Many women notice that their sex drive starts to decline over time, particularly after menopause. In some cases, this may be due to lower testosterone levels. Testosterone is an important hormone in your body that plays a key role in libido. Some studies suggest that testosterone replacement therapy may help women improve low sex drive due to testosterone deficiency.
As we age, sex hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone start to decline. Testosterone is mostly made in your ovaries, though your adrenal glands, fat cells, and skin cells may also produce some testosterone. While women produce a lot less testosterone compared to men (about 1/10 to 1/20 the amount), low testosterone levels for women can still impact your health and your sex life.
While we commonly think of testosterone as a male hormone, women also need testosterone for many reasons. Testosterone is necessary for producing red blood cells, maintaining bone density, and also plays an important role in sex drive. When it comes to libido, the hormone testosterone can act on our brains to increase sexual thoughts and desires. It can also increase blood flow to the genitals to enhance sensitivity in the vagina and clitoris. This may also affect libido as well as sexual satisfaction.
However, testosterone levels begin to decline as we age, particularly as we reach the perimenopause state in the late 30s and 40s. During this time, the ovaries start to slow down hormone production for testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone. This can cause hormone levels to fluctuate and gradually decline leading up to menopause. With lower testosterone levels in your body, you might experience symptoms like low libido. Researchers have found a connection between low testosterone in women and lower sex drive. Studies have even found that women with low testosterone may have less sex on average than those with normal testosterone levels. Because of this connection, many women’s hormone care programs include testosterone to help improve sex drive and overall quality of life.
Low libido due to testosterone deficiency can be distressing for many women. Some people experience stress and even relationship problems because of libido changes. Therefore, decreased sex drive can affect your quality of life in many ways. Many people mistakenly believe that low sex drive is a normal part of aging, but this isn’t necessarily true. Low sex drive can be caused by treatable conditions, like hormone changes during menopause. For instance, testosterone replacement therapy may help improve your symptoms.
Researchers are still studying the effects of testosterone replacement therapy for women. However, several studies have examined the link between testosterone and sex drive in women with interesting results. Studies have found that testosterone replacement therapy can increase several factors of sex drive and sexual satisfaction for postmenopausal women with low testosterone. Research suggests that testosterone can increase sexual desire, arousal, orgasmic response, pleasure, and even self-image based on interview responses. After beginning testosterone, many study participants also feel less distressed about their sexual function. Therefore, the evidence suggests testosterone therapy may help women who experience severely low sex drive after menopause.
The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) recognizes that testosterone replacement therapy for women may help some women improve sexual function. While testosterone for women is an off-label use, doctors may prescribe it to help with sex drive and sexual function. If you begin using testosterone therapy, NAMS recommends using the lowest dose for the shortest amount of time to help with symptoms. They also recommend discussing the risks and benefits thoroughly with a medical provider. After discussing the particulars, you and our doctors may determine to use testosterone therapy for better sex drive during and after menopause.
If you’re experiencing low sex drive, there may be many different factors at play. Sexual desire, arousal, and satisfaction are all very complex. Therefore, pinpointing the cause of low sex drive can be difficult. There may even be several different causes of your low libido. It’s also necessary to note that libido can change for many reasons and a lower sex drive occasionally isn’t necessarily abnormal. For instance, if you have a lower libido during a stressful project at work, but your symptoms improve after you complete the project, then you may have nothing to worry about. However, if you have persistent low libido that worries you or interferes with your quality of life, you should talk to one of our providers about your symptoms.
If you’re suffering from low libido, one of the first steps most doctors recommend is ruling out other causes. For instance, some other reasons you might experience low sex drive that aren’t related to testosterone include:
It’s important to identify underlying causes of low libido symptoms to find treatment solutions personalized to you. Some other treatments for severely low sex drive might include lifestyle changes, treating other health conditions, mental health treatments, or even couple’s counseling for relationship problems. For libido changes and other symptoms after menopause, our doctors may recommend beginning estrogen replacement therapy. If other treatments don’t work, or if no other explanation is found for your low sex drive, then it may be due to low testosterone levels. In these cases, you may benefit from testosterone replacement therapy.
While considering potential causes of low sex drive, our providers may recommend performing a blood test to determine how much testosterone is in your blood. Normal testosterone levels for women are between 15 and 75 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dl). If you have low testosterone levels in your blood and you’re experiencing low sex drive that interferes with your life or causes you distress, our providers may recommend beginning testosterone replacement therapy.
The goal of testosterone replacement therapy is to bring testosterone levels to normal ranges. Because hormones like estrogen and testosterone hold each other in balance, it’s common to pair testosterone with estrogen replacement therapy as well to help prevent testosterone dominance. Therefore, in most cases your treatment program will include both estrogen and testosterone bioidentical hormones.
While taking testosterone treatments for sex drive, our team monitors your health to help optimize your treatment. We may track your symptoms, take blood draws to evaluate your testosterone levels, and assess other health markers like blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Our team also monitors you for common side effects of testosterone replacement therapy, such as increased facial and body hair, increased LDL cholesterol, or mild acne. Our goal is to help you feel your best and find treatment solutions that work for you and your lifestyle.
Our team at HerKare offers quality health care for every stage of your life. After menopause, we understand that many of the symptoms can interfere with daily life. We offer personalized hormone care to help alleviate your symptoms so you can feel your best. Our clinics are owned and managed by women for women, and we believe in empowering you to address your health. We listen to you and work with you to get to the bottom of your symptoms. If you’re suffering from low sex drive or other menopause symptoms, help is available at our clinics. Make an appointment today to start the path toward feeling better.