Female testosterone therapy no magic bullet for sexual dysfunction

Testosterone therapy may not be the magic bullet women with low libidos are hoping for, according to seasoned sex therapist Domeena Renshaw, MD.

"Female sexual dysfunction is being treated as a medical problem with a quick fix, when in fact women's libido issues may be more complicated," said Renshaw, author, Seven Weeks to Better Sex, director, Loyola University Health System Sex Clinic and professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

Female sexual dysfunction is a subjective diagnosis that might be caused by a number of things, including emotional issues, underlying health problems and medication, such as antidepressants.

The proper level of testosterone in women is between 40 - 75 ng. These levels can naturally decrease after menopause. However, Renshaw warns that there is no such thing as a small dose of testosterone and cautions women against taking testosterone therapy.

"I am not comfortable prescribing testosterone therapy to my female patients, because the long-term side effects have not been studied," said Renshaw. "Testosterone therapy may increase the risk of heart disease as well as cause excess facial hair, acne and deepening of the voice."

Currently, there are no FDA-approved products to treat sexual dysfunction in women. Tips to improve female sexual function include counseling and increased communication with your spouse about sexual or any other issues that may be causing marital stress. Additional recommendations are experimentation or changes in sexual routine, regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle.

"The most important advice that I give couples is to turn off the television, unplug the phone and have a conversation to reconnect with one another," said Renshaw.

Since its inception in 1972, Loyola's Sex Clinic in Loyola Outpatient Center has treated approximately 3,000 married couples and has trained more than 3,000 professionals. Married couples with sexual problems are provided seven weeks of couples counseling by a multidisciplinary team of health care professionals, including specialists in psychiatry, psychology, gynecology, urology, family medicine, nursing and social work. Single patients also are counseled individually or in a six-week all-female or all-male, small-group setting.

To schedule an appointment with a Loyola physician, call toll-free (888) LUHS-888 and ask for extension 6-3752.

Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, Loyola University Health System is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and 25 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus, Loyola University Hospital, is a 570-licensed bed facility. It houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Health & Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 250-bed community hospital, the Gottlieb Health & Fitness Center and the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Care Center.

http://www.luhs.org

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