Primary ovarian insufficiency (POI), a condition affecting approximately 1 percent of women and teenage girls in the U.S., is characterized by ovaries that stop functioning normally before a woman is 40. POI may be a cause for irregular periods, reduced fertility, or health problems such as osteoporosis, and women with POI may also be at risk for depression and decreased quality of life. Treatments for POI may include hormone replacement therapy to restore estrogen and progesterone levels.
A recent study from the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center has examined the effect in women with POI of one year of hormone treatment that included testosterone.
From a release:
In the randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study, 61 women used placebo patches and 67 women used patches that delivered 150 micrograms of testosterone a day, similar to the Intrinsa patch that was rejected by FDA as a treatment for low sexual desire in women.
After 12 months, testosterone levels were back up to normal for the women who got the treatment. The investigators saw no detrimental effects of testosterone, but they found no significant improvement either in measurements of quality of life, self esteem and mood compared with placebo.
Bringing testosterone back to normal doesn't help these aspects of life, suggesting that it's something other than testosterone that plays a role in mood problems for women with POI, concluded the researchers.
"This study makes an important contribution toward understanding what testosterone can and cannot do. With all the hype about testosterone and aging, it is important that the public have the facts," NAMS Executive Director Margery Gass, MD, said in the release.
The study was published online in the journal Menopause.
Previously: An in-depth look at fertility and cancer survivorship, Ask Stanford Med: Expert in reproductive medicine responds to questions on infertility, Researchers describe procedure that induces egg growth in infertile women and Oh, baby! Infertile woman gives birth through Stanford-developed technique