Testosterone, an androgen hormone, plays a critical role in vaginal health and sexual function in females. Researchers recently reviewed the scientific literature on this topic in a study titled “Testosterone and Vaginal Function,” which highlights the importance of testosterone in regulating vaginal structure and function.
Androgens in Vaginal Development
Androgens, including testosterone, are vital for vaginal development and maintaining its structure and function throughout a woman’s life. The vagina contains androgen receptors and enzymes involved in androgen synthesis, meaning that androgens are both produced in the vagina and directly affect vaginal tissue.
How Testosterone Affects Vaginal Tissue and Sexual Response
Testosterone is essential for maintaining the integrity of vaginal tissue structure, including smooth muscle thickness, contractility, and collagen fiber compactness. It also regulates complex neurovascular processes that control arousal and lubrication, such as vascular smooth muscle relaxation, nerve fiber density, and neurotransmission. Additionally, testosterone can affect inflammation, pain perception, and mucin secretion within the vagina.
What Happens When Testosterone is Deficient
A deficiency in androgens, including testosterone, may lead to various symptoms in women, such as decreased sexual desire, difficulty achieving orgasm, vaginal dryness, reduced muscle mass, and bone density loss. Insufficient levels of androgens, including testosterone, may also play a role in the onset of conditions such as vaginal atrophy, genitourinary syndrome of menopause, and sexual dysfunction in women.
Vaginal Atrophy and Sexual Dysfunction
Vaginal atrophy occurs when the vaginal tissues become thinner, drier, and less elastic due to decreased estrogen and androgen levels—leading to symptoms such as vaginal dryness, itching, and pain during sex. In addition, a deficiency in androgens, particularly testosterone, may contribute to sexual dysfunction, including decreased arousal, lubrication, and pain during sex.
Available and Potential Treatments for Vaginal Atrophy and Sexual Dysfunction
Androgen-based treatments are available and in development that may help alleviate the symptoms of vaginal atrophy and sexual dysfunction. For example, testosterone therapy increases vaginal thickness, decreases vaginal pH, and improves sexual function. In addition, selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) also target androgen receptors in specific tissues while minimizing androgenic effects in other tissues.
Tu sum up, the study “Testosterone and Vaginal Function” highlights the importance of testosterone in maintaining vaginal health and sexual function. Androgens, particularly testosterone, are crucial in maintaining vaginal tissue structure and regulating complex neurovascular processes that control arousal and lubrication. Androgen-based treatments may be effective for conditions such as vaginal atrophy, genitourinary syndrome of menopause, and female sexual dysfunction.
Maseroli, Elisa, and Linda Vignozzi. “Testosterone and Vaginal Function.” Sexual medicine reviews vol. 8,3 (2020): 379-392. doi:10.1016/j.sxmr.2020.03.003