Doctors traditionally respond to menopausal complaints by dispensing prescriptions for estrogen and progesterone, traditional "female" hormones that address some of the discomforts of menopause and provide the added advantage of protecting against heart disease, Alzheimer's disease and osteoporosis. But although estrogen can quench hot flashes and ease vaginal dryness, it does little to enhance libido or energy.
Several studies suggest, however, that small amounts of androgen added to estrogen replacement therapy can restore sexual desire, improve energy and promote a sense of well-being. And that's not all. Testosterone also helps prevent bone loss, improves body composition (building lean mass and reducing body fat) and supports cognitive function.
Clinicians such as Dr. William Regelson, M.D., author of "The Superhormone Promise," argue that testosterone is the missing link in hormone replacement therapy. "For many women who feel they are not quite themselves," he says, "the ingredient missing from the blueprint is testosterone." He has found that adding testosterone to the hormonal "cocktail," even for a short period of time, duplicates our "normal hormonal state" and helps women better tolerate estrogen and progesterone.