Testosterone--it isn’t just found in men. In fact, for the majority of women’s lives, they have a higher amount of testosterone than estrogen.Women’s bodies produce testosterone through the ovaries and adrenal glands.
Testosterone does many good things. It boosts both libido and energy, maintains muscle mass, strengthens bone and increases the sensitivity of the nipples and clitoris.
On the flip side, testosterone can lead to acne, and increase hair growth where women don’t want it. It can also decrease hair on the scalp, and can cause irritability, insomnia and aggressive dreams.
A woman's testosterone is highest around age 20 and slowly declines to half that in her 40s. As menopause approaches, both testosterone and estrogen begin to decrease. After menopause, estrogen declines rapidly while testosterone declines more slowly, over 10 years.
Many researchers believe the diminished energy and decreased sexual desire that some women experience during and after menopause are directly related to declining levels of testosterone. Some findings indicate that testosterone replacement therapy may benefit certain women post menopause.
The goal of testosterone treatment is to raise a woman's testosterone level no higher than what is normal for a young woman. Testosterone therapy usually is prescribed only for women who have sufficient estrogen levels and not for women who are postmenopausal and can't or choose not to take estrogen.
Research showed that the hormone testosterone does effectively boost sex drive in certain women with sexual dysfunction. Dr. Barbara Sherwin, a professor of psychology at McGill University, conducted a study on women who had their ovaries removed, and found that a combination of testosterone and estrogen gave them more interest in sexual intercourse, more orgasms and greater pleasure.
Some also argue that fatigue and low libido can stem from any number of nutritional, medical or psychological conditions. Many claim there is no solid link between a woman's high testosterone and high sex drive, nor between low sex drive and low testosterone.