Androgens are essential hormones in women. Yet, androgen therapy is understudied and underutilized despite showing improvement in postmenopausal hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) and the genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM). Additionally, regulatory concerns have left a significant gap in commercially available testosterone preparations, formulated specifically for women, in most countries. This has led to off-label use of male formulations and compounded therapies which are under-regulated. Beyond HSDD and GSM, testosterone likely influences the brain, breast, cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems. These effects are not well studied, and therefore it is difficult to counsel patients on testosterone therapy when used for these endpoints. Ultimately, further study is needed to elucidate these effects, create a fuller picture of the risks and benefits, and encourage product development specifically designed for women.
Keywords: androgens; hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD); menopause; testosterone.
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