Testosterone use in women- what’s new?

Professor Susan Davis AO

School of Public Health and Preventative Medicine, Monash University

Testosterone therapy has been approved for use in postmenopausal with low sexual desire which causes them personal distress (hypoactive sexual desire disorder; HSDD). This requires a complete psychosocial-biological evaluation to first identify any potential underlying/ treatable factors such as postmenopausal vulvovaginal atrophy causing dyspareunia or medication side effects. HSDD is not diagnosed by a testosterone blood test. Measurement of testosterone and interpretation of the results can be complicated, and this will be discussed. The approval of testosterone therapy for postmenopausal women is product specific and therefore does not extend to the use of compounded testosterone therapy, which should not be prescribed now a TGA approved product is available for women. When testosterone is prescribed for HSDD it should be considered a trial therapy. Women who do not experience an improvement in their symptoms after 6 months should cease therapy. Women who experience a benefit and continue beyond 6 months should have 6-monthly clinical review that includes physical assessment of potential adverse effects (acne and increased hair growth) and biochemical monitoring with total testosterone blood levels.


Prof Susan Davis AO, is an NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow, Director, Monash University Women’s Health Research Program, Consultant Endocrinologist and Head, Specialist Women’s Health Clinic, Alfred Hospital Melbourne and consultant, Cabrini Medical Centre. Her research has advanced the understanding of the health needs of women across the life span. She is a past president of the Australasian Menopause Society and the International Menopause Society. She has over 420 peer-reviewed publications and in numerous awards, most recently the International Menopause Society Distinguished Service Award (2020), Endocrine Society of Australia Life Membership Award (2020) and the Endocrine Society of Australia Senior Plenary Award (2019). In 2021 she was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to medicine, to women’s health as a clinical endocrinologist and researcher, and to medical education for distinguished service to medicine, to women’s health as a clinical endocrinologist and researcher, and to medical education.