Testosterone patch could solve low libido problems

For many, mention of the hormone testosterone triggers thoughts and discussions about men and ‘manliness’. But falling levels of testosterone during menopause can affect women’s libido.

Help is potentially at hand, though, with a clinical trial of a new testosterone patch taking place in the UK this year. The patch will provide a slow release of the hormone and is designed especially for those who saw no improvement through hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

Until now, women in this situation have relied mainly on testosterone creams and gels applied to the skin. Testosterone is also available as a capsule or tablet, but is generally not recommended for women or men, as oral forms can have unwanted effects on blood cholesterol levels.

Testosterone creams and gels, many of them were designed for use by men, come with inherent problems. Chief among these is that application through the skin via a cream makes it difficult to get dosage levels right.

And, like most other creams and gels, testosterone-based ones can be transferred onto other surfaces or materials, such as clothing. This can happen either during application, or after being applied to the skin.

That could all change if the UK trials prove successful.

Leading the way with the trials is the University of Warwick’s Professor David Haddleton. His company, Medherant, will start the clinical trial.

“We hope this will transform life for women suffering from post-menopause issues nationally and indeed globally,” says Prof. Haddleton. “This is a very exciting development for us; the potential of this technology to improve women’s lives is huge.”

Dr Haitham Hamoda, clinical lead for the menopause service at King’s College Hospital, describes the research as important. “It will offer women more choice,” said the former chair of the British Menopause Society.

For those whose quality of life has been affected by loss of libido, testosterone patches sound like an ideal solution. However, some doubt remains about a causal link between the two.

According to the Australasian Menopausal Society (AMS), the science to date has not provided a definitive answer: “Some studies have indicated that there may be an association between low sexual desire and low testosterone, but this has not been a consistent finding in all studies.”

The AMS website also points out that “there is no blood level that can be used as a cut-off to ‘diagnose’ low testosterone in women.

On the other hand, the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has, since 2015, had guidelines recommending testosterone supplementation be considered for menopausal women with low libido if HRT alone is not effective.

Prof. Haddleton is confident in his team’s research: “The work we’re doing at Medherant and at Warwick isn’t just theoretical, but instead aimed at a problem women are facing that can drastically affect their everyday lives and jobs.”

He says the trials could deliver a product that is much needed and is just not available.

“With the technology already proven to work, we can use our new patch to remove needless misery from women’s daily lives,” he says.

Would you welcome a patch that could regulate falling testosterone? What are your thoughts on HRT? Why not share them in the comments section below.

Also read: Ways to treat menopause symptoms – without taking HRT

Andrew Gigacz
Andrew Gigaczhttps://www.patreon.com/AndrewGigacz
Andrew has developed knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income and government entitlements, as well as issues affecting older Australians moving into or living in retirement. He's an accomplished writer with a passion for health and human stories.
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