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has seen a surge in popularity, leading many people to think it’s a new treatment option. In fact, hormone therapy (and specifically testosterone therapy for women) has been in use for almost a century.
Testosterone therapy was used in women as early as 1938. In fact, long-term data including follow-up studies exists showing that there was no reported increase in mortality, vascular disease, breast cancer, or other major health concerns. Testosterone therapy for women has actually been safely established for a very long time.
At Hybrid Medical Solution, we offer bio-identical hormone replacement therapy in a variety of forms. During a consultation with our knowledgeable providers, you can learn more about how HRT can help relieve symptoms and improve your overall health. Contact our Boca Raton, FL office by calling or filling out our online form.