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Endocrine Society calls for clinical guidelines on androgens for women

ndrogen deficiency in women is problematic because it is difficult to accurately measure low testosterone levels and the normal, ranges for this hormone in women are not well established." notes Dr. Dunaif. "Research is needed to help us identify those women who truly have testosterone deficiency and would therefore benefit from hormonal therapy. In addition, the therapeutic window for testosterone in women is small and it is easy to cause symptoms of male hormone excess, such as hirsutism."

In a recent audio conference on androgens in women, which was sponsored by The Endocrine Society, leading experts outlined the steps that physicians should take to manage the treatment of women on androgen therapy. They include clinical monitoring, biochemical evaluation, radiographic assessments and possibly testosterone measurements. As part of clinical monitoring, skin should be checked for acne and hirsutism, which is excess face or body hair. Development of male characteristics, or virilization, though rare, should also be watched for. A breast examination before a woman starts therapy and twice a year thereafter is recommended. Other possible evaluations include hematocrit or hemoglobin determination, lipid measurement, yearly mammography and endometrial ultrasound. Some experts also suggest that free testosterone should be measured before treatment and monitored during treatment. Testosterone therapy has been studied previously in different groups of women, including women with adrenal insufficiency and premenopausal women with decreased libido, but not with low androgen levels.


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2-Dec-2004


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