Testosterone: Not Just for Men
Testosterone therapy has been a very popular topic in men’s health over the past decade, but not much attention has been given to testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) in women. With over 75 years of peer-reviewed medical literature from around the world, the evidence is overwhelming that TRT can improve quality of life in both men and women.
A paper published in 2013 in the European menopause journal Maturitas by breast cancer researcher Rebecca Glasser, MD, concluded that “abandoning myths and misconceptions and unfounded concerns about TRT in women will enable physicians to provide evidence-based recommendations and appropriate therapy.”
The top 10 misconceptions considered in the paper were the following: testosterone is a male hormone; testosterone’s only role in women is sex drive and libido; testosterone masculinizes women; testosterone causes hoarseness and voice changes; testosterone causes hair loss; testosterone has adverse effects on the heart; testosterone causes liver damage; testosterone causes aggression; testosterone may increase the risk of breast cancer; and the safety of testosterone use in women has not been established.
Dr. Glaser’s research indicates that there is no credible medical literature supporting the validity or concern with these myths. In every study over the past 50 years in which testosterone has been given to women, there has been significant benefit including an improved quality of life. It has also been stated that higher doses of testosterone are correlated with greater improvement of symptoms with no adverse side effects which patients may experience with other patented drug therapies.
In a study by Glaser in 2015, entitled Testosterone and Breast Cancer Prevention, the conclusion stated that there was a reduced incidence of breast cancer in women treated with testosterone, and a lack of recurrence with the disease as well. The study determined that testosterone played a strong role in the prevention of breast cancer and further concluded that “testosterone’s impact on overall health and quality of life, immune function, glycemic control, and prevention of inflammation further supported the role of testosterone in cancer prevention.” The only caveat was that higher levels of testosterone can cause higher levels of estradiol through a process in the body known as aromatization which can be managed using aromatization inhibitors.
Testosterone has been shown to have a positive effect on many systems and organs of the body including the heart, bones, brain, and breast tissue. Testosterone is also a vaso-dilator which means it increases blood flow to cellular tissue and organ systems throughout the body; increased blood flow means more oxygen, nutrients, and overall healing support to every area of our physiology.
An overall view of the medical literature suggests that testosterone is an integral part of women’s health and wellbeing as they age.
Gunther Mueller is an associate with Preventive Medicine Centers in Palm Springs and host of the weekly Vibrant Health Gurus Radio Show on KNews 94.3FM Radio Saturdays from 2pm-3pm. He can be reached at (760) 320.4292 or www.hormonedoc.com.
Sources: 1) www.hormonebalance.org; 2) Testosterone and Breast Cancer Prevention, Maturitas (2015) Http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.maturitas.2015.06.002; 3) Testosterone Therapy in Women: Myths and Misconceptions, Maturitas 74 (2013) 230-234 Http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.maturitas.2013.01.003; 4) Beneficial effects of Testosterone therapy in women measured by the validated Menopause Rating scale (MRS). Maturitas 2011 Apr;68(4):355-61. Epub 2010 Dec 21.