Jane Fonda has revealed to the press that she is prescribed testosterone to maintain her libido.
The diagnosis of low testosterone in women (female androgen deficiency syndrome) is suggested by complaints of a diminished sense of well being, persistent unexplained fatigue and decreased sexual desire, sexual receptivity and pleasure. It is supported by the finding of low testosterone levels in blood testing.
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These women have normal oestrogen levels (either naturally or replaced with bioidentical hormones) and no other significant contributory factors.
Barriers to its recognition include the non-specificity of the symptoms and a general unawareness that this syndrome exists.
Barriers to treatment previously included the unavailability of satisfactory forms of testosterone for administration to women. However with the availability of compounded bioidentical hormones in the UK, this is no longer an issue.
Although several conditions lead to clear-cut androgen deficiency, such as hypopituitarism, adrenal and ovarian insufficiency, glucocorticoid therapy and use of oral contraceptives and oral oestrogens, it is important for clinicians to recognise that in normal women, testosterone declines with age, and when it is too low, libido is adversely affected.
Adverse effects of testosterone treatment are few if replacement is properly monitored to achieve physiological circulating testosterone concentrations.
Currently, available methods include testosterone creams, and transdermal patches and sprays are in development.
Women experience a restored sense of well being and libido, and treatment is easy and very well tolerated.