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Testosterone Therapy Might be Appropriate for Postmenopausal Women

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Testosterone Therapy Might be Appropriate for Postmenopausal WomenTestosterone therapy might benefit some older women with low libido accompanied by distress. But further research is still necessary, experts say.

The hormone testosterone is often associated with men, as it helps with the development and maintenance of male characteristics, like a deeper voice and facial hair. It drives men’s libidos, too.

When men’s bodies don’t produce enough testosterone, replacement therapy is an option. For many, the treatment boosts wellbeing, mood, and sex drive.

Can it do the same for women? That question has been debated for some time. Women’s bodies make testosterone, too, but in much smaller amounts. And it has not been completely clear whether testosterone therapy is safe and effective for women.

To learn more, researchers analyzed 36 studies published between 1990 and 2018. Overall, the studies involved almost 8,500 women who had gone through menopause. All of the women underwent testosterone therapy for at least 12 weeks.

Many women experienced sexual improvements with therapy. Desire, arousal, and sexual pleasure increased, and some women reported having better sex more frequently. Fewer sexual concerns and less distress were also noted.

None of the women had serious side effects, but some developed acne and hair growth.

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What Should Women Know About Testosterone Therapy?

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What Should Women Know About Testosterone Therapy?Some postmenopausal women with low libido might benefit from testosterone therapy, according to recently-issued guidelines.

The “Global Consensus Position Statement on the Use of Testosterone Therapy in Women” was developed by a panel of experts to guide healthcare providers who prescribe hormonal therapy to women. The statement was endorsed by 11 medical organizations, including the International Society for Sexual Medicine (ISSM) (The Sexual Medicine Society of North America, which produces SexHealthMatters.org, is affiliated with the ISSM.)

While the news may be a step forward for women’s sexual health, the panel was very specific in its recommendations, which covered how testosterone should be measured, prescribed, and monitored.

Here are some key points from the statement:

Testosterone therapy may be recommended for women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), but not for women with other types of sexual problems.

HSDD is a persistent lack of sexual desire that has no apparent cause. For example, it’s not a medication side effect, and it’s not a result of other health conditions associated with low libido. Another component of HSDD is distress. Women who have HSDD are bothered by their low sex drive. It might cause stress in their relationship, or they might miss the intimacy they once shared with a partner.

Testosterone therapy may be recommended for postmenopausal women, but not premenopausal women.

The menopause distinction is important. Currently, scientists don’t have enough information to recommend the use of testosterone in women who have not gone through menopause.

During menopause, a woman’s estrogen levels decline, and she stops having menstrual periods. Testosterone levels decline, too.

Women are considered to be postmenopausal (finished with menopause) when they have gone 12 months without a menstrual period. Before this benchmark, periods may be irregular, and many women think they have finished menopause when in fact they haven’t. Women who are unsure of their menopausal status should talk to their gynecologist.

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Peyronie’s Disease Could be Linked to Cancer, but More Research Needed

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Peyronie’s Disease Could be Linked to Cancer, but More Research NeededMen with Peyronie’s disease might be at higher risk for cancer, scientists report in Sexual Medicine.

They stress, however, that “although the risk may exist, it remains to be definitively proven.”

Peyronie’s disease is characterized by plaques of scar tissue that form on the penis, just below the skin’s surface. Because the plaques make the penis less flexible, deformities occur. Usually, the penis starts to bend. But it may also shorten or take on an hourglass shape. Peyronie’s disease can be painful, and some men find it difficult to have intercourse.

Previously, it was unknown whether there was any link between Peyronie’s disease and cancer. The research team considered that both Peyronie’s and cancer can run in families and decided to investigate.

They used a US-based insurance claims database and found data for 48,423 men who had been diagnosed with Peyronie’s disease between 2007 and 2013. For a comparison group, they also collected data from 484,230 men without Peyronie’s disease or erectile dysfunction (another condition that sometimes occurs with Peyronie’s disease). This control group was matched in age and number of follow-up doctor’s visits.

The men’s average age was 50 years. Men with Peyronie’s disease had an average of 5.6 outpatient visits per year, compared to 3.6 visits annually for the control group.

The men with Peyronie’s disease were at higher risk for cancer in general and for stomach cancer, testicular cancer, and melanoma (a type of skin cancer) in particular.

The researchers weren’t sure why cancer risk was higher for the men with Peyronie’s disease, but they suggested a genetic connection.

They also acknowledged some limitations to their research. For example, they did not know how long men had had Peyronie’s disease or how severe it was. The also did not have further details about the men’s cancer, such as grade or stage.

More study on the relationship between Peyronie’s disease and cancer was recommended.

Resources

Sexual Medicine

Pastuszak, Alexander W., MD, PhD, et al.

“Increased Risk of Cancer in Men With Peyronie’s Disease: A Cohort Study Using a Large United States Insurance Claims Database”

(Full-text. Published online: September 14, 2019)

https://www.smoa.jsexmed.org/article/S2050-1161(19)30176-X/fulltext

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Nomograms May Help Physicians Counsel Prostate Cancer Patients

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Nomograms May Help Physicians Counsel Prostate Cancer Patients Evidence-based models called nomograms might help prostate cancer patients understand what their erections could be like after treatment.

Nowadays, most men with prostate cancer receive their diagnosis in the earlier stages of the disease. And more men are living longer after treatment. Many remain sexually active well into their older years.

Radical prostatectomy (surgery to remove the prostate gland) is an effective treatment. However, the prostate is surrounded by nerves that are essential for good erections. As a result, some degree of erectile dysfunction (ED) can be expected, at least temporarily, after surgery.

To what extent? Unfortunately, urologists don’t have a crystal ball to determine how well a man will have erections after prostatectomy. Nomograms could provide an educated guess.

Researchers developed three nomograms for this purpose and explained their process in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

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