Most people think of testosterone primarily as a male sex hormone. While the female body produces less testosterone than the male body, the hormone also plays an incredibly important role in female health.
“Everyone thinks of estrogen and progesterone as the hormones of being female,” says board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Ashley Gordon of Austin. “Women really have several fold more testosterone than they actually have estrogen, which a lot of people don’t realize.”
Having balanced hormones is important for optimal health. In both men and women, testosterone is responsible for a healthy libido. It affects mood, energy levels, bone density and muscle mass. Consequently, lowered levels of testosterone can lead to a low sex drive, decreased energy, mental fogginess, weight fluctuations, hair loss, mood swings and difficulty sleeping.
Symptoms of Low Testosterone:
- Reduced sex drive
- Hot flashes
- Mood swings
- Weight gain
You may already be familiar with the benefits associated with testosterone replacement therapy for men: better libido, more muscle. Not as many people are aware that testosterone replacement therapy can also be a great option for women suffering through the changes of menopause. In Dr. Gordon’s practice, about half of her testosterone replacement patients are women.
“Women really don’t enjoy the changes of menopause,” shares Gordon. “Testosterone can really reverse those things. Testosterone replacement has really changed how women feel about themselves in their forties, fifties and sixties. They are enjoying sex again and feeling confident.”
Hormone Delivery by Pellet
Creams, patches, injections and pellets are all methods commonly used to deliver testosterone into the body. At Restora Austin, Dr. Gordon offers testosterone pellet therapy. The pellets used are slightly larger than a grain of rice. Once a pellet is implanted just below the skin, it begins to slowly and consistently release hormones over a period of several months.
Before receiving testosterone pellet therapy, blood work is necessary to determine how low the levels of testosterone in the body are. Pellets are not a one-size-fits all treatment. The amount of testosterone in the pellet is specially formulated based on the results of the lab work.
The testosterone used inside the pellets is derived from yams. It has the exact same chemical makeup as the hormones produced by the body, making it what is known as a bioidentical hormone. Bioidentical hormones are all derived from plants, while synthetic hormones are derived from animals.
When a testosterone implant is placed beneath the skin, the patient’s health and symptoms are closely monitored by the prescribing physician. “We’re trying to get the patient to an ideal level, not an above normal level,” emphasizes Gordon. “We always measure the levels and make sure that the patient is at a therapeutic level and not too high.”
Periodic blood tests are important for determining the levels of testosterone present in the body.
Managing Side Effects
There is the potential for negative side effects with testosterone replacement therapy. The two most common side effects are acne and facial hair growth.
Facial hair growth, in particular, can be more of an issue for women than men. Dr. Gordon utilizes laser hair removal and IPL (Intense Pulsified Light) that can counter unwanted hair growth. If acne becomes an issue, there are prescription medications available to heal acne and restore skin health.
Combining Testosterone Replacement and Vaginal Rejuvenation
For women experiencing menopause, testosterone replacement therapy can restore a healthy libido, but sometimes that is not enough to restore a woman’s confidence in the bedroom. After pregnancy, many women experience symptoms like urinary incontinence and vaginal laxity. Other symptoms like enlarged labia and decreased sexual sensitivity also commonly occur as part of the aging process. These symptoms can affect other areas of a woman’s life outside of the bedroom as well. Urinary incontinence can make some types of exercise difficult, while enlarged labia can limit the types of clothing and swimwear a woman is able to comfortably wear.
Vaginal Rejuvenation Treatments:
The combination of testosterone replacement with vaginal rejuvenation procedures means her patients are able to regain the best of both worlds: a healthy libido and a confidence in their body.