(NaturalNews) Last year, citing a study in The New England Journal of Medicine, health news headlines in the mainstream media proclaimed that postmenopausal women who have lost interest in sex could kick-start their sex lives with a testosterone patch. There was a downside mentioned, however -- several women in the study developed breast cancer while none on the placebo did. Now two new studies out of the United Kingdom (UK) question not only the safety of testosterone therapy in women, but whether the angdrogen hormone has much of an impact at all on flagging sexual desire.
In research just published in the British Medical Journal newsletter Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin (DTB), scientists looked specifically at Intrinsa, a testosterone patch recently approved in the UK to treat women experiencing a drop in their sex drives after complete hysterectomies. Testosterone advocates have also suggested the hormone might help women who have had a lessening of the sex drive after a natural menopause. The Intrinsa patch is prescribed for these women diagnosed with "hypoactive sexual desire disorder", or HSDD for short, who are also taking estrogen.
According to media statement issued by DTB, the studies found a significant number of women who received a placebo patch that actually contained no hormone reported their sex drives had improved -- indicating that their androgen hormone levels were not actually the cause of any libido problems. What's more, any improvements in sexual desire reported from the testosterone patch were very small. However, untoward side effects from the hormone were experienced by around 75 percent of the women and ranged from skin rashes, acne, excess hair, weight gain, breast pain, hair loss, deepening of voices and migraines. And these problems didn't always go away when the testosterone treatment ended.
"[L]ong term safety of the treatment is unknown. Unwanted side effects are common and not always reversible. For all these reasons, we cannot recommend Intrinsa for use in women with sexual dysfunction," the media statement from DTB concluded.
Earlier research published in the journal Fertility and Sterility by scientists in the Department of Behavioral Science at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center found a lack of testosterone was not strongly associated with low sexual desire in women. Instead, pain with sexual activity, emotional distress, life stress, and relationship conflict were the most likely causes of a decreased interest in sexual activity. In addition, the researchers pointed out that testosterone hormonal replacement regimens increase the risk of breast cancer.
Sherry Baker is a widely published writer whose work has appeared in Newsweek, Health, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Yoga Journal, Optometry, Atlanta, Arthritis Today, Natural Healing Newsletter, OMNI, UCLA's "Healthy Years" newsletter, Mount Sinai School of Medicine's "Focus on Health Aging" newsletter, the Cleveland Clinic's "Men's Health Advisor" newsletter and many others.