The therapeutic use of androgens in women

J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 1999 Apr-Jun;69(1-6):177-84. doi: 10.1016/s0960-0760(99)00054-0.


Androgens have significant and varied actions in women and there is now acknowledgment that women may experience symptoms secondary to androgen deficiency. There is also substantial evidence that prudent androgen replacement can be effective in relieving both the physical and psychological symptoms of androgen insufficiency, and is indicated for clinically affected women. Testosterone replacement for women is now available in a variety of formulations. It appears to be safe, with the caveat that doses are restricted to the 'therapeutic' window for androgen replacement in women, such that the beneficial effects on wellbeing and quality of life are achieved without incurring undesirable virilizing side effects. The predominant symptom of women with androgen deficiency is loss of sexual desire. This is not limited to women experiencing a surgical menopause but may also be a feature of women who have either undergone premature or natural menopause. There is increasing interest in other uses of androgen replacement in women that include premenopausal iatrogenic androgen deficiency states, glucocorticosteroid-induced bone loss, management of wasting syndromes and possibly premenopausal bone loss, premenopausal loss of libido and the treatment of the premenstrual syndrome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / blood
  • Androgens / blood
  • Androgens / deficiency*
  • Female
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Postmenopause*
  • Testosterone / adverse effects
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Testosterone / therapeutic use*


  • Androgens
  • Testosterone