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Diet & Health : Children & Women Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

Testosterone boosts women's sexual activity, caloric restriction extends fertility
By Ben Wasserman
Nov 7, 2008 - 10:10:33 AM

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Friday November 7, 2008 ( -- A new study suggests that women who want to have more years of active and satisfying sexual life might consider lowering their intake of calories in their adulthood, a dietary regimen that has been known to slow the aging process and extend lifespan in animal models.


The study was conducted in laboratory mice and was not intended to determine how caloric restriction would directly affect female mice's sexual performance.   Instead, it was meant to examine how it would affect female mice's fertility, which may have a close relation with female sexuality.


The study led by Selesniemi K of Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School and colleagues found that female mice that ate less during their adulthood slowed the aging process in ovaries and extended their fertility for many more months, which could mean years for women.


In the study, the researchers tested in mice if caloric restriction followed in adulthood can extend female fertile lifespan.   They found that the ovarian follicle reserve was doubled in mice that followed 4 months of caloric restriction compared to mice that ate whatever amounts of food they wanted to.


Normally female mice lost their fertility at the age of 15.5 months.   The mice that experienced caloric restriction for some months were then allowed to eat whatever amounts they wanted to after 15.5 months of age. As a result, nearly half of these mice remained fertile for 6 additional months and about one third continued to deliver offspring through 23 months of age.


The study was published in the Oct 2008 issue of Aging Cell.


Ovaries are the places where three major female sex hormones estrogen, testosterone and progesterone are produced although other parts of the body can also produce these hormones in small quantities.


These hormones are critical for maintenance of active sex life.   Women after menopause experience a drop in the sex hormones and become less active in the bedroom. It is a normal process and a normal outcome for most women.


In the U.S. 20 to 50 percent of all women are classified by the medical circle as having a disorder called hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). The definition for this condition, according to Wikipedia, is "a lack or absence of sexual fantasies and desire for sexual activity for some period of time."


HSDD is of course not just related to hormone levels like low levels of testosterone.   Many other factors including health or medical problems and psychiatric problems can result in the same condition.   For example, use of certain medications may suppress women's sex desire.


The treatments for the condition include off-label use of testosterone, a male sex hormone that is also present in the body of females and plays a role in female sex life.


Testosterone therapy has proved effective at boosting the sexual drive or libido in women with HSDD as shown in a recent trial.   The trial led by Susan Davis of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia and colleagues showed that use of testosterone patches made by Procter & Gamble for 24 weeks more than doubled monthly sexual episodes at a high dose in women with HSDD.


Testosterone has been known for long to enhance sexual behaviors. Off-label use of this male hormone is common although FDA has not yet approved use of this hormone to treat HSDD in postmenopausal women.   The only yet serious concern is its safety.


In the one-year trial, the adverse effects observed included an increased risk of breast cancer and hair growth.   Breast cancer was diagnosed in four of the 534 women treated with the male hormone, but none in the 277 placebo recipients.


Long term side or adverse effects remain unknown, but expected to be worse.   Because of this, a 14-member FDA advisory committee unanimously rejected the P&G's marketing application for the hormone patches indicated to treat women with HSDD citing concerns about the lack of long-term safety data and off-label use.


But is there any safer remedy to treat HSDD in postmenopausal women?


Caloric restriction may not help all women with HSDD, but it may help some whose ovaries age too fast resulting in loss of their libido.  One another possible alternative is ArginMax, a nutritional supplement that has been proved in a trial to help boost sexual desire about 50 percent of postmenopausal women who received the treatment.


A health observer suggests that women should not wait to use an approved testosterone treatment to help their sexual needs.  No one can eliminate the risk from the male hormone. Instead, they may try to eliminate as many lifestyle risks as possible to resume a normal sexual life again.    Stress, lack of physical activity, unhealthy diet and many types of medications can just ruin your normal intimate life.

© 2004-2008 by unless otherwise specified

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