July 6, 2005
Sex Hormone Levels not Linked to Libido in WomenTopics: Medical Science News
According to a new Australian study, no sex hormone level was found to be predictive of low sexual function in women. The study addressed the hypothesis that low androgen, or sex hormone, levels could distinguish women with low sexual desire and satisfaction from others.
However, the results of the study indicate that evidence to support the theory is lacking. The researchers concluded that their findings demonstrate testosterone measurements are not useful in the diagnosis of female androgen insufficiency syndrome and there is not a diagnostically useful role for DHEAS measurements.
Does their finding exclude a role for testosterone therapy for women with low libido, as in the case of post-menopausal women? Absolutely not.
The study included 1,423 women between ages 18 and 75. They were surveyed and serum levels of testosterone, androstenedione (an androgenic steroid), and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS, a natural steroid hormone) were measured. No evidence of a link between low scores for sexual function and low serum testosterone levels was found. Although the researchers did find an increased likelihood that women with low sexual function have a low DHEAS level, the majority of women with a low DHEAS level did not report low sexual function.
Researchers concluded that their findings demonstrate testosterone measurements are not useful in the diagnosis of female androgen insufficiency syndrome and there is not a diagnostically useful role for DHEAS measurements.
Source - Ivanhoe
However, the Australian study speaks more to the validity of measurements of androgen levels as indicators of low libido than it does to therapy for low libido.
In "Testosterone therapy in women: a review (May 2005)," we find that "Most clinical trials in postmenopausal women with loss of libido have demonstrated that the addition of testosterone to estrogen significantly improved multiple facets of sexual functioning including libido and sexual desire, arousal, frequency and satisfaction."
So the message here is that based on the evidence of current studies, it is reasonable to consider testosterone therapy for a symptomatic androgen-deficient woman with "Women's Sexual Interest and Desire Disorder," but that you can't count on measurements of androgen levels as being useful in the diagnosis.
cross posted at Hyscience
Posted by Richard at July 6, 2005 1:58 PM
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