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Has testosterone passed the test in premenopausal women with low libido? A systematic review

Authors Reed BG, Bou Nemer L, Carr BR

Received 1 July 2016

Accepted for publication 13 September 2016

Published 13 October 2016 Volume 2016:8 Pages 599—607


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Lucy Goodman

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Elie Al-Chaer

Beverly G Reed, Laurice Bou Nemer, Bruce R Carr

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, USA

Background: There are limited evaluation and treatment options for low libido in premenopausal women. This review sought to evaluate the available evidence supporting the evaluation of testosterone serum levels and testosterone treatment of premenopausal women with low libido.
Methods: MEDLINE, PubMed, and were searched for articles that referenced the evaluation of testosterone serum level and/or testosterone treatment on premenopausal women with low libido from 1995 to 2015. Additional references were obtained from the reference sections of other papers and from peer review. Studies that included only postmenopausal women were excluded. A total of 13 studies were reviewed in detail. Nine studies examined the relationship between testosterone serum levels and sexuality, an additional three studies examined the effect of testosterone treatment on premenopausal women with low libido, and one study examined both the topics.
Results: Six of the ten testosterone serum evaluation studies failed to show a significant association between testosterone serum level and libido. Only one out of four studies examining testosterone treatment in premenopausal women was able to show any clear improvement in libido; however, the effect was limited to only the intermediate dose of testosterone, with the low and high doses of testosterone not producing any effect.
Conclusion: The currently available evidence does not support testosterone serum evaluation or treatment in premenopausal women with low libido. Hence, further studies are warranted.

Keywords: androgens, hypoactive sexual desire disorder, HSDD, ovary, testis, sexual dysfunction, sexual interest, arousal disorder

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