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Testosterone Patches Can Restore Women's Sex Drive

September 07, 2000

Testosterone patches can help restore the sex drive of women whose ovaries have been removed, researchers report in today's New England Journal of Medicine. Testosterone is best known as a male hormone, but it is also produced in small amounts in a woman's adrenal glands and ovaries, which also make the "female" hormone estrogen. When women have both their ovaries removed, doctors usually offer estrogen treatment to prevent hot flashes, osteoporosis and heart disease. But doctors do not try to replace the lost testosterone, which women need to maintain energy levels, keep muscle mass and retain a strong libido.

Among women whose ovaries had been removed, the percentage who had sex at least once a week rose from 23% at the beginning of the study to 35% when the women wore one testosterone patch. The rate rose to 41% when they wore two.

--Compiled by Times medical writer Thomas H. Maugh II

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