There is significant interest in the use of androgen therapy for postmenopausal women. This review provides background on endogenous androgens in women, describes factors that affect circulating androgen concentrations, and examines the relationship between low levels of androgens and sexual problems. Possible effects of androgens in postmenopausal women beyond sexual function also are discussed. Clinical trials of androgen therapy for the treatment of hypoactive sexual desire disorder are reviewed, with a discussion of potential risks. A practical approach to using androgens to treat low sexual desire with associated distress is presented, accompanied by an illustrative case.
1The Midlife Women's Health Center, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
2The Women's Health Research Program, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Address correspondence to: Jan L. Shifren, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital, 55 Fruit Street, Yawkey 10A, Boston, MA 02114. E-mail: email@example.com
Received 30 December, 2016
Revised 9 March, 2017
Accepted 9 March, 2017
Funding/support: None reported.
Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: J.L.S. provides consulting related to research for the New England Research Institutes; S.R.D. has been an investigator for Lawley Pharmaceuticals and has received honoraria from Pfizer pharmaceuticals, Besins Healthcare Australia, and Abbot Pharmaceuticals.