Testosterone, the male hormone that's not just for men

What was described in the Buddhist scriptures was more like the mental and physical symptoms that accompany menopause than aging. At the time the scriptures were around, life spans averaged around 40, so menopause was also an indication that a woman's life was poised to draw to a close, too. Now, thanks to medical progress, women live to an average of 80, meaning that they've still got plenty of life to enjoy after they've been through menopause. Nonetheless, there are still certain steps a post-menopausal woman needs to take before she can enjoy life the way she had once done. One of the most effective of those steps is hormonal supplementation therapy. Age is something that affects all of us equally, even the most beautiful angel. Ancient Buddhist annals spoke of Tenningosui, which they described as the ailments afflicting aging angels.

Among the ills described were "thinning floral decoration of their crowns, dirty clothes, sweaty armpits, failing eyesight and worse than anything else, declining enjoyment of life."
The Rokudoe-e, ancient Buddhist scrolls filled with illustrations of the six stages of Hell and which were aimed at making the religion easily understandable amongst commoners,
showed that an angel's lover powerful Taishakuten(Indra), but that she was dumped by him and disregarded by the younger angels because of her affliction as she grew older.

Many women have long undergone treatment using estrogen, the female hormone, but in recent years, a large number have also started receiving testosterone, the male hormone. Many people mistakenly believe that testosterone is found only in men, but it's actually a very important hormone for women, too. Both males and females emit testosterone to trigger puberty.
When women are aroused, it's testosterone that gets their nipples and genitals stimulated. Testosterone is also vital for fully matured women, to give them vibrancy and sexual arousal.
But, as they get older, the level of testosterone emitted gradually decreases, often reaching a stage where it becomes deficient. The loss of enjoyment in life as described in the Buddhist scripture is a prime example of what happens when testosterone levels are deficient. Women's aging and testosterone have a very strong relationship.

Menopausal women, were given testosterone here 50 years ago. Every gynecologist knows its effects were incredibly strong. However, the effects of happiness and arousal the testosterone induced were deemed inappropriate for women at that time. The amount of hormone injected was considerable, often bringing about ungainly side-effects, like facial hair growth and voices becoming husky. In the United States, the world leader in hormone therapy, testosterone deficiency among menopausal women is officially recognized as an illness and treatment is usually with patches that allow the hormone to seep through the skin instead of the traditional injections or oral application. I've treated people using testosterone cream and the side-effects of the male hormone have been minimal. Either way, I'd really like people to realize that even though testosterone is called the male hormone, it's not a hormone for men alone.

Getting through the unknown turbulence that menopause brings about can be tackled using a lot of treatments other than hormone therapy. Some women may say they have a loving partner who'll help them through menopause without the need to take hormones. Unfortunately, there aren't too many of these perfect husbands around, now or ever before. Hormonal supplementation treatment may not be a substitute for a loving partners, but it's one way to help.

(By Dr.Kunio Kitamura, special to the Mainichi)