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Womens Health (Lond). 2012 Jul;8(4):437-46. doi: 10.2217/whe.12.27.

Androgens in women before and after the menopause and post bilateral oophorectomy: clinical effects and indications for testosterone therapy.

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Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Observatory, Western Cape 7925, South Africa.


In postmenopausal women, the ovaries produce significant amounts of androgens for many years after the menopause. Bilateral oophorectomy markedly reduces circulating testosterone (T) in both pre- and postmenopausal women. Oral estrogen therapy in postmenopausal women increases sex hormone-binding globulin and decreases T bioavailablity. Circulating androgens decrease with increasing age. The occurrence of an androgen deficiency syndrome associated with loss of libido and sense of well-being is disputed, but in several randomized controlled trials, transdermal T patches produced a significant improvement in hypoactive sexual desire disorder in postmenopausal women who had bilateral oophorectomy and in some women who had a natural menopause. T therapy is legitimate and is clinically indicated in such women. T therapy may have other benefits in postmenopausal women including an increase in lean body mass and bone mineral density. T therapy should become an integral part of hormone therapy in selected postmenopausal women in the future.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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