Testosterone therapy and other treatment modalities for female sexual dysfunction

Curr Opin Urol. 2020 May;30(3):309-316. doi: 10.1097/MOU.0000000000000759.


Purpose of review: Recently in October 2019 a Global Consensus Position on the use of Testosterone Therapy for Women was published. The use of testosterone and other agents for female sexual dysfunction (FSD) is an important topic for the urologist focusing on sexual health. This review describes the known causes for FSD, and discusses the role of androgens in this disorder, the evidence for using testosterone treatment, and other current and emerging therapies.

Recent findings: A recent meta-analysis, published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology evaluated a total of 36 randomized control trials spanning 1990-2018 and includes a total of 8480 patients. The primary findings were that testosterone therapy (TTh) increased sexual function including satisfactory sexual event frequency, sexual desire, pleasure, arousal, orgasm, responsiveness, and self-image when compared with either a placebo or drug-control (e.g., estrogen ± progestogen). In addition, TTh reduced sexual concerns and distress in postmenopausal women. Side effects included an increase in weight, acne, and hair growth, but there was no increase in serious adverse events. Importantly, TTh duration was greater than 12 weeks in all randomized control trials included in this meta-analysis.

Summary: TTh is effective to treat FSD in postmenopausal women. More data is required to evaluate the long-term safety data on the effects of TTh on cardiovascular health, breast health, cognitive function, and the musculoskeletal system in women.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Androgens* / adverse effects
  • Androgens* / therapeutic use
  • Arousal / drug effects
  • Female
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Libido / drug effects
  • Orgasm / drug effects
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / drug therapy*
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / drug therapy*
  • Testosterone / adverse effects
  • Testosterone / therapeutic use*


  • Androgens
  • Testosterone