What happens to testosterone levels during menopause?
Testosterone is a hormone that everyone produces in their bodies. As we get older, we start to produce less. If you go through the menopause, either naturally or after having your ovaries removed, your testosterone levels will reduce. And, these changes to our hormones can have a big impact on how we feel.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and testosterone are hormonal treatments for menopause. They work by replacing the hormone levels that have fallen in your body.
What are the symptoms of low testosterone in menopause?
Low testosterone during menopause can cause:
- low sex drive (reduced libido)
- difficulty concentrating
Transgender men and people who identify as non-binary may also experience menopause symptoms.
Some symptoms like low sex drive or being less aroused can also be a symptom of other things. Changes in your relationship, other health problems and depression can all affect how you feel about sex.
If you’re going through the menopause and any of these symptoms are affecting your day-to-day life, speak to your doctor.
How can I increase my testosterone during menopause?
Your doctor may prescribe testosterone as a gel or cream that you rub onto your skin to increase your levels.
There’s also an implant available that contains testosterone, which goes under the skin. But, it’s not commonly offered, and may only be available from a specialist.
It can take up to six months to feel the full effects of testosterone. But you might start to feel some benefits after three months. If you have any questions, speak to your pharmacist or doctor for advice.
Should I take testosterone for menopause?
Before trying testosterone, your doctor will usually offer hormone replacement therapy (HRT) first. This can help with lots of menopause symptoms. If HRT doesn’t work for you alone, your doctor might suggest trying testosterone alongside HRT.
Some people can’t take testosterone. If you’ve had hormone sensitive breast cancer in the past or have active liver disease, testosterone might not be right for you.
At the moment, testosterone isn’t licenced to treat menopause symptoms. That means it’s called an ‘off-label’ medicine for menopause. Some medicines can be prescribed to be used ‘off-label’ to treat a different condition that they were first licensed for. Because of this, you might need to see a specialist to have it prescribed.
What are the side effects of taking testosterone?
If you take the right amount of testosterone, you’re unlikely to experience any side effects. But, they can include:
If you take testosterone, you’ll usually have a blood test after two or three months. This is to check the amount of testosterone you’re taking is right for you. You might need another blood test after six months. After this, you’ll usually need a blood test once a year to check your testosterone is still at the right level.
For more information on whether taking testosterone might be a beneficial treatment for you, speak to your doctor.