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Understanding hormones

Why Women Shouldn’t Use Testosterone Replacement Therapy


Menopausal women continue to champion hormone replacement therapy (HRT) as a treatment that provides relief for ailments like hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, loss of libido, fatigue, and joint pain.  While the treatment is most commonly taken either as estrogen-only or a combination of estrogen and synthetic progesterone, it is also available as a treatment for testosterone imbalance. But what are the implications and risks of testosterone replacement therapy for women? Read on to find out.

Do I Need Testosterone?

While testosterone is commonly perceived as a “male sex hormone”, women do secrete small quantities of it in their ovaries and adrenal glands each month. The hormone helps to regulate a range of functions in the female body, from mood and emotion to sexual health and fat distribution.

Imbalanced testosterone levels can cause weight gain.Imbalanced testosterone levels can cause women to experience weight gain, mood swings, depression, and loss of libido, factors that can certainly affect a woman’s overall health.  Yet that doesn’t mean that testosterone should be treated with HRT in the same way that diminished progesterone and estrogen levels are.

Testosterone replacement therapy has the potential to cause some serious health concerns for women, including the following:

1.  Developing Male Traits

Because women only produce about one-seventh of the testosterone that men do, introducing an excess of synthetic testosterone into the body can cause alarming  and dangerous  changes: deepening of the voice, hair growth on the upper lip, face, chest, and nipples, shrinking breast size and irregular clitoris size.

2.  Causing a Female Fetus to Develop Male Traits

Avoiding testosterone replacement therapy is especially critical for women who are pregnant or may become pregnant.  The synthetic hormones have the potential to interact with fetus development and cause a female to develop male traits.

3.  Tampering with Your Liver and Your Cholesterol Levels

Testosterone pills can increase the risk for heart disease.Testosterone pills can cause liver toxicity in women, reduce the level of good cholesterol (HDL) in your body, and increase the amount of bad cholesterol (LDL), putting you at increased risk for heart disease.

Recommendation

Because testosterone replacement therapy causes so many serious side effects in women, it is not recommended that women use it to treat menopausal ailments caused by low testosterone levels.  No testosterone products are approved for women in the United States or Canada. Instead, women should seek natural alternatives – such as diet and exercise – to boost their testosterone levels.  Click on the following link for more information regarding alternatives to hormone replacement therapy.

Reviewed on Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

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