The Hormone of Arousal

by Dr. Jennifer Landa

We all know the common differences in sexual desire between men and women.  These clichés of men want it and gotta have it, while women can take it or leave it stem from basic science. Men have about ten times more testosterone than women.  Testosterone is one of the major players in a healthy sex drive – it is the hormone of arousal.  Women who have low testosterone or are on medications that lower their testosterone levels (like birth control) may notice their sex drive is lagging.  The normal ranges of testosterone for a premenopausal woman are between 16 and 55 pg/ml in her saliva – it’s a pretty broad range- but a fluctuation in your levels can take a pretty significant toll on your body and even your personality.

In a woman, testosterone is made in small amounts in the adrenal glands, ovaries and fat cells, reaching its peak in her twenties. Age takes a toll on testosterone in much the same manner women experiences losses in estrogen and progesterone; however the most dramatic changes I see are in women who have had a hysterectomy. Young women, in their thirties and forties, experience an abrupt and severe decline in many of their hormone levels – tanking her sex drive seemingly out of nowhere. The hysterectomy has instantly changed her being, but with bioidentical hormone therapy to replace lost estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, these women reclaim their libido and enjoy sex once again.

The signs and symptoms of a testosterone deficiency include:

  • Lack of libido
  • Inability to have an orgasm
  • Low energy
  • Mental fogginess or inability to concentrate
  • Lack of muscle tone or muscle weakness
  • Bone loss

If you suspect that you are suffering from a hormone deficiency, have your hormone levels tested by a specialist (hormone specialists work within a more narrow range of “normal”) to ensure you get back to living life to the fullest.

For more tips from Dr. Jennifer Landa about improving your sex drive, check out her book, The Sex Drive Solution for Women, available in stores and online February 1, 2012.


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