Androgens are primarily male hormones. However small
amounts of androgens, circulate in the female before and after menopause. Androgens
are absorbed by many different types of cells all over the body, the same way estrogens
are. They are thought to enhance sexual desire, contribute to sexual functioning, and may
heighten energy levels and a sense of well-being. Absorbed by bone cells, they contribute
to 'bone growth. They possibly also contribute to brain functioning, eye lubrication, and
many other functions. Those androgens most in evidence are testosterone, androstenedione,
Although androgens are produced in equal amounts by the
ovaries and adrenal glands, they are also converted from biologically inactive
"prehormone" steroids found in the skin, liver, brain, muscle, and other
tissues. The body converts some androgen into the estrogen estrone, which helps to make up
for the loss of ovarian-made estrogen after menopause.
At the onset of menopause, the androgen levels decline by
about 10 to 50 percent. However, the estrogen levels drop by a steep 70 to 80% at
menopause. Thus the androgen to estrogen ratio increases substantially at menopause. As a
result, some women acquire more facial hair, a deeper voice, and other
androgen-accentuated characteristics at menopause.
[Menopause and HRT
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