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The Effects of Women Taking Testosterone

by
author image Erica Roth
Erica Roth has been a writer since 2007. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and was a college reference librarian for eight years. Roth earned a Bachelor of Arts in French literature from Brandeis University and Master of Library Science from Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Her articles appear on various websites.
The Effects of Women Taking Testosterone
Man and woman on bed. Photo Credit View Stock/View Stock/Getty Images

Overview

Testosterone is a male hormone, yet both males and females alike have some flowing through their bodies. According to Australia's Jean Haile Foundation for Women, testosterone levels fall during menopause, which can contribute to emotional and physical side effects. Testosterone supplements are available in a variety of forms--topical creams and skin patches, oral tablets and injections, and can produce both positive and negative side effects in the women who participate in testosterone therapy.

Increased Libido

Women who take testosterone may experience an increase in their libido, or sex drive, according to MayoClinic.com. One of the symptoms of lowered testosterone levels in men and women is a drop in sexual desire. Women who suffer from low desire and are not suffering from lower-than-normal estrogen levels may benefit from testosterone therapy to reverse a decrease in sexual appetite. The Jean Haile Foundation reminds women that testosterone is not a cure-all; if other factors in your relationship are making sex difficult for you, then hormone therapy is not going to be the definitive answer for you.

Enhanced Mood

The American Academy of Family Physicians summarizes results of a study reported in a 2003 issue of "Menopause," showing that both pre- and post-menopausal women experienced a lifting in depression, and an enhanced sense of well-being and energy after taking testosterone supplements. The pre-menopausal woman were given a low dose of the hormone in a 1 percent cream to prevent an increase of male sex characteristics that could effect a potential fetus. The AAFP also reports cases of women experiencing improved cognitive function, including memory, while taking the hormone.

Increased Bone Mass

Testosterone therapy may protect against osteoporosis in women, according to the AAFP. Women who take high oral doses of the hormone--more than what is normally found in your body--called supraphysiologic doses, might be able to prevent the weakening of the bones that afflicts post-menopausal women as hormone levels fluctuate.

Negative Side Effects

Women who use testosterone therapy to counteract the effects of menopause of other causes or depression or sexual dysfunction may experience negative side effects of the hormones along with the good. The American Academy of Family Physicians reports that supraphysiologic amounts of testosterone can cause liver damage in both men and women.

Supraphysiologic doses can also cause a woman--and her unborn child, if she's pregnant--to display heightened male characteristics, such as an excess of body and facial hair, a deeper voice and swollen sexual organs. Virilization is the term used for this phenomenon, and can occur from either a natural excess of testosterone produced by your body, or supplementation, according to the National Institutes of Health.

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