Posted by kathryn on April 18, 2012
Testosterone for libido, oestrogen for depression – when the imbalance of hormones with monthly PMT and later on menopause are the cause depression, why are women referred to psychiatrists and prescribed mind-numbing anti-psychotic drugs? You may well ask! Prof. John Studd, specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist tells us here, in the first of three interviews, about his quest to break down barriers in the medical profession to correctly treat women when hormone imbalance is not obvious.
SimplyHormones Presents: An Interview with Prof John Studd on Testosterone, oestrogen and depression
KC: I wonder if we can start in this interview by talking about low levels of Testosterone. Headlines that are attracting a lot of media interest, especially in space are talking about this, how men can improve their sex life just by having more testosterone. What’s your view from a woman’s perspective and the menopause?
JS: It’s certainly true, there’s a relationship between Testosterone and libido and levels of Testosterone and ease of orgasms and so on, and we’ve literally known for a long time, and certainly in this country we’ve been using Testosterone for many many years. So it is not an American discover, it really is not. They are becoming aware about Testosterone about 20 years after we have in Europe, mind you the Americans are rather keen on treating men with Testosterone and they are just getting round to treating women with Testosterone. We forget that Testosterone is a normal female hormone. Women have 10 times Testosterone in their system, it’s just that we men happen to have more than women, thank the Lord, so it is not a male hormone, it’s not a foreign hormone and I would think that of all my patients that have HRT in various forms, probably about 80% have Testosterone as well as Oestrogen, and the reason for that is that it is good for their energy, good for mood, depression and of course for libido. They generally feel better if their Testosterone levels are at the correct level.
KC: And I’ve read and even attended your lecture, when you’ve spoken in depth about this, but what do you think about the placebo effect? Do you think that plays a part as well?
JS: There’s a placebo effect with any drug that you want to give, this is why it’s a very important that the study that we do have a placebo belonging to it. And I think I wrote the first paper on ‘Testerone and Placebo’ about 30 years ago and that was an uncontrolled study, and it is the one paper in my career that I regret writing up inadequately, because I did not, then, 35 years ago have a placebo belonging to it, so you are absolutely right, the results could all have been worthless, in fact they are not, they’ve been repeated many times and it’s quite clear that apart from a placebo effect there is an extra effect of Testosterone.
KC: Yes, so it’s beneficial.
JS: There is no doubt it’s beneficial to women.
KC: And I’ve also read that you feel it’s beneficial, especially for depression as well.
JS: Yes, absolutely. Depression in women is a complex thing. Much of it is hormonal, and improved with Oestrogen, transdermal Oestrogen; that’s Oestrogen put through the skin by gels, patches or implants. And also the addition of Testosterone does improve mood as well. And it’s very important because depression is more common in women than men and it occurs at times of hormonal fluctuation, like pre-menstrual depression, post natal depression, depression around the time of the menopause, depression after removing ovaries at hysterectomy. All of these types of depression in women should be treated as first option by Oestrogens and perhaps also Testosterone.
KC: So there are a lot of benefits there and thank you for making women more aware of what it can do for our health.
JS: What I would like to do is make psychiatrists more aware of this, because psychiatrists are very unwilling to treat this sort of depression with Oestrogens and it’s obvious to any woman if they have depression that’s cyclical, every month, for 10 days every month, it’s related to their periods. Psychiatrists don’t see that. There is a severe depression, which is pre-menstrual or post natal, it’s an endocrine problem, it’s not a mental, psychiatric problem and the first option of treatment should be oestrogens. In the case of pre-menstrual depression, to suppress ovulation; if you suppress ovulation you suppress the cyclical hormonal changes whatever they are, which reduce the cyclical symptoms of PMS. It’s very obvious and it is very effective treatment.
KC: And so many women are experiencing PMS.
JS: Well they’re given anti-depressants, worse still. I certainly have patients who have spent a month in a private psychiatric hospital for their PMS or for misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder and they are given heavy duty anti-depressants, mood stabilisers like lithium, or worse, when they have an endocrine problem that is so easily treated with Oestrogens.
KC: Yes, I must admit when I was going through menopause I self-diagnosed myself as being leaning towards bipolar because there moments, days when I was on a complete high and other days when I was in the depths of despair and that can be quite frightening, to be referred to a psychiatrist as I was, was quite frightening as well, but I declined the heavy drugs and went for the talking therapy, which did get me through it, but it was emotionally quite painful.
Thank you for that information. See below for a short biography of Professor John Studd together with information on http://www.simplyhormones.com
Professor John Studd DSc, MD, FRCOG was consultant gynaecologist at the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, London and also professor of gynaecology at Imperial College.
He is now in fulltime private practice and runs the London PMS & Menopause Clinic at 46 Wimpole Street London W1G8SD. At the same address he has The Osteoporosis Screening Centre for the assessment and treatment of osteoporosis.
He is Vice-President of the National Osteoporosis Society and Chairman of the British Menopause Society.
In 2008 he was awarded the Blair Bell Gold Medal of the Royal Society of Medicine which is given every five years for the obstetrician/gynaecologist who has made the greatest lifetime contribution to the specialty. www.studd.co.uk
Tune in for our next two interviews on Osteoporosis (Prof. Studd is Vice-Chairman of the National Osteoporosis Society) and finally, Bio-identical Hormones (natural HRT) where you will find out how to get this treatment from your own GP.
There are over 200 pages of advice and support for individuals and companies at www.simplyhormones.com. Sign up for our Newsletter on the Home page.