testosterone and libido

GracieMarch 21, 2001

I know the current story is that testosterone cream boosts libido, but have any of you actually found this to be true? I used a .2% cream briefly and it only made me mean and agressive. My gyn said that he has had other ladies tell him the same thing. I've been using progesterone cream for about 2 months now and noticed only a temporary improvment (only lasted about 3 days). I'm beginning to wonder if anything helps. If you have any clues, please share them. My husband is trying to be patient, but he says he's been turned down more times than a bedspread.

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How much of the 2% did you use and how often? Women only make about 0.25mg a day, and in 2% cream, it's impossible to measure that small a quantity. Since the undesirable effects show up at higher doses, the trick to using it is to take only as much as you need. Your dose should be maybe only 1/100 th or less of a cc (you can't even talk teaspoons in this context, since there are roughly 5 cc in a teaspoon), so that's the tiniest possible smear of the stuff. You can decrease the dose even further by only using an eod dosing sched (or less).

It takes a full month or so to see the effect on libido. You may also note a few hot flashes for the first week or two on it (I did, but I'm in surgical menopause so have less resiliance with hormonal variations than those of you in natural menopause) as it causes your other ovarian hormones levels to adjust in response (because you can make one from the other, so there's a domino effect every time you change something as your body reallocates priorities/production).

I'd respectfully suggest that maybe you took too much and not long enough. You may want to give it a retry in a less/longer pattern. It worked for me :)


    Bookmark   March 21, 2001 at 3:30PM
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Thank you for the useful information on Testosterone Cream.

I also had surgical menopause and started using the 2% Testosterone Cream about 2 months ago. My gyn told me to use it twice daily, which I did. I also use Estrace Cream twice weekly and the Vivelle Dot 0.05. The Testosterone Cream most definitely helped my libido (and Estratest did not), but I noticed almost as soon as I started using the Testosterone Cream my nipples were extremely(!!) sore. I hated to stop using the Cream, but I did, and the soreness soon subsided.

I will try the Cream again using your suggestions, but I wonder if the extreme soreness was a result of the hormone combination. I did a rather extensive search on the Net and could find no correlation between sore nipples and Testosterone.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2001 at 4:19PM
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Thank you both for the info,
The cream I am using is not 2% it is (.2%), a tenth as strong. I don't think I over-dosed on the stuff because the pharmacist at the compounding pharmacy told me to use an inch and that would deliver 2 mgs.per day. But I don't think I gave it enough time. I don't think I used it for a whole month. Perhaps I need to give it another try.

I had an experience similar to yours. I was not using testosterone cream at the time, but I was using using a progesterone cream. I believe progesterone can be converted to testosterone in the body. I read somewhere that testosterone increases nipple sensitivity. In fact, I just read it a few days ago. If I can find the reference, I'll post it. If I forget, contact me.

Thanks for your info ladies, it has been most helpful.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2001 at 6:41PM
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2 mg sounds rather high as a daily dose, Gracie--although goodness knows what slays one of us won't touch another, we're all so different in how we metabolize these hormones. Still, if there's one over-riding mantra in using hormones, it's that less is more. 0.25 mg is the ovarian daily average pre-menopause--which is a long way from 2 mg. Maybe if you started back up with a low dose, you wouldn't overachieve before you reach the "happy" point. In my observation, it generally seems easier to sneak up on a correct dose from way under than to come in high and then have to cut back.

Sorry I missed that decimal point--must be some of those hormonal-induced eye shape changes catching up with me. Guess I'd better add checking my glasses prescription to my list.


    Bookmark   March 21, 2001 at 8:57PM
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I had hormone shots for about 6 months. I don't remember what is was called but there was testosterone in it. Noticed no difference, no libido.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2001 at 9:46PM
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Thanks again Framboise, You're right, 2 mgs sounds alot higher than 0.25. You might be right about less being better. What strength is the cream you use? Maybe I could try to duplicate the dose you use.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2001 at 9:47PM
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I'm using a 1% cream of natural testosterone (bioidentical) in a Van-Pen base and I use about 0.1-0.2 cc a day (which I measured with a 1 cc syringe divided into 100ths till I learned to judge visually how long a "squirt" that was) which is a dose of about 0.1-0.2 mg. I've also successfully used the 0.25 mg every other day, but it didn't seem to be as even a coverage (duh) so I switched to this tiny amount daily. I also use progesterone cream (roughly 15 mg a day, although I'm tweaking that since a new pharmacy is using a different cream base that seems to have altered the absorption dynamic, sigh) which no doubt contributes some to my total testosterone level.

One last observation: I recently noticed a jump in effectiveness of the testosterone when, in the course of fiddling all my doses over the progesterone change, I lowered my estrogen dose a bit (0.75 mg Estrace transbuccally every day down to 0.5 mg). This makes sense in that one effect of unbalanced estrogen in excess (even though I didn't feel excessive till I switched progesterone) is libido supression.

Yeah, I know--this stuff really is a boggle, isn't it? All I can say is that little changes and really listening to your body seem to be the best guides we have in this maze. Good luck with the process Gracie--I think you're on the right track.


    Bookmark   March 22, 2001 at 2:38PM
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I have read this with lots of interest. There are times in my cycle when these are my symptoms and I have always thought it was an increase in testosterone.

1. My chin hairs grow like wild fire and it appears like I am trying to get a moustache maybe.
2. I am "Looking for a Fight" everywhere.
3. I am so aggressive and oppositional!
4. I am a HORN DAWG! I dream about sex, think about it, and can't seem to calm down, I am an aggressive wild woman.
5. My face and hair get "greasier" and I will get zits.
6. Orgasims are like "right there" and intense.
7. Sometimes, I don't want to be touched at the same time I want to be touched all over! Very confusing.
8. I am "unbalanced".. I tip things over, bump into things, and have "one of those days" during this time.
9. I have learned over the years as I am more perimenopausal, this is an increased behavior for a few days during my cycle and I NEVER make a decision and put off all social situations that require diplomacy.

Some of these symptoms you have mentioned having when taking the cream, does anyone have any of the above heightened too?

Just curious.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2001 at 12:13AM
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Yup--you got the classic testosterone-heavy picture alright. You may be dipping waaaayyy down in estrogen at those times, Ginger, rather than having a testosterone production fit. That's usually part of the classic menopausal old lady, isn't it: chin hairs and an attitude? But since estrogen counteracts testosterone, the level of either one relative to the other would do this.

You don't happen to have cystic ovaries, do you? Women with PCOS have very high testosterone levels as well as some other related metabolic concerns to do with estrogen/progesterone imbalance.

I would think that you would want to keep a close eye on your cardiac health, especially in perimenopause and after, since testosterone counteracts the cardio-protective effects of estrogen and brings you over towards the male (riskier) profile. I don't mean to be scary here--just suggesting that you want to take this into account as you craft your menopausal health strategy.


    Bookmark   March 23, 2001 at 12:15PM
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Every time I start on the testosterone cream, within a few days I am angry, aggresive and down right mean. The last thing I feel is sexy. It might be my does is too high. But the new Gyn I go to doesn't perscribe it at all because he says that other ladies have told him that testosterone does the same thing to them. I think I'll forget the testosterone for the time being. What good is it if you want to make love and your husband doesn't even want to touch you because you've acted like such a b#tch. LOL

    Bookmark   March 23, 2001 at 1:05PM
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Framboise, what is PCOS?

Just as a matter of interest.. When I was about 33 or so, I started having cysts the size of walnuts on my ovaries (confirmed by endovaginal and regular ultrasounds) and was in intense pain. My gynie at the time was a MORON! He said that estrogen sinks into fat cells and since I was a good 30 pounds overweight I had to expect it happening. I looked at him and said, "I suppose what you are saying is sinking into my fat cells too, and I better leave right now or I am going to grab your gonads and make you understand about my fat cells and pain!" or something like that.. I was too mad at the time to remember exactly.

I found another gynie who I stayed with until just recently when she retired and now I am going to one of her partners.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2001 at 2:10PM
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I think PCOS stands for polycystic ovary syndrome. Women with high testosterone levels often suffer from this. Sounds exactly like what you had in your 30s. Sorry you had such a bad experience with your Gyn. Sounds like he has an excess of fat cells between his ears.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2001 at 12:33AM
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I think you have that doc correctly diagnosed, Gracie!

She's right, Ginger--PCOS is characterised by high levels of testosterone and generally women with it don't do well on(don't need) supplementation at menopause. You can read more about it at the support assoc. url--it's got a lot of good info. It may not be too late to investigate this, as there are other consequences of the disease besides snapping the heads off of unsensitive doctors, and it's not something you really get over, as I understand it.

Gracie: consider that if all his patients claim that it makes them feel the way women do who are taking too much, maybe the problem is that this GYN prescribes too much. IMHO, a lot of the bad rap hormones get has to do with the way doctors insist on prescribing them.


Here is a link that might be useful: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Assoc.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2001 at 1:19AM
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I had a hystrectomy 10 years ago. I have used pills and many patches. I have had no real sex drive for over three years. I suffer from extreme vaginal dryness. I went to a new doc who supposively treats menopause. He switched me to Cenestin 1.25 and I use premarin vag cream. After 6 weeks I have no interest in sex at all. I asked about testosterone and the doc told me it was a placebo! I wanted to cry. I would like more info regarding the use of testosterone cream. Who makes it and do I need a Rx and should I be on a prog cream to? I'm truly lost and need help.
I welsome all ideas and suggestions.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2001 at 11:25AM
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I did `experiment` with the use of testosterone for a while,but I was training for a bodybuilding show and wanted to come in `hard`.It made me horny all the time ,I spoke out when I was normally submissive and yes I was more aggressive .Now my female hormones seem to be on the wane I am seeing the same reaction in my body.To be honest I feel more horny but with a purpose now and I try to use my aggression in a positive way....I like the feeling(smile)

    Bookmark   May 17, 2001 at 5:58PM
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Eileen, My recommendation is to add a small daily dose of progesterone cream. You can buy it in a health store or on various web sites. There are various threads about using it on the forum. Using it has brought back libido for me.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2001 at 8:08PM
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Just thought I'd add my two cents (or is it 20 now?) to this..I started on a 2% testosterone cream twice daily ten days ago, and will be using it once a day for the next ten days then switching to at .2% after that as prescribed by my compounding pharmacist. He has recently returned from a conference on Libido and said that for many women a "jump start" is necessary for kicking the libido into gear and finally, after four years of lagging sex drive I am beginning to feel the positive effects of the testosterone....with no negative effects...once again proving that we are indeed all different in our metabolism of all types of things, hormones being only one.......Anyway, I thought I would also share that my pharmacist also says that one of the presenters there at his conference said that in twenty years he has never known there to be a failure of increased libido with the use of DHEA cream - the downside for women looking for a solution "now" to an ongoing problem is that it can take three to six months to take effect....hence the "jump start" idea....but perhaps for those of you with problems with testosterone - ask about the DHEA cream.....the best to you all....Patti

    Bookmark   August 26, 2001 at 11:37PM
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Can someone help me? I am so confused. I just started a 2% cream (1x a day) and I have now heard of several ways to use it. Inner thigh, vaginally, external genitalia, forearm - does anyone know the most effective place to put it? I am supposed to use 1/2 tsp. which is quite a bit of cream. I can always use 1/4 tsp 2x a day, if that works better. Any help would be appreciated.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2001 at 9:44PM
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Testosterone may help some ladies but it didn't do a thing for me. In fact, one my blood tests indicated that I had a slightly higher than normal level of testosterone and still absolutely no libido. I believe that other hormones are involved and that a delicate balance of several hormones controls libido.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2001 at 11:34AM
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