Posts Tagged "testosterone"

Spray that forgetfulness away

Posted by on Oct 12, 2009 in Uncategorized | 0 comments


Australian researchers are suggesting that a daily testosterone skin spray can boost brain function and memory in menopausal women. If that’s all it takes, heck, sign me up. Thing is, do you grow more hair in unexpected places as well?!

The study, which was presented last month at the North American Menopause Society annual meeting, examined the effectiveness of a daily spray in 10 menopausal women, ages 45 to 60, for 6 months. All women participated in computerized testing for visual and verbal learning and memory before and after treatment and also had MRI scans to examine brain activity.

Visual learning, the ability to recall items after seeing them (i.e. verbal learning) and memory significantly improved after treatment. More importantly though, Interestingly, while the speed at which women performed cognitive tests were the same after as before treatment, MRI scans revealed that less brain activity was required to complete the tasks.

The researchers say that women in menopause experience dementia and memory loss at rates that are twice those of men of the same ages. They believe that this may be due, at least in part, to lower levels of testosterone, both in relation to men and in women about half their age. If you believe the results of this study, it’s possible that testosterone treatment may eventually prove effective in preventing declines in brain function that occur with age.

Importantly, delivery of testosterone via a spray as opposed to a skin patch may also account for fewer side effects. However, because this study was only conducted in a small number of women, no conclusions can be drawn at this time.

Sometimes I think it’s better to lose half my brain than to grow hair in unwanted places or set myself up for unwanted side effects. But then again, other times I forget that I feel this way!

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Wednesday Bubble: We Ain’t No April Fool’s

Posted by on Apr 1, 2009 in sexual desire, sexual health | 2 comments

Jane Brody. You disappoint me. I wonder why you would lend your name and esteemed reputation to a rather narrow treatise on diminishing sexual desire during menopause and treatments half-answers to an issue that is not just physical but also emotional.

In all fairness, in an article published yesterday’s New York Times Health section Brody provides a thorough introduction to the “why’s” underlying changes in sexual desire. Indeed, I encourage readers of this blog to check it out as the personal anecdotes coupled with scientific information are nteresting and informative. But that’s where the article stops to inform and turns to the old paradigm “menopause as a disease.”

Brody suggests that Estrotest (a drug containing estrogen and testosterone) and transdermal (through the skin) estrogen formulations may help. She also recommends lubricants, and use of the antidepressant Wellbutrin.  And she does give self-stimulation a blip, even though that’s where she stops.

So in the most respectful way possible, I’d like to suggest that we ain’t no fools. In fact, with regards to testosterone data have been anything but favorable as of late. So, ladies, let’s take a look at a positive, empowering non-therapeutic approach that encompasses wellness and self-esteem.

The following was written last November. I am reposting it today to lend another perspective on the issue of hormones and sexual desire.

I’ve written several posts about the use of testosterone for sexual dysfunction in menopausal women and its less than pleasant side effects, such as unwanted hair growth and development of the metabolic syndrome.

Fortunately, Dr. Christiane Northrup has a different and much healthier perspective about sexual dysfunction during the transition.

One of the first things she writes, in her newly published “The Secret Pleasures of Menopause,” is that an important key to achieving health and healthy sex during and after the menopause is to boost one’s nitric oxide levels. Nitric oxide, she explains, is a free radical produced in the lining of blood vessels, by lung and white blood cells, and nerve cells in the brain, that “resets your power grid and reboots your body, a secret weapon for optimal health.”

In order to produce more nitric oxide, you need to engage your mind, body an spirit in positive activities, such as:

  • associating with positive people
  • eating healthily and exercising
  • being kind/taking pride in yourself
  • realizing you are what you believe
  • letting go of the past and embracing the present
  • understanding that health and sex go hand-in-hand

Dr. Northrup suggests that we become “ardent explorers” of our own pleasure, in essence, become our own partners in sex. Turn ourselves on and tell ourselves often that a turned on woman is irresistible. Recognize and release anger as much as we can. Commit to regularly exploring our pleasure potential and live our lives in ways that “excite, motivate, and turns on” other people in our lives.

A few additional tidbits:

  • Think heartwarming, sexy, uplifting, kind, loving and positive thoughts about yourself and others EVERY DAY
  • Strive for commitment, trust and vulnerability with your partner
  • Do things that keep you in touch with your life force…cultivate your inner pleasure and exchange it for stress, and decide that this half of your life is really the best
  • Get out of your head and into your body….regularly

Desire pleasure, know that you deserve it, believe you can bring it into your life, overcome your resistance to accepting it, and embrace it.

Honestly, I’m not usually into this touchy feely stuff. But I encourage you to read Dr. Northup’s book and start to practice some of these positive, life affirming, love affirming steps. Pleasure truly starts within by changing our mindsets about our limitations, we can  fine tune our bodies in ways that make us and others feel great.

As Dr. Northrup says, our bodies were made to experience unlimited pleasure.

And of course, pleasure begets pleasure….

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Wednesday Bubble: two thumbs down!

Posted by on Mar 4, 2009 in sexual desire, sexual health | 2 comments

[photo credit: Kristian Olsen,]

There’s a whole lotta buzz going on around testosterone these days…testosterone patches, that is.

The March online edition of the British Medical Journal’s Drug Therapeutics Bulletin has given two thumbs down to Intrinsa, a testosterone patch developed to boost sex drive in women with hypoactive sexual disorder (i.e.  who enter menopause due to removal of their wombs and ovaries).  Interestingly, the US Food and Drug Administration had enough questions about Intrinsa to refuse marketing approval. However, the European Union gave it’s safety approval rating in 2006, paving the way for launch in the UK last March.

So, what are the concerns?

According to the article’s authors, testosterone patches should not be recommended to address low sex drive in women. Although research has indicated a slight increase in sexual desire/drive  among women using the patch, the patches have primarily been tested in a small group of women who are taking HRT and not in other populations. What’s more, questions have been raised about study methodology; e.g. diagnosis was made on short, unvalidated questionnaires and some participants were already having sex regularly at the time they entered the trial, which begs the question – where was the improvement?

Concerns have also been raised about the long-term safety of the patches, which researchers say is unknown. Two pivotal trials demonstrated side effects rates in about 75% of women, mostly relating to sites on the body where the patches were applied. But 1% of women also experienced acne, excess hair growth, hair loss, breast pain, weight gain, insomnia, voice deepening and migraine headaches.  Testosterone can also increase cholesterol levels, which potentially prevents their use in women who have an increased risk of heart disease.

Although no firm conclusions have been made, the researchers do say that they “cannot recommend Intriansa for use in women with sexual dysfunction.”

So, the jury’s out. Avoid testosterone patches.  And focus on other methods to improve sexual desire and drive if it becomes problematic as hormone levels drop. Personally, I like Dr. Christina Northrup’s approach to boost nitric oxide levels — natural, empowering, pleasurable!

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Wednesday Bubble: Why?

Posted by on Nov 19, 2008 in sexual desire, sexual health | 3 comments

Would you prefer to have a better sex drive and a beard? Or the opposite?

Can’t decide?

About a week and a half ago, news hit the headlines about a new FDA-approved testosterone patch for women to restore declining libidos. The patch, called Intrinsa, was tested in a study of 841postmenopausal not currently on hormone replacement therapy who received either one of two doses of the patch or a dummy placebo patch over 52 weeks. The patch’s effectiveness (namely, restoring sexual satisfaction) was measured up to week 24, or for roughly half the study.

The results, which were published in the esteemed New England Journal of Medicine, showed that compared to a dummy patch, using Intrinsa was associated with significant increases in sexual desire and a decline in sexual distress. Overall, the higher dose patch led to modest improvements in sexual function.

In other words, wearing a patch was significantly better than using nothing at all but not life-shattering in terms of improving sexual function.

The caveat? Unwanted hair growth, which occurred in about a third of women using the higher dose patch and in about 23% of women using the lower dose.

Results of this study undoubtedly leave hope for women in menopause experiencing declines in sexual function. In fact, I’ve written previously about the positive effects of taking testosterone to improve sexual desire. However, I’ve also found some evidence that testosterone increases the risk of metabolic syndrome and heart disease in women.

The other rub? You have to use the patch all the time, which means that you are subjecting yourself to testosterone and negative side effects, such as hair growth,  24/7. Researchers don’t have any answers about the safety of long-term use.

Fortunately, there are some very positive steps you can take to improve menopausal declines in sexual desire and function, which Dr. Christine Northrup says, are often misnomers. So, I leave you with this:

Why would you risk unwanted hair growth and other yet to be defined side effects when you can solve the problem in a positive, affirming, healthy way?

More to come!

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Wednesday Bubble: Testosterone and the metabolic syndrome

Posted by on Nov 12, 2008 in heart disease | 4 comments

Today’s Bubble features a pretty interesting research finding: contrary to what experts have previously believed about the relationship between estrogen and the metabolic syndome evidence continues to accrue that testosterone may ultimately be identified as the culprit. I wrote about this in an earlier post and there are some interesting stats about risk, etc. (You may recall that metabolic syndrome describes the cluster of heart disease risk factors that include overweight, high blood pressure and blood sugar levels, high blood fats levels and low HDL-cholesterol.)

In the current study, published in the early online edition of the Menopause Journal, researchers evaluated 257 cases of metabolic syndrome found in a group of 1862 women enrolled in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation.

They found that the ratio of testosterone to estrogen during the menopausal transition, rather than changes in each individual hormone, was an important factor in determining which who would develop the metabolic syndrome. What’s more, faster increases in this ratio over time also increased risk.

What this brings to mind is the question of whether or not it is wise to use testosterone to improve sexual dysfunction during menopause? I’m going to be addressing this in a future post.

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