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

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


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.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Androgens* / adverse effects
  • Androgens* / blood
  • Body Mass Index
  • Bone Density
  • Female
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Ovariectomy*
  • Perimenopause / physiology*
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin
  • Testosterone* / blood


  • Androgens
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin
  • Testosterone