Why Women Lose Interest in Sex
Putting the Desire Back in Women's Sex Lives continued...
Once the factors causing low sexual desire have been
determined, potential treatment options may include:
Sex therapy and/or relationship counseling. "Sex therapy is very
effective for individuals and couples, and that is always at the top of my
list," says Shifren. Sexual dysfunction usually affects both parties in a
relationship and should be discussed together or individually with a mental
Changing medications or altering the dose. If the problem is caused
by medications, a change of prescription or alternative therapies may be
recommended. If an oral contraceptive is suspected as the culprit in lowering
testosterone levels, a different formulation or nonhormonal birth control
methods may be prescribed.
Addressing underlying medical conditions. Medical problems
contributing to low sexual desire may require surgical treatment, such as the
removal of painful fibroids or medication.
Vaginal estrogens. In postmenopausal women, vaginal dryness may be
treated with vaginal estrogen creams.
Testosterone therapy. Although no hormone or drug has been approved
by the FDA to treat sexual problems in women, many gynecologists recommend
off-label uses of testosterone therapy for women with low sexual desire to
restore testosterone to normal (pre-menopausal) levels.
In addition, several therapies involving testosterone pills or
skin patches specifically designed to treat female sexual problems are
currently being studied in hopes of FDA approval in the near future.
For example, Shrifen is involved in research using a
testosterone skin patch to treat low sexual desire in women. Initial studies
have shown that the patch significantly improved both sexual desire and
satisfaction compared with placebo among postmenopausal women who had their
She says a phase III clinical trial of the testosterone patch
involving several thousand women worldwide is currently wrapping up, and
results should be published soon. For the first time, this study looks at the
effect of the testosterone patches in naturally menopausal women as well as
those who have undergone surgical or early menopause caused by chemotherapy or
removal of their ovaries.