Returning the Sexual Appetite to Women

Combatting Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD)

HSDDHuman beings, by nature, are sexual beings. And sexual desire arises in women as well as in men, albeit, with reduced intensity. The American journalist Mignon McLaughlin, said,

“Desire is in men a hunger, in women only an appetite.”

According to Phyllis Greenberger, founder and first CEO of the Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR) in Washington DC, more women report sexual problems than men, but research and treatment for female sexual disorders receive less priority.

She says,

“For example, from 1990 to 1999, nearly 5,000 studies were published on male sexual function, but there were only 2,000 women’s studies.”

However, if a woman has low sexual desire, and is persistently indifferent to sex, resulting in her becoming distressed or having problems with her partner, she could be suffering from a condition known medically, as Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (“HSDD”). It is different from the normal fluctuations in sexual desire.

According to SWHR, about one in ten women experiences HSDD, making it one of the most prevalent forms of sexual disorders among women of all ages. In fact, as found in a recent study, 33% of women from ages 18 to 59, suffer a loss of interest in sex, and, it is not just their imagination. Although it is common, HSDD is one of the hardest disorders to address, as the desire for sex is a complex interaction of several things.

Studies have indicated several common causes for loss of sexual desire and low sex drive in women. There are physical causes, hormonal changes, psychological causes, and relationship issues that have a bearing on intimacy and the desire for sex. Sex psychologist Sheryl Kingsberg, PhD, explains that the sex drive, reflected as spontaneous sexual interest including sexual thoughts, erotic fantasies, and daydreams, is the biological component of desire.

She says that the sex drive is:

“about your body signaling that it wants to be sexual. Whether or not there is any intention to act on it, we all have a certain level of drive.”

However, with several vital factors affecting sexual desire, it is necessary to thoroughly study each case, to zero in on the root cause of HSDD. One important reason for HSDD in females, is the loss or a significant drop in Androgens, a group of hormones present in both males and females, and affect their sex drive.

The main androgens are testosterone and androstenedione, and in women, they are produced in the ovaries, adrenal glands, and fat cells. Androgens are vital to human reproduction, particularly testosterone They peak in women in their mid-20s, then steadily decline until menopause, at which time Androgen levels dip dramatically.

Although testosterone was used to treat various gynecological disorders since 1930, the relationship between testosterone and sexual desire in women was not discovered until 1940, when it was first reported by gynecologist Dr. Alfred Alexander Loeser, subsequently confirmed in 1942, by Dr. Robert Benjamin Greenblatt, a Canadian physician specializing in endocrinology.

Many years later, Professor Lorraine Dennerstein Australian psychiatrist of the University of Melbourne, Australia, among others, correlated sexual behavior and low Androgen production in aging women, and arrived at the conclusion that falling Androgen production coincides with decreased sex drive and fantasies.

Thus, Androgen therapy in women became the principal treatment for HSDD. Dr. Jan Shifren, a gynecologist in Boston, Massachusetts, explains that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) has not approved any testosterone product for women, due to uncertainties regarding the efficacy and long-term safety. However, some women request compounding pharmacies to create new formulations of testosterone creams or gels.

Others take reduced doses of products designed for men and risk-taking too much testosterone. “There’s no good, consistent way to prescribe testosterone for women,” she said.

On the other hand, Dr. Alan Malabanan, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, says of testosterone,

“I know many women use it, and there are some preliminary data that show that it improves libido.”

But he also warns about possible negative effects at a higher dosage.

He says,

“Overall if women are really thinking about this, they have to weigh the side effects against the potential for gain.”

Indeed, Testosterone has several concerning side effects including acne, deepening of the voice, growth of hair on the face and chest, lower HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels, and male-pattern baldness. Although yet unproven, there is also concern that testosterone therapy could lead to breast cancer and heart disease, while women who have or have had breast or uterine cancer, high cholesterol, or heart or liver disease, are not recommended this therapy.

Women trying to become pregnant are asked to avoid testosterone therapy as well because its use during pregnancy risks a female fetus developing male traits. A new testosterone gel for women is currently being evaluated for these risks, in an extensive study. However, attending to sexual disorders is complicated.

“Taking a pill is easy. Changing your lifestyle is hard,”

says Dr. Shifren.

A recent article in the Oxford Academic Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism records the Global Position Statement for testosterone therapy for the treatment of women with HSDD. The position is endorsed by the International Menopause Society, The Endocrine Society, The European Menopause and Andropause Society, The International Society for Sexual Medicine,

The International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health, The North American Menopause Society, The Federacion Latinoamericana de Sociedades de Climaterio y Menopausia, The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, The International Society of Endocrinology, The Endocrine Society of Australia, and The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

The international panel concluded the only evidence-based indication for testosterone therapy for women is for the treatment of HSDD, with available data supporting a moderate therapeutic effect. The general consensus seems to be that testosterone therapy may be considered if other strategies fail, with possible risks and benefits discussed by doctor and patient before embarking on a plan.

As Dr. Shifren says,

“Low desire is very common and does not necessarily need medical treatment.”

One thing is definitely true, bio-pellets, Anavar, and Testosterone Cypionate are all reported to make females incredibly horny according to the bodybuilding forums and reports on other sites. Although this is by no means scientific, the reports of many happy couples seem to demonstrate this is more than an old wives’ tale.

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