Often, women will ask me if they should be taking male hormones (or androgens) with their other bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) in menopause. First, lets discuss what male androgens are and what they do. Androgens are typical male hormones such as testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate(DHEAS), androstenedione among others. Both men and women produce and need male hormones. In men, male hormones are made in the testicle and adrenal gland, and in women, male hormones are made in the ovary and the adrenal gland. Male hormones are responsible for many functions including muscle building and strength, mental sharpness, blood sugar regulation, sexual function, and as building blocks for other hormones including female hormones like estrogen.
Not all women need to add male hormones to there BHRT, but if they are experiencing loss of libido, vaginal dryness or painful intercourse they can help. In addition, I sometimes give male hormones to women if they are doing an aggressive fitness program and are struggling to gain muscle mass.
Side effects from male hormones can occur in women. These can include oily skin, acne, body hair growth (hirsutism) and changes in personality including aggressiveness or becoming short tempered. If any of these side effects occur, you should consult your physician immediately. In fact, anyone taking hormone replacement should have regular visits and saliva testing with their doctor.
The best way to determine if a woman needs male hormones is to do saliva hormone testing. This allows your doctor to objectively determine if there is a deficiency in male hormones and the right amount to replace. This of course, needs to be correlated with the patient’s symptoms. If male hormones are added to a BHRT regimen, it must be periodically monitored to make sure the appropriate amounts of hormones are being administered. This is a good rule of thumb for any time of BHRT replacement program.
If you would like to learn more about male hormones and hormone replacement therapy in the menopause years, please consider calling for a consultation. Our number is 484-788-2391.