As You Desire: Is Testosterone for Boys AND Girls?

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Nancy Sutton Pierce, A News Cafe's sex columnist, has been studying hormone function and bioidentical hormone therapy for the past 20+ years.

Testosterone has been crowned the king of hormones, estrogen the queen, and DHEA the mother to them both. However, all humans have the same hormones present in varying amounts that determine our female or male characteristics. Hormones can determine what the brain is interested in doing. This is why when the sex hormones are low, your sex drive is low. When the bonding and cuddling hormones are high (oxytocin and prolactin), you are more in tune with the feelings of others and can easily care for your children. This applies to both men and women.

The average testosterone of a healthy young man is 400-900 nanograms, women 40-70. Testosterone levels gradually decrease as we age. Andropause (decreasing testosterone in men) begins about age 30 and declines about 10% per decade thereafter. In women, menopause most often occurs between the ages of 42-58.

My question is, if it’s a natural event to have our hormones decrease, then why are we so bothered by the physical and emotional effects? As it turns out, as recent as 100 years ago, life expectancy was only 45 years. This worked out well, since that’s how long our hormones lasted. Now we are living twice as long but we are experiencing a rapid decline in vital health during the second half. As a group, we are getting less exercise, eating more processed foods, exposed to toxins and we perceive life as “high stress.” The evolution of our endocrine systems have lagged behind … eventually we will adapt, but for now, some of us are suffering horribly!

Below is a list of symptoms commonly related to decreasing sex hormones, primarily testosterone. Please keep in mind that many other conditions can create the same symptoms — however, once your symptoms are correlated with a laboratory value that reveals a hormone imbalance, you may have taken a very important step toward feeling vibrant and happy once again.

1. Muscle loss, loss of strength and weight gain, osteoporosis
2. Depression and mood swings
3. Decreased sex drive, ability to get or maintain an erection or achieve orgasm
4. Anemia
5. High total cholesterol, higher risk for diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease
6. Sleep disturbance
7. Fatigue
8. Hot flashes and night sweats in men
9. Hair loss
10. Foggy brain and memory loss (dementia is on the list)
11. Infertility
12. Aches and pains
13. Less initiative and mental aggressiveness
14. Lack of confidence and social anxiety

Besides aging, declining levels of testosterone can also be caused by: steroid abuse, head injury, testicular injury, vasectomy, hernia repair (during childhood), fatherhood, poor sleep habits and obesity (body fat raises estrogen levels). Also on the list are prescription medications such as statins, Propecia or Proscar, beta blockers, Prozac and most other antidepressants, marijuana, and Metformin (Glucophage). Also watch out for anti-inflammatories, antifungals and blood pressure medications and excessive alcohol intake.

For women who are suffering from the symptoms of hormone loss, they will find some forward-thinking hormone specialists prefer to use testosterone before adding estrogens. Women will convert some of the testosterone into estrogen to give a bump without the extra supplementation. Bioidentical hormones, which are an exact replica of our own, are readily available now. When used respectfully under the direction of a trained medical practitioner, they can add a great deal to the overall sense of well being we experience, with very little down side, if any.

True or False? Testosterone causes prostate cancer.

False: Testosterone does not cause or produce deleterious effects on prostate cancer. However, it has been shown to increase the rate of spread of an existing prostate cancer.

True or False? Being around your pregnant wife can lower your testosterone levels.

True: Men are sensitive to the hormone changes during pregnancy and will experience a decline in testosterone and an increase in prolactin. (Watch The Male Brain video.)

True or False? Too much testosterone can result in overly aggressive behavior.

True: Recent studies suggest that testosterone levels play a major role in risk-taking during financial decisions. The administration of testosterone makes men selfish and more likely to punish others for being selfish toward them.

Prescriptions for testosterone replacement have risen more than 17-fold in recent years. Is this a fad? An epidemic? Or are we just becoming less tolerant of feeling this way? Is this a good or bad thing? I don’t know, and neither do the experts. However, we do know that people who have been suffering from the list above do feel their lives improve with the supplementation. What is that worth? That has to be left to the individual. This is functional medicine at its best. Hormones are life. When our hormones wane, our quality of life wanes as well. It is our personal responsibility to always weigh the risks and benefits to make our own decisions, and ones that we can live with.

Tune into my radio program, The Conscious Living Show, on Saturday, August 13, 2011 to hear Dr. Bob Ghelfi speak on hormone replacement therapies for men and women. It will be live and you can call in (530) 605-4567 or join us in the chat room online.

Intimately Yours,

Other resources:

Meanwhile, I’m working on my next column, all about sensual lubricants. Please blog your suggestions, experiences, questions.

Nancy Sutton Pierce RN, Health Educator is the Founding director of Nancy Sutton’s House of Yoga and Radio Talk Show Host on The Conscious Living Show LIVE every Saturday 11a-12noon on KCNR 1460am You can reach Nancy at with your comment or questions.

As You Desire is proudly sponsored by Body Logic MD; helping both men and women restore their libido and vitality through hormone therapy, fitness and nutrition counseling.

A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment. Views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of

Dr. Nancy Sutton Pierce
Dr. Nancy Sutton Pierce’s eclectic background places her expertise in a league of its own. The compilation of her career as an RN, health educator, intimacy author, radio talk show host, and yoga therapist all fuel her passion as an International speaker and clinical sexologist. Earning her Doctorate degree in human sexuality has broadened her reach around the globe teaching Conscious Living Sexuality™. When not traveling the globe inspiring others, Dr. Nancy enjoys her home life with the love of her life for more than 30 years. They’ve raised three children and now bask in what she refers to as “the dessert of parenting” -- being grandparents. Website. Contact Dr. Nancy
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7 Responses

  1. Avatar gamerjohn says:

    What about hair loss? That is one worry for most men.

    • Hello GJ:

      Unfortunately hair loss is more of an inherited trait. Testosterone itself does not cause hair loss. Hair loss is influenced by the transformation of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Testosterone converts into DHT due to an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. Add to this a hereditary predisposition to hair loss, and chances are that over time, the hair will thin and lead to baldness. Check out this link:
      Plus most women love a smooth head anyway… we think it's pretty sexy… don't you agree ladies?


  2. Avatar D.Nethery says:

    Thank you Nancy. Very informative article for me. After blood tests, indicating very low testosterone, I have found the two Drs. in town I go to, are reluctant to prescribe any testosterone for older women. I am looking forward to hearing Dr. Bob Ghelfi on your radio program.

    • Dear D,

      Sadly, hormone therapy is not main stream yet and yet hormones are as old as, well, human being are! Western health care's focus has not been optimal function but more so has focused on disease detection. Waning hormones has not been considered a disease so it's not taken as seriously (in most circles). Women are quickly brushed off as having depression, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, hypoglycemia, Epstein Barr (all depending on the decade you felt like hell). You will learn from Dr. Ghelfi's expertise how hormones regulate well being. If your hormones are out of balance you don't feel like exercising… then you gain weight… then you feel worse and your joints ache… the cycle has begun.

      I'm thrilled you'll be listening and I hope you will call in or join the chat room. It's going to be a HOT TOPIC for sure. If you miss the show you can always listen from the archives on my website… and share it with your friends and family too.

      Stay curious,


  3. Avatar Joanne Lobeski Snyde says:

    Phenomenal article. The effect that hormones play in a person's health and well-being are well documented. The effects of testosterone on women and men are indisputable. The real trick is to find a physician who is will test for or talk about hormone therapy. Typical tests are inconclusive. I have a friend whose thyroid tests was always normal, but who had to visit an endocrinologist in SF. to find out that she had a tumor on her thyroid and that most of her physical distress was caused by a thyroid hormone imbalance. Great article Nancy.

  4. Avatar Gina Curry says:

    Hey Nancy! Late as usual Great article… Have been on biodentical hormone therapy mostly testosterone . … Was experiencing alot of the female s&s alot from overtraining

    What a difference in my life…. Chris is now starting to rx it… It just draws so much criticism from "non forward thinking Dr.s" especially here in the Deep South! Such a fine

    Balance our body has to maintain!!! Again great insight! Gina

  5. Avatar Thomas Deegan says:

    Hey Nancy,

    Article was timely and informative for some of the issue my wife has been having (in my opinion) when women get older (48) they start thinking they look terrible, fat, ugly, old, loss of self confidence and hide their bodys from husbands,,,cause if they don't like they way they look, then we won't either? Well, here we are…..anyway I still lust after her (no matter what she thinks) and heard that DHEA was a slow equal opportunity supplement for changing those issues you outlined in your article. I some how missed the answer to GOOD FOR MEN OR WOMAN question? seems to be working for me (58) but I've been taking it (25mg) a day for some time now….whats your feeb back?