Frequently Asked Questions

Libido and Sexual Activity

What is libido?


Can adding testosterone help with lost libido?

But isn’t testosterone a male hormone?


How can testosterone help with weight loss or maintenance?

How does Testosterone affect mood?

What are androgens?



What is libido?
Libido means pleasure and sexual desire. In a general sense, it means psychic energy, that involving the positive and loving instincts. Too often, we think of libido just as sexual arousal. I often think of it as the desire to stop the car on a sunny day, climb a hill, and have a picnic. As we age, our libido naturally declines but I do not think that this is altogether a good thing. When women reach the menopause, their libido can take a significant dip. They often notice a lack of sexual desire but they may not be aware of the other of the more subtle aspects of libido that they have lost.
back to top

Can adding testosterone help with lost libido?
Adding small amounts of testosterone to estrogen replacement therapy may restore failing libido, may resolve persistent hot flashes, and may restore decreased bone density - all consequences of menopause that can affect the quality of life and health of postmenopausal women. It plays a role in self-confidence, muscle growth, bone growth, sexual desire and arousal, and memory.

Although sexual arousal is largely due to testosterone, estrogen is necessary for the vagina to respond to the stimulus. If testosterone is high and estrogen is low, there can be no arousal. Testosterone is a mediator for Nitrous Oxide, which mediates signals through other compounds in men and women. These other compounds are thought to have a role in the control of vaginal smooth muscle. Estrogen is a mediator for vasoactive protein (VIP) a protein that is also essential for the sexual arousal response. They are both necessary for an optimal vasocongestion (swelling) and lubrication of the human vagina.
back to top

But isn’t testosterone a male hormone?
Testosterones are generally thought to be the male hormones but they are present in considerable amounts in the female body as well. Some women naturally have more testosterone than others do and they are notably more muscular and aggressive than their lower-testosterone counterparts. This does not make them masculine and many women with high testosterones are elected “home coming queens”. The testosterone will just help maintain muscle definition and help prevent excess fat gain.
back to top

How can testosterone help with weight loss or maintenance?
Having adequate amounts of testosterone will help maintain a better muscle to fat ratio than when the testosterone is deficient. Experiments with testosterone replacement in men show that the men that received testosterone replacement lost more weight and built more muscle than those who took no replacement and exercised.

Exercise for resistance and adaptive training, which is so important for muscle and weight maintenance, will not produce results in the absence of androgen (testosterone). Although the exercises will produce some cardio-adaptive benefits, they will not build or maintain any much-needed muscle if the testosterone levels are low. Therefore, before going to the gym and attempting to build some of the lost muscle, one should check the levels of hormones and replace it if it is low especially if one is approaching the menopause.
back to top

How does Testosterone affect mood?
Along with the increase in muscle mass come energy and the spirit of exploration. When testosterone is low, there is a general lack of enthusiasm and often the absence of the hormone contributes to a depression if it already exists. Psychiatrists often recommend adding testosterone to any existing antidepressant regimen. Testosterone can change the way in which we see the world and predispose one to play more often than worry.

Testosterone is helpful with self-confidence and is often referred to as the “I can do” hormone. I often notice that women doubt they can do something when they actually can do it. Men, on the hand, will often automatically say, “I can do it”, when they have never tried to do the task before. This difference in confidence is partially mediated by the androgen, testosterone. I am not suggesting that a change in personality is in order, if one tries to replace the low levels of testosterone hormone. However, if one was previously more confident, testosterone will definitely help restore you to a similar state. It functions as a friendly computer “go back” or “restore” function.
back to top

What are androgens?
Major androgens in women include testosterone (T), dihydrotestosterone (DHT), dehydoepiandrosterone sulfate ( DHEAS), dehydroepiandrosterone ( DHEA), and androstenedione (A). DHEAS, DHEA and A are all considered proandrogens since they all must be converted to testosterone to express their effects. Of all the androgens, Testosterone is the most potent. Blood levels of Testosterone fluctuate greatly during the menstrual cycle and peak in the midcycle. Testosterone can be changed to DHT and is responsible for much of the acne some women experience. It can also be changed into estrogen by the tissues in both men and women. This is why after the menopause most women have less estrogen than men of the same age.
back to top

 

Home | The Paoletti Difference | Services | Patient Praise | Dr. Paoletti on T.V. | Articles & Info. | Contact | Patient Privacy | Terms & Conditions

© 2005 Christine Paoletti, M.D., Inc.  All rights reserved