Testosterone for Women | Superdrug Online Doctor (2023)

What is testosterone?

Testosterone is a type of hormone called an ‘androgen’, which is a ‘male’ sex hormone, that is produced by everyone. Testosterone is important for both men and women and is associated with sex drive, bone and muscle mass, and red cell production.

In women, testosterone is mainly produced in the ovaries; in men, it’s mainly produced in the testes. Women have far less testosterone than men, but it still plays a vital role in maintaining good health. How much testosterone your body makes changes throughout your life, with most people starting to produce more at puberty and less as they age.

For growing men, testosterone plays a role in growth and development, causing things like getting a deeper voice or facial hair. In women, testosterone acts differently and is converted to oestrogen, but it is still responsible for helping you develop. If women have too much testosterone or not enough, it can lead to uncomfortable side effects and physical changes.

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What does testosterone do for women?

Testosterone is an essential hormone that can affect your sex life and reproductive health. It’s also required to help your body develop new cells.

For women, testosterone plays an important part in:

  • Bone density
  • Muscle health
  • Sex drive
  • Cognitive function (a healthy brain)
  • Mood
  • Energy levels

It’s important to have the right level of testosterone, as imbalances can lead to issues with your health.

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Benefits of testosterone therapy for women

Testosterone therapy in women is currently used if you're either perimenopausal or postmenopausaland have problems with your sex drive. Getting testosterone treatment can potentially improve your general health, boost your libido and lead to a more fulfilling sex life. Studies have shown that testosterone treatment improves sexual desire, pleasure, arousal, and orgasm in postmenopausal women.

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Do I need testosterone treatment?

If you are either perimenopausal or postmenopausaland experiencing a reduced sex drive, you might want to speak to your doctor about starting testosterone. We can provide testosterone therapy, but you will need to take a test to make sure it’s safe and suitable for you beforehand.

We can provide testosterone treatment to improve your sex drive if you:

  • are a woman
  • are over 40 years old
  • are either perimenopausal or postmenopausal, which means you’ve not had a period for 12 months in a row
  • are currently using a Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) gel or patch, and have done so for at least 3 months
  • have a low sex drive not caused by other factors

Hypoactive sexual desire disorder

Women can develop hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), which is also known as sexual interest arousal disorder (SIAD). This is a fairly common sexual health problem, occurring in 1 in 10 women. Its symptoms include a lack of desire or activity, but it can also cause depression, fatigue and a reduced sense of self-confidence and self-worth.

It’s currently not certain what causes HSDD, but it is thought that testosterone levels do play a part.

Do I need to take testosterone if my levels are low?

If you have low testosterone, you don't always need medication to boost your levels. It's normal for women's testosterone levels to decline as they get older, and having lower levels may not cause uncomfortable symptoms.

If you're not getting symptoms that are affecting you, you may not want to seek treatment. In summary, you don’t need to take testosterone treatment if your levels are low. But if you’re having problems with your sex life, and you want to start treatment, we can help.

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What testosterone treatments are available for women?

Low testosterone treatments (testosterone replacement therapy) for women are available as:

  • Gels
  • Creams
  • Implants (these are not available in the UK)

These are the same treatments provided to men, but they are usually in lower doses as women do not need as much testosterone as men when having testosterone replacement therapy to get results.

Superdrug online doctor can provide:

  • Testogel 2%

Testogel arrives in 3 sachets, lasting for a total of approximately 24 days.You need to apply about an eighth of a sachet every time you use the treatment. The NHS recommends this as a treatment for improving libido in women going through menopause who are experiencing lower testosterone levels.

This treatment is safe for use in women, but it is considered ‘off label’. This means the medication was originally licensed for something else, but it can also be suitable for treating testosterone levels if the doctor recommends it and it’s right for you.

Applying your treatment

  1. Apply a small amount to a patch of dry, clean skin every day or every other day. You should try to choose an area that doesn’t have much body hair, like your stomach or the top part of your thigh. Try to change where you apply treatment each time you do it without repeating using the same space.
  2. Let your skin dry and ensure it’s covered with clothes. Avoid showering or bathing for at least 3 hours after applying it.
  3. Wash any remaining treatment off your hands after application.

How long does testosterone treatment take to work

Testosterone doesn’t start working immediately, and it will take some time before you notice the full effects of the treatment.

It can take up to 12 weeks before your symptoms improve, and doctors will recommend persisting with treatment for up to 6 months to make sure it’s working. If you’re still not experiencing any positive effects of treatment by this time, they may want to reevaluate your treatment plan.

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Side effects of testosterone treatment for women

Testosterone treatment side effects are unlikely, but some women do experience them. Most of the time, they are not severe enough to warrant stopping your medication. Side effects can happen when you take any medication, but if they’re unmanageable or not going away, you should speak to your doctor.

Possible testosterone side effects:

  • unwanted hair growth
  • acne
  • hair loss on the front area of your head
  • a deeper voice
  • weight gain
  • clitoris becoming larger

If you get any of these side effects, you should speak to your doctor. You may get side effects and find they go away after your body gets used to the treatment. It’s essential to make sure your treatment is right for you and that if you are experiencing side effects, they are manageable and not affecting your quality of life.

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Testosterone interactions & cautions

Testosterone treatment may not be right for everyone, and it can be affected by or interact with other medications or conditions.

You should not start taking testosterone:

  • During pregnancy or breastfeeding
  • If you have active liver disease
  • If you have a history of hormone-sensitive breast cancer
  • Are a competitive athlete – care must be taken to maintain levels well within the female physiological range
  • Are a women with upper normal or high baseline testosterone levels / FAI

Testosterone treatment doesn’t work for everyone, and the symptoms of low testosterone, like reduced libido, can be caused by many different things other than your testosterone levels. If there are other factors affecting your sex life beyond your testosterone levels, you should speak to your doctor, as resolving these issues may be a faster way to boost your libido.

If testosterone treatment is working for you and improving your symptoms, your doctor will monitor you to ensure it continues to be safe and suitable for you. You will need to continue to have testosterone tests to check you’re getting the right amount and not too much. Too much testosterone can have a negative impact on your health.

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