Testosterone is most commonly thought of as a male hormone, but it plays an important role in women's' health too. In women, testosterone is produced in the ovaries and adrenal glands. A woman's testosterone is highest around age 20 and slowly declines till it is half as high in her 40's.
Testosterone may be best known for its critical role in female libido. Studies have shown that treatment with testosterone cream can significantly improve libido and sexual satisfaction in women. Testosterone is not just a male hormone and is important for sexual desire in both sexes. In women, a major cause of suppressed testosterone levels is the use of birth control pills.
Another common cause of low libido is low thyroid. Studies show that even slightly reduced thyroid levels, even considered still in the "normal" range can dramatically decrease libido in women as well as causing fatigue, weight gain and depression. The problem is that this almost always goes undetected by standard blood tests based on the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), which is used as a simple method by most physicians to test thyroid levels.
The hormone imbalances that occur during perimenopause and menopause are among the main causes of low libido in women. Too much or too little estrogen and/or progesterone can lead to thinning of the vaginal walls and dryness of the vagina which, in turn, can cause painful intercourse. Mood swings, weight gain and fatigue related to declining hormone levels also effect the sex drive and sexual function.
There are treatments available to boost your libido and sexual satisfaction, bot prescription and natural.
1. Pitocin, a hormone that peaks at orgasm and can stimulate libido, climax, sense of closeness and bonding. It is active in both sexes and helps stimulate pleasurable sexual interactions between males and females and is also involved in and social interactions between family and friends. It can be prescribed by a physician and can be made into a nasal spray to be used before intercourse. It can also be effectively used on a daily basis for anxiety and depression and to counteract the loss of libido associated with antidepressant use.
2. Testosterone supplementation to more youthful levels can dramatically increase libido, sense of well-being, energy and quality-of-life. A knowledgeable physician can test the total and free (active) testosterone levels in the blood and prescribe appropriate replacement.
3. Studies show that even slightly reduced thyroid levels, even considered still in the "normal" range can dramatically decrease libido in women as well as causing fatigue, weight gain and depression. The problem is that this almost always goes undetected by standard blood tests based on the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), which is used as a simple method by most physicians to test thyroid levels. People need to find a doctor that uses the more sophisticated method of testing that includes the freeT3/reverse T3 ratio.
4. For menopausal women, the use of bioidentical hormones therapy, (hormones that are exact copies of hormones naturally produced by the body), can be very effective at returning the vigor and sex drive of youth. Estrogen, progesterone and testosterone replacement therapy can all play an important role in maintaining and increasing sexual desire. Testosterone is crucial to the female sex drive. Testosterone stimulates the brain to produce chemicals which create sexual desire. Sexual desire and arousal, in addition to vaginal lubrication, sexual satisfaction and orgasm are related to testosterone levels
5. Amino acids such as L-arginine can boost nitric oxide, a compound that works to relax blood vessels and allow more blood to flow through arteries and this of course includes to the sexual organs. Supplementation can improve sexual satisfaction in women. Gingko may also be of some, although mild, benefit, as well.
6. Viagra/Cialis/Levitra. We have all been inundated with the commercials for these products to treat male erectile dysfunction. These medications can effectively improve the cascade of arousal in women and can increase libido and sexual satisfaction for about 30% of women and also can help women suffering from sexual dysfunction due to use of antidepressants.
There are several health benefits of having a healthy libido. Basically, sex protects our health. Studies have shown that men that have a higher frequency of sexual intercourse have a 50% decrease in risk of cardiovascular disease. That's dramatic! Also, studies have found similar results in women, but looked at frequency of sexual intercourse and orgasms together. So they looked and quality and quantity. For both men and women, it's very important to our health.
Oxytocin is a hormone that is released by the brain during sexual activity, especially during orgasm and is referred to as the 'love' hormone or 'bonding' hormone. It has several health benefits which include enhancing mood, lowering cortisol levels, and lowering blood pressure. It causes dilation of blood vessels and improves blood flow throughout the body and the brain and improves overall health of your organs. It's also shown to protect against several hormonal-mediated cancers.
Traditional physicians may have dismissed your symptoms as things that "you just have to live with" or may have tried treating the symptoms without looking for the cause. At Holtorf Medical Group, we understand your frustration and we have solutions that have worked for thousands of women. Our physicians have specialized training in women's health and know that much of what you are experiencing may be related to changes in hormone levels as you get older. Through our detailed health questionnaire, history, and review of specific lab tests, we can determine the underlying factors that may be leading to your symptoms and create a customized, integrative plan to get you back on track.
For more information, please visit: Holtorf Medical Group.